Son Excellence Eugène Rougon

Son Excellence Eugène Rougon

by Émile Zola

En 1856, Eugène Rougon, un ancien avocat de province qui a contribué à faire l'Empire et que l'Empire a fait, se sentant proche de sa disgrâce, préfère prendre les devants et démissionner de la présidence du Conseil d'Etat.

Ils s'inquiètent de le voir tromper son ennui par un projet de défrichement des Landes qui le conduirait à une sorte d'exil, et parmi tous ceux qui travaillent à son retour en grâce la plus active est la troublante Clorinde qu'il a refusé d'épouser.Dans la grande fresque des Rougon-Macquart, Son Excellence Eugène Rougon, que Zola fait paraître en 1876, est le roman du pouvoir et des solidarités d'intérêts qui appellent l'intrigue dans le grand monde de Paris où s'ourdissent les manoeuvres qui font et défont les carrières.

  • Series: Les Rougon-Macquart
  • Language: French
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.69
  • Pages: 453
  • Publish Date: September 1st 2003 by Livre de Poche
  • Isbn10: 2253006289
  • Isbn13: 9782253006282

What People Think about "Son Excellence Eugène Rougon"

This was the 6th book written in Zola' s Rougon-Macquart series but the second in his recommended reading order.

Here's a novel increasingly makes me say that, through the centuries, men are always the same.

I had met Eugène Rougon in Zola's first book of the Rougon-Macquart series, The Fortune of the Rougons. The oldest son of Pierre and Felicité Rougon, he had been stationed in Paris, working for the cause of Louis-Napoléon Buonaparte as Emperor Napoleon III. The book chronicles the political scene in Paris during the government of the Second Empire under Emperor Napoleon III. This novel is not amongst Zola's most popular books of the Rougon-Macquart series, but I really, really enjoyed it for its dynamic appeal and attention to detail.

I'm glad to have read it and I think and important piece in the Rougon-Macquart series.

Dobila sam tromog, debelog Eena koji se na vlast uspinje ne svojom sposobnou ve pukim sluajem.

This is the second Vizetelly translation I've read, and while I'm not really in the position to take umbrage with a French-to-English translation, I cannot stand the guy's prefaces. But the worst part of Vizetelly's preface for His Excellency is that he drones on and on about how Zola wrote about these events exactly as they happened, followed by way too many examples such as "this character was ______ IRL! The entire time I read it all I could think about what how Zola was writing descriptions of places he was standing right in front of, writing dialogue he read in reports and newspapers, and just inserting real-life personages instead of inventing his own characters. I think a good fifty-percent of the novel consists of descriptions of palaces and rooms. There is a blooming little psychological battle between Rougon and Clorinde, easily the most fascinating character in the book, and woefully underused. There isn't supposed to be any sort of discernible plot; Zola merely meant to portray the ridiculousness of French politics.

This book often gets lackluster reviews, but if this is considered among the worst of Zola's "Rougon-Macquart" novels, I look forward to reading more of them. But the one person perhaps watching Eugene most closely is the beautiful Clorinde who wants to marry him and use his Machiavellian tactics to gain power for herself. His friends, bitter about the state of affairs work behind the scenes to get Eugene back into power, Clorinde uses sex as a weapon, and a momentous event pushes him back into power. (Anyone who has worked in corporate America will understand this!) I think the biggest theme here is the shaky, dependent nature of power and political favors. And Clorinde's utterly shameless pursuit of power, her using sex as a weapon is the most scandalous part of the novel. I understood little of the rank and position of everyone involved in the story -- but I think in 2013 most readers are looking for the universal reflections on human nature which Zola reveals, and the overall drama of the story, rather than the functioning of the French government in the 1850's.

Émile François Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France. The self-proclaimed leader of French naturalism, Zola's works inspired operas such as those of Gustave Charpentier, notably Louise in the 1890s.