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The Ladies' Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart #11)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,604 Ratings  ·  629 Reviews
Zola's prophetic celebration of unbridled commerce and consumerism, The Ladies' Paradise (Au bonheur des dames, 1883) recounts the frenzied transformations that made late nineteenth-century Paris the fashion capital of the world. The novel's capitalist hero, Octave Mouret, creates a giant department store that devours the dusty, outmoded boutiques surrounding it. Paralleli ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published December 13th 1991 by University of California Press (first published 1871)
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Petra X
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Two stories, one the coming of the modern world, capitalism and consumerism, and the other, the poor peasant girl marries money. An alternative title could be All About Shopping.

It is interesting to see how the shop assistants in the first department store in Paris (the Ladies' Delight was modelled on the Bonmarche, the real first store) were treated as servants. They lived in dormitories, had curfews, were expected to be chaste and could be fired for anything - or nothing - at all. Interesting
MJ Nicholls
Life in an 1860s Paris megastore. As capitalism staggers around on its bunioned feet, waiting for the next self-perpetuating excuse for sickening human greed and useless backbreaking timewasting bullshit in pursuit of Capital to relieve its burden, it’s time to question what we want from an economic system here in the West. A completely equal distribution of funds is impossible since people are cash-hoovering greed machines who will stab their mothers to get a bigger pie slice. Communism is unpo ...more
Luís C.
Au Bonheur des Dames is a perfect example of the novel that we should not give to read to people who are not yet ready for that. Including those that have not the maturity or experience of reading necessary to face such a literary monument.
There are books which cannot be enjoyed with age, time or fullness.
I was fifteen the first few times the school area asked me to begin this big classic from Zola. At that time, I could not go beyond the first two pages ...
The eleventh volume of the Rougon-Macq
Το Άσχημο Ρύζι Καρολίνα
Από όσο έχω ψάξει όλα αυτά τα χρόνια το “Au bonheur des dames” πρώτη φορά, τώρα, μεταφράζεται στα ελληνικά. Από λίγο που κοίταξα, δυστυχως τα γαλλικά μου είναι φριχτά, πιστεύω πως έχει γίνει μια ωραία προσπάθεια στη μετάφραση. Εγώ το είχα διαβάσει παλιότερα από αγγλική μετάφραση. Οπότε αυτή η ελληνική με γεμίζει με χαρά, γιατί δίνει στους Έλληνες αναγνώστες την ευκαιρία να γνωρίσουν αυτό το εξαιρετικό μυθιστόρημα.

Εδώ ο Ζολά καταπιάνεται με την ιστορία της Ντενίζ η οποία είναι ορφανή και παλεύει
Holy Mother of God...

I do not know where to begin with this.

You see this title, and you look up the book: "Oh, a novel about women and shopping, this is going to be a bore..." Even I had my doubts, and I am an avid reader of Zola, he has yet to disappoint me. And yet, I believe that this may be the best work of his that I have yet to read, perhaps Germinal is slipping through, just...

It's still so relevant to today in so many ways, the birth of the super stores and the effect they had and still
3.5 stars

I imagine a bewildered Émile Zola wandering into the crowds populating that new phenomenon that took Paris merchandising in the 19th century by storm - mass production and the creation of the one-stop mega-shop. He enters through the widely opened arms of polished French doors, having to blink tearily at the brilliantly lit chandeliers. Immediately, he is choked by perfumed mists diffusing the air and is submerged in whispers of fine French lace and ribbons, rows of rainbowed textures a
Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Émile Zola

--The Ladies' Paradise

Explanatory Notes
Eirini Proikaki
Πριν λίγο καιρό στην ΕΡΤ έτυχε να δω μερικά επεισόδια μιας σειράς που μου τράβηξε την προσοχή και έμοιαζε να είναι βασισμένη σε βιβλίο.Ο τίτλος της ήταν The Paradise και ψάχνοντας είδα οτι όντως ήταν βασισμένη στο “Au bonheur des dames” του Εμίλ Ζολά που κυκλοφόρησε για πρώτη φορά στα ελληνικά μόλις πέρσι με τον τίτλο "Στον παράδεισο των κυριών".Εννοείται οτι αμέσως έψαξα να το βρω για να το διαβάσω.
Η ηρωίδα μας είναι η Ντενίζ,μια νεαρή ορφανή που φτάνει στο Παρίσι με τα δυο μικρότερα αδέρφια τη
This one deals with the monstrous effects of capitalism in France's Second Empire. Zola modeled The Ladies' Paradise after Bon Marché, a Paris shop which revolutionized consumer culture by acting as a sort of indoor bazaar, where one could find housewares, furniture, cloth, readymade clothing etc. in one place rather than traveling all around Paris to different little independent shops--like a mall, but all owned by the same company. Okay, fine, like a Walmart (with real silk). Workers assigned ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strabordante, straripante, grandioso: sono gli aggettivi che mi vengono immediatamente da accostare al libro appena letto. Sono stata incerta fino all’ultimo sulle stelle da assegnargli perché da un lato la lettura è stata pesante, dall’altro mi ha comunque appassionato. La pesantezza è dipesa dalle accurate e approfondite descrizioni del grande magazzino Al paradiso delle signore, aperto al centro di Parigi, che Zola analizza con una ricchezza di particolari che viene da chiedersi quante ore ab ...more
Jun 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of French lit
The Ladies' Paradise (Les Rougon-Macquart, #11) used to be one of my all-time favorite books. In my teenage years. And now I remember why. Of course, it's the lurve.

