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The Fortune of the Rougons (Les Rougon-Macquart #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,948 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Excerpt: ...Aunt Dide repeated in a strange voice. Her eyes gleamed brightly as she fixed them on the red stains. And suddenly she turned towards the chimney-piece. "You've taken the gun," she said; "where's the gun?" Silvere, who had left the weapon with Miette, swore to her that it was quite safe. And for the very first time, Adelaide made an allusion to the smuggler Mac ...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published August 23rd 2012 by Rarebooksclub.com (first published 1870)
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El
This work, which will comprise several episodes, is therefore, in my mind, the natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire. And the first episode, here called The Fortune of the Rougons, should scientifically be entitled The Origin.

Author's Preface (1871)

When I discovered that Emile Zola wrote a 20-book series about the fictional families of Rougon and Macquart, I became obsessed. I wanted to read them all. I wanted them all lined up on my shelf to look at after completing the
...more
Jim
At first, I didn't care much for The Fortune of the Rougons: I felt that Émile Zola was trying too hard to establish the back-story of the Rougon-Macquart series of novels that was to come. Only in the last three chapters does The Fortune of the Rougons rise above all this authorial bookkeeping.

It all starts with Chapter 5, in which we have the touching love story of Silvere and Miette, a flashback to the two of them joining a mob of insurgents to take an adjoining village. It is probably the cl
...more
Laura
Starting to read the first book of this series made of 20 books.

Publication order:
La Fortune des Rougon (1871)
La Curée (1871-2)
Le Ventre de Paris (1873)
La Conquête de Plassans (1874)
La Faute de l'Abbé Mouret (1875)
Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (1876)
L'Assommoir (1877)*
Une Page d'amour (1878)
Nana (1880)*
Pot-Bouille (1882)
Au Bonheur des Dames (1883)
La Joie de vivre (1884)
Germinal (1885)*
L'Œuvre (1886)
La Terre (1887)
Le Rêve (1888)
La Bête humaine (1890)*
L'Argent (1891)
La Débâcle (1892)
Le Docteur Pasc
...more
Rowena
My first Zola book and an introduction to the Rougon and Macquart families. Such horrible people, for the most part. So much greed, sloth and ignorance. This should be a fun series!
Dagny
The first of Emile Zola's twenty Rougon-Macquart novels introduces readers to the common ancestress, Adelaide Fouque, her children and some of her grandchildren. The story is set around the the coup d'etat of 1851 and Adelaide's history is told via flashbacks, which are at times confusing, but invaluable for the rich family history they contain.
Andrea
A thoroughly engaging and lyrical novel at the same time.
A beautiful exposé of corrupt morals and dirty ambitions.
Zola has swept me away.
Now, onto the next part.
Mel
After enjoying the masterpiece so much I thought I'd read all the Zola novels in order. This is the first in the series and it's quite awkward. The book starts with two young characters who are in love and wanting to join the republican militia which is well done, but then he spends the next third of the book going back into their family history. It goes quickly without any depth and while the people he describe go on to have their own novels in more depth, here everyone just feels like terrible ...more
Alik
As is usual with French classics, I felt somewhat put off at first by the sociopolitical data one should be familiar with to fully understand what's happening, but then it becomes a bit clearer, one gets through the symbolic nature descriptions which go on for miles of paper, cleans off the burrs and starts actually enjoying watching Zola creating characters, profiling them meticulously and then throwing them on the board to see how they run.

And it does work: they fall awkwardly and get up and s
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Zola was inspired to write his Les Rougon-Macquart series by Balzac's Comedie Humaine that investigates all facets of French society. This is the first in Zola's 20 volume series where he explores the descendants in a family, and tests his theory about heredity. The series takes place entirely during the reign of Napoleon III, who came to power via a coup d'etat in 1851 and was overthrown in 1870.

There is a family history chart on the internet, and, in fact, the edition I read, Complete Works o
...more
Wendy
If you intend reading the massive (20 volume) Rougon Macquart series written byEmile Zola from 1871 onward, this is the one to commit to memory first. It introduces many (but not all) of the amazing cast of characters - half from a rich family, the other from a poor one - and it is all done in Zola's spritely, historical-recording with editorial asides. I love it. The action swirls around the time of the coup d'etat which resulted in the creation of the 2nd Empire of France. It is observational, ...more
Lisa
After I read Germinal a couple of years ago (see my review), Émile Zola became one of those authors that I really wanted to read more of, but it was not until I saw the BBC series based on The Ladies’ Paradise and read the novel (see my review) that I decided to begin a long-term project to read them all. I’ve enjoyed reading this one, The Fortune of the Rougons, which puts the whole sequence into perspective.