In this novel, Denise, a lowly sales girl working at a huge department store, snags a husband who is this store's rich playboy owner, Octave Mouret. Somehow, what seemed uber-romantic to me at 13, isn't any more now. You see, Denise basically gets her man by not putting out. Octave is used to getting any woman he wants, but Denise,
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Thanks Dagny to made its proofing.

From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
By Emile Zola.
Dramatised by Carine Adler.

Business, ambition and fashion all collide in Zola's colourful love story. Set in the hustle and excitement of the expansion of one of Paris' first department stores.

Episode One
When innocent provincial girl Denise arrives in Paris, she quickly catches the eye of the notorious seducer of women, Octave Mouret. Despite her uncle's disapproval, D
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : آواخر التسعينات

خليط أنيق من قصص الحب الخبيثة وتسجيل دقيق لتغير المجتمع الفرنسي من فلاحين إلى بورجوازيين استهلاكيين
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Au début, j'ai éprouvé quelques difficultés à me plonger dans ce roman, de nombreux personnages y sont présentés et on les suit alternativement. Mais en fait, ce qui m'intéressait vraiment c'était de suivre Denise.
Denise la mal-peignée, qui en prend plein la tête mais ne bronche jamais, et bien qu'elle ne baisse jamais les bras et fasse preuve d'une certaine force de volonté, elle m'agaçait à rester là sans rien dire et à ne jamais s'affirmer. J'aime les personnages forts, qui savent se défendre
♔ Jaela ♊ Killer ⚔ QUEEN
I read this book when I was very young, and it has been so long since then. Of course it's my next to-re-read book. It is one of my all-time favorites. I just love it, LOVE it! I have no words. This book is a masterpiece!

I highly recommend it. Everyone should read it, the girls at least...

I would like to read a modern-era book of this subject.

1000 stars *****
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I probably like this novel best of all the Zola novels we have read.

(view spoiler)
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, zola
Only Zola is able to create a masterpiece despite a flat, one-dimensional, saint-like main character and a dull ending.
Capitalism doesn't seem to have come a long way in the past 100 or so years and humanity doesn't either.
Linda Vituma
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Parasti esmu alkatīga, lasot grāmatas - ātrāk uzzināt, ātrāk tikt uz priekšu, ātrāk izlasīt. Tomēr ir dažas grāmatas, kuras es lasu lēēni.. Lasu un nolieku. Paņemu, palasu, nolieku. Paskatos, nolieku. Padomāju, palasu, nolieku. Tā es lasīju Teodora Dreizera grāmatu "Ģēnijs". Tā es lasīju katru burtu Emīla Zolā "Dāmu paradīzē".
Varbūt tā ir klasikas maģija, nezinu. Es nespēju sasteigt, nespēju pārtraukt, nespēju aizkaitināties, pat tad, kad desmito reizi apraksta veidā tieku vadāta cauri lielveik
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classica, europea
Ovvero la nascita della GDO.