With Les Rougon-Macquart, Zola apparently set out to emulate Balzac’s La Comedie Humain
...more
Sasha
The Fortune of the Rougons lays the foundation for the Rougon-Macquart series, 20 novels about various characters from one family living in France during the Second Empire (1852-1870). The story begins with Silvere, a 17 apprentice wheelwright, self-educated, idealistic, whose, “complete ignorance of mankind, kept him in a dreamworld of theory, a Garden of Eden where universal justice reigned”. Silvere is intoxicated by Rousseau and his 13 year-old-sweetheart, Miette. They meet each night in a d ...more
Andy
This is the second Zola novel I've read, and the first in his 20 volume Rougon-Macquart cycle. It's a dark tale about despicable people getting ahead in times of crisis by exploiting people's fears. Zola doesn't have a particularly generous attitude toward people in general I think it's safe to say. After reading this, one is led to ask of people in power -- who did you step on to get there?

The story begins with a vivid description of an overcrowded graveyard in the fictional French village of P
...more
Alex
Read the reviled Vizetelly (1898) translation easily found online, and compared a chapter or two with the French. I don't think it's that bad.

Some might complain that the language is a little overwrought. To these naysayers, I want to ask, "whither your revolutionary spirit?"

Great companion piece to Marx's '18 Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.' In rural Plassans between '48 and '52, Zola sketches out the decaying aristocracy, the Orleanists, the Restorationists, the upper and lower bourgeois, the ra
...more
Paul Servini
Zola parle de ce livre comme le livre des origines. C'est le premier tome de sa série Rougon Macquart qui porte comme sous-titre: Histoire naturelle et sociale d'une famille sous le Second Empire. Dans l'introduction il parle de la genèse de cette série: "Je veux expliquer comment une famille, un petit groupe d'êtres, se comporte dans une société, en s'épanouissant pour donner naissance à dix, à vingt individus qui paraissent, au premier coup d'œil, profondément dissemblables, mais que l'analyse ...more
Emily
I read Therese Raquin and I was hooked on Zola. So, since my husband was well on his way into this 20-book series by Zola, I thought WHY NOT, especially since I got a kindle for Christmas. :) So I read this one (which was free on amazon!) and, again, hooked.

What makes Zola so wonderful is that the plot of his books can revolve around something that maybe you don't find to be the most easy-to-read topic (politics, finances, etc.), but there is always enough going on in the periphery that you sti
...more
Niki
Dec 15, 2014 Niki marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition


I was reading comments about this book on Amazon and found the following regarding the order of the books:
The books should be read in this order
'1)La Fortune des Rougon (tr. THE FORTUNE OF THE ROUGONS); 2) Son Excellence Eugene Rougon (tr. HIS EXCELLENCY or CLORINDA); 3) La Curée (tr. THE KILL); 4) L'Argent (tr. MONEY); 5) La Rève (tr. THE DREAM); 6) La Conquête de Plassans (tr. THE CONQUEST OF PLASSANS or A PRIEST IN THE HOUSE); 7) Pot-Bouille (tr. POT LUCK, PIPING HOT!, RESTLESS HOUSE or LESSO
...more
Maximiliano López
"La Fortuna de los Rougon" es la primera novela de la serie "Les Rougon-Macquart". Ese gran mosaico de la familias francesa en la modernidad temprana que el escritor y periodista Emile Zola desarrolló durante las últimas tres décadas del siglo XIX. Una actualización de la "Comedia Humana" bajo las coordenadas del Naturalismo. Corriente heredera de la tradición literaria realista representada, entre otros, por Honore de Balzac.

La base de la que salió esta saga literaria ha sido el estudio de la e
...more
Patrick Link
This is the first book in the twenty book long Rougon-Marquart series that is a macrocosm of the grasping corruption of life in the Second French Empire. This one introduces many of the characters who will be the main characters of other books in the series and shows how the various branches of the family faced the coup d'etat of Louis Napoleon in 1851. The 'scientific naturalism' that Zola interjects has certainly been superseded by better ideas and research but still makes for great character ...more
Jen
I love a good quest. This one is to finish the Les Rougon-Macquart series in the order (except for the one that inspired this quest) as outlined by Zola.

There's a few things to know about Zola. He pretty much pioneered "naturalism" in literature--which can be effectively translated as "everything sucks."