Eccola Denise: gracile tanto da sembrare una bambina.
Il suo abbigliamento, il suo fare dimesso e, poi, quella meraviglia nello sguardo che scopre la grande città: tutto in lei denuncia le condizioni di un vivere modesto e di provincia.
Eccola dunque, con il piccolo Pepé attaccato ad un braccio e Jean, l'imberbe dongiovanni, che la segue.
Denise sorella. Denise madre.
Parigi è speranza in una nuova vita e, senza preamboli, da subito, gli occhi si riempiono di stupore
snackywombat (v.m.)
May 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics fans
This book is truly a classic, and the whole time I was reading it, I was reminded of those summer reading lists that I always had in high school, full of lofty tomes that looked dusty and boring but when I knuckled down into them, they would suddenly refine my lazy summer of peaches, sunshine and secret cigarettes. Brideshead Revisited, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Sister Carrie... these are the ones I remember curling up in a deck chair with, glass of lemonade in hand. Books like these give us pu ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ilk ve tek Emile Zola romanı, ancak çok beğenmiş ve bugüne kadar Emile Zola okumadığım için kendimi kınamıştım. Muhteşem bir kitap olduğunu düşünüyorum, o dönemde yeni yeni başlayan tüketim çılgınlığı ve özellikle günümüzde dahi devam eden kadınların tüketim için hedef alınmasını çok güzel bir dille anlatmış Zola, buna ek alışveriş merkezi diyebileceğimiz unsurlar doğmaya başladığında küçük esnafın aldığı yaraları göstermiş bize. Araya bir de aşk hikayesi sıkıştırmış. 19 yy. sonunda geç ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies' Delight) refers to one of the first huge department stores. First published in 1883, although fiction, it is fascinating to learn that there were huge department stores with thousands of employees and even a mail order division one hundred and twenty years ago. The story focuses on Denise, a young woman who arrives in Paris with her two younger brothers after the death of their parents leaves them without means. Denise has counted on obtaining employment at her ...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Lorsqu’on prend en considération la série des Rougeon-Maquart, on observe que la popularité de certains des vingt romans évolue à travers le temps.
Il y a de ces classiques dont le succès instantané demeure stable. C’est de cas de Germinal, chef-d’œuvre de Zola, qui restera sans doute toujours le plus lu, mais aussi de L’Assomoir et de Nana qui ont toujours été très populaires.
D’autres bouquins semblent plutôt faits pour leur époque, en dehors d’elle, comme des poissons hors de l’eau, ils ne resp
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never been a big fan of just shopping for shopping's sake. When I need to buy something, I like to get in, get it, and leave the store. I think if I liked shopping more I'd have given this book a higher rating.

The main character in this book is the department store itself. It was interesting to see the development of the modern megastore way back in 19th. century Paris. The financing, marketing, and logistics of running such a huge enterprise was fascinating to read about. However, there wa
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
The Ladies’ Paradise was one of those books I meant to read, expected to love, but never quite got to for a long, long time. Now I have finished reading, I am inclined to say that the verdict is flawed but fabulous.

Let me explain.

The story begins with twenty year-old Denise Baudu and her two young brothers arriving in Paris from the country. Denise has done her best for her brothers since their parents died, but she was struggling, and so she came to Paris to take up the offer of help and suppor
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Não são exatamente 5 estralas, mas sim 4,5. É uma excelente leitura que nos deixa conhecer uma Paris em que o consumo desenfreado é promovido pelos grandes departamentos. A guerra aberta com o pequeno comércio vai, no entanto, manchando esse esplendor. As famílias de comerciantes rapidamente arruinadas pelo Paraíso da Damas proporciona momentos de grande dramatismo, tornando-se gritantes as disparidades que existem entre as duas realidades: o luxo e o gasto descomedido promovido por Mouret e pel ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had high expectations on this novel. Could have something to do with BBC's adaptation. I won't say I was disappointed but I wasn't really happy either. I blame BBC.

The novel is set in the late 1900 century Paris. Denise and her two younger brothers comes to Paris to make a living after their parent's death. She was hoping to get help from her uncle, but as it turns out, a large department store has opened just opposite the uncle's shop and all the smaller shops around this "monstrosity" are on
Katrina Passick Lumsden
To say Emile Zola had a way with words would be an insulting understatement. This is a great story, a study of the effects of capitalism as well as a study of human behavior. My only complaint would be that Zola was oftentimes a bit too wordy. Setting that aside, I was fascinated by the portrayal of the rise of the first department store in France and the effect it had on its section of Paris. Zola managed to present it in such a way wherein both parties (the big store "counter jumpers" and the ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, france
Planiram da je čitam i po četvrti put. Od "ja čitam Dostojevskog" dobijam osip u zadnje vreme, ali mi se, s druge strane, "ja čitam Zolu" baš dopada. Ne preskočite ni pod jednim izgovorom - pročitajte roman, a zatim pređite na BBC-jevu mini-seriju "The Paradise" (Raj). Predivno se nadopunjuju, a Denizin lik iz serije mi je možda čak i bolji od književnog - ali, jedno bez drugog jednostavno ne idu. Čak se sećam i da sam zamalo zaplakao kada su otkazali treću sezonu... Sve u svemu, neprevaziđeno d ...more
Aroon J.
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zola ouvre une réflexion sur la culture de consommation naissante pendant cette période de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Occident à travers le grand magasin, Au Bonheur des Dames. Avec des symboles et de belles descriptions toujours détaillées, Zola transforme une épisode de l'histoire économique en aventure romanesque et intrigue amoureuse . Attention à la description du grand magasin; c'est souvent avec un langage organique ! À ne pas manquer; un texte rare de Zola où il s'agit d'une conclusion ...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 about Émile Zola...

Other Books in the Series

Les Rougon-Macquart (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Fortune of the Rougons (Les Rougon-Macquart, #1)
  • La Curée (Les Rougon-Macquart, #2)
  • The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart, #3)
  • La Conquête de Plassans
  • 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 Luck (Les Rougon-Macquart, #10)
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” 1055 likes
“Crever pour crever, je préfère crever de passion que de crever d'ennui !” 23 likes
More quotes…