Okay not really, but he was also was convinced that poo people produced poo offspring. So if your dad cheated on his taxes, you were bound and committed to cheating on yours. I'm simplifying, but
...more
Mike Sanders
A fantastic examination of the seedy machinations of small town politics revolving around a greedy, ruthless family. The writing (and, in particular, this translation by Brian Nelson) is superb. ("They kissed each other again and fell asleep. The patch of light on the ceiling now seemed to be assuming the shape of a terrified eye, staring unblinkingly at the pale, slumbering couple, who now reeked of crime under their sheets, and were dreaming that they could see blood raining down in big drops ...more
Vaiga
Pasiskaičiau, kad Zola yra parašęs 20-ties knygų seriją apie Rugonų-Makarų giminę. "Rugonų karjera" - pirmoji iš šios serijos. Joje pasakojama apie tai, kaip Prancūzijoje siaučiant valstybiniams neramumams klostosi vienos šeimos gyvenimas. Dauguma šeimos narių yra neurotiški, apsėsti hedonistiškų polinkių ir garbėtroškos, intrigantai ir beširdžiai kaip reta. Nevisai įprasta, kad istorijos pagrindiniai veikėjai būtų neigiami personažai. Siužetas visai įdomus ir mintis pademonstruoti visuomenės su ...more
Steven Daughtry
This story sets the stage for the epic story of a French family throughout the latter half of the 19th century. Zola creates colorful characters whose genes and habits, good or bad, carry from generation to generation against the backdrop of the emergence of the 2nd French Empire in small-town France.

Before there were daytime soaps, there was Zola's depiction of the Rougons and Macquarts...

Zola's characters deal with alcoholism, anxiety, orphanhood, greed, manipulation and extortion, political r
...more
Andrew McClarnon
I read the free Kindle version, which according to Wikipeadia is a very cleaned up, Victorian translation, and perhaps bares little similarity to the tone and intensity of the original.

So putting that aside, I read this to at last make a proper start on the Rougon-Macquart novels. Much of the book was a little clunky, as we went through the founding characters and the rather heavy handed way in which their characters are defined by their ancestry. Getting past that, there is a very sweet love s
...more
Tyler Jones
I don't usually go in for books that have such a cynical and pessimistic view of human nature and that are populated by so many despicable characters, but I really enjoyed this immensely. I only gave it four stars because the other Zola novel I read, The Belly of Paris was more vivid in setting and had more richly drawn characters, whereas the characters here seem mere pawns to serve the plot...and there is one plot device which seems artificial to me. Still, on the whole, an excellent book, and ...more
Warwick Moss
Absolutely loved it. I agree with some reviews I've seen that it really is a book of 3 parts...the first couple of chapters set the scene for the rest of the series but in a very high level, overarching way, then you get into the Silvere and Mettie love story which is very different again, and then the last few chapters are just fantastic as the coup d'etat races on apace. By the end of the book I was really ready to launch into the rest of the Cycle.

I have decided to read it in Zola's recommend
...more
Julian Meynell
This is the first in the Rougon-Macquart series of twenty novels written by Zola. In no way do you have to read this book first. All the books in the series stand on their own. I read this book twelfth and that was a fortuitous way of approaching it because at that point I was interested in the family and how it originated.

A lot of this book is about setting up the history of the family. Zola always claimed to be a naturalistic writer and the series as a whole is meant to trace the hereditary we
...more
Pat
The Fortune of the Rougons is the first book of Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle of novels centering on the Rougons and Macquart family. The book centers around the 1848 revelation in France, and introduces us to a family of characters of varying dispositions, many of whom hope to gain power and privilege through backing one side or the other in the revolution.

The brilliance of this novel is in its ability to show us all types of people and what makes us who we are. Some of us are social clim
...more
Teresa
It's a very good book, probably my favourite of the Rougon-Macquart saga after "The Ladie's Paradise".
It basically follows the beginning of the Rougon-Macquart family, from the late XVIIIth century, but its primarily centred during the 2nd Republic and the beginning of the Second Empire under the reign of Louis-Napoléon.
During this time the author follows various characters – going a bit up and down in the time line –. Except for the young Silvère, wanting to fight for his beloved Republic, and
...more
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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.

More than half of Zola's novels were part of a set of 20 books collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. Unlike Balzac who in the midst of his literary career resynthesized his work into La Comédie Humaine, Zola from
...more
More about Émile Zola...

Other Books in the Series

Les Rougon-Macquart (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • La Curée (Les Rougon-Macquart, #2)
  • The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart, #3)
  • La Conquête de Plassans (Les Rougon-Macquart, #4)
  • La Faute de l'abbé Mouret (Les Rougon-Macquart, #5)
  • Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (Les Rougon-Macquart, #6)
  • L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7)
  • Une page d'amour (Les Rougon-Macquart, #8)
  • Nana (Les Rougon-Macquart, #9)
  • Pot-Bouille (Les Rougon-Macquart, #10)
  • The Ladies' Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart, #11)
Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #13) Nana (Les Rougon-Macquart, #9) Thérèse Raquin L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7) La Bête humaine (Les Rougon-Macquart, #17)

Share This Book

“When lovers kiss on the cheeks, it is because they are searching, feeling for one another's lips. Lovers are made by a kiss.” 29 likes
“The Revolution of 1848 found all the Rougons on the lookout, frustrated by their bad luck, and ready to use any means necessary to advance their cause. They were a family of bandits lying in wait, ready to plunder and steal.” 6 likes
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