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de Paris"and Gervaise, the mother of Nana, in “L'Assommoir are the daughters of Antonine Macquart. Hélène, the heroine of “ Une Page d'Amour,” is a Mouret; her brother, François

; Mouret, escapes from a mad-house, and ends “La Conquête de Plassans” by burning in his own house the priest who deprived him of his wife, children, fortune, and finally his reason. Serge, or the Abbé Mouret, and his sister Desirée, are born of a marriage between François Mouret and his cousin Marthe. Rougon, the head of the legitimate branch, halfbrother to Macquart, has two sons; the eldest, who becomes Son Excellence, Eugène Rougon; the younger changes his name to Saccard for fear of compromising his elder brother's position. He is the husband of Renée, the beautiful Parisian in “La Curée.” From the first M. Zola drew up a list of the characters, assigning to each his or her career, with the intention of showing in all the effect of origin, education, the age we live in and surrounding circumstances. M. Zola says that if this plan be not taken into consideration, it is impossible to form any except odious and grotesque judgments of his work. He has still eleven novels to write to complete the series; and he hopes that when the history of the RougonMacquarts is finished, public opinion will justify his work. In the meanwhile he is working on a novel called “Le Soldat.” It will contain a vast description of the Battle of Sedan; he went there expressly, and studied the ground with a guide, yard by yard. He expects it will raise a storm, and that he will be called the enemy of France. M. Zola will write also a commercial novel, anent the immense shops, like the Louvre and the Bon Marché, the struggle between large and small trade, the millions of bank-notes; an immense subject, full of new scenes and colours. He will write also the struggle of talent to make itself known in the world. It will be a band of young men who come to Paris to seek their fortune ; journalistic life, literary life, art, criticism, misery in dress clothes, the fevers, the despairs of a young man who has genius within him, devoured by hunger and ambition. But there is another novel that he will write still more original than any of these. It will take place amid a network of railway lines, a junction where ten lines meet, each one of which will furnish an episode, and all will be united at the junction. There will be love in a railway carriage, an accident in a tunnel, the speed of the locomotive, the meeting, the shock, the disaster, the flight; all the grime, smoke, and noise. He has a thousand scenes, blurred sketches, fearful catastrophes, in his head, which have to be worked together.

LA FORMULE NATURALISTE Is the exact, the complete, and the sincere reproduction of socia surroundings, of the epoch in which we live. Such studies are justified by reason, the wants of the intelligence and public interest, and they should be free from all trickiness and lies.

This reproduction should be as simple as possible, so as to be understood by everybody. This is the formula, and it is applied as follows. The naturalistic novelist never sits down to imagine a certain complication of events; the plot is of no consequence, he does not know what his story is, if there be any, until his novel is finished. Having chosen his subject, he considers what scenes he will be able to bring in. These are noted down and carefully studied, and it is not until he possesses all his materials that he thinks of stringing them together; and this is done logically, and not imaginatively. For example, he starts with a fact observed. A young girl has been much flattered and admired; she marries a man who is not rich, and goes to live in the country. The novelist asks himself what is likely to happen. Life is composed of a thousand accidents; she is sure to be tempted back to fashionable society, for her passion for admiration still lives. How is this to come about ? Probably some friend will ask her up for a ball. The opening chapter is clearly indicated-description of a ball in fashionable society. The novelist goes to a ball and studies how ladies speak among themselves; and again how, when gentlemen are present; he studies how the room is decorated, the different characters you meet, and their importance, and he makes a sketch of the description. What are the amusements of the London season? The Park suggests itself at once. There is another

There is another scene to be brought in ; how the carriages move slowly up and down, sometimes drawn up alongside of the rails ; how the pedestrians stop to speak to their friends in the carriages, how the horses canter up and down the Row, &c. After having for some time studied this kind of life, he can give its special colour and perfume. He has his head full of scenes, episodes, fragments of conversation, and typical stories. It now remains to unite these scenes together; this is done by reasoning from cause to effect. From such and such a fact it may be inferred that such and such an event may happen. Will this affect another person? Yes, in such and such a way. The action is at


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once complicated by the introduction of a third person. All this must be done with a view to throw out the salient points in the character of the woman in pursuit of admiration. The problem is to know what such a vice will produce in such surroundings, how it will affect the subject, and society in general. This is exactly how “L'Assommoir” was written. Zola wanted

. to write a novel in which a man was to die of delirium tremens. He began by studying the effects in the hospital; he did not know who was going to be the victim. But Gervaise being a washerwoman, he knew that a description of a washhouse was essential. Then he considered what other scenes would come in a factory a workman's wedding, &c. In his preparatory notes you find a summary of each character drawn up; Coupeau, Lantier, Mme. Lerat, are sketched out separately. You also find drawings of the different streets where the action passes, the corners and shops are indicated, and the turnings Gervaise took to escape her creditors. And it was not until all had been prepared that he began to link the scenes together. It will be seen from this how different Zola's method is to George Sands’, who sat down before a pile of white paper and filled it up, relying entirely on imagination.

It is easy to see from the foregoing why descriptive writing takes so large a place in the modern novel. For, to paint a special man, you have to reproduce all his surroundings, to show how he eats, drinks, and dresses; what his house is like, inside and out; the minutest facts have to be observed and noted. It is curious and instructive to watch the art with which M. Zola does this; he goes back twenty times upon his description, filling in, completing. Take any one of his . creations. Let us say Renée, in “La Curée,” the beautiful Parisian, the goddess of silk and perfume. You can recall the intonations of her voice, the odour of her hair, the shadows it throws on her skin; you know her most secret thoughts ; you could say how she would act in such and such a posi-tion; you know how she sits down, how she leans across the table smoking a cigarette, you see distinctly that slight look of a young man she has sometimes, on account of her short-sightedness; you can recall not only her person, but her house is well known to you. The vast drawingroom, the symphony in yellow, with its many gaslights. flaring over the golden furniture, against which the saffroncoloured hair of Renée blends and harmonises; the piano in ebony, inlaid with mother-o'-pearl, around which groups of: black coats collect and talk of their financial operations. The white-shouldered women, the hard-sculptured folds of their satin dresses falling over and reflected in the glittering parquet, are brought distinctly before your eyes. Never was a saturnalia of thieves in white gloves described before as it is in “La Curée.” But it must not be supposed that these detailed accounts are given in immense wedges, and that when they are over the story proceeds. They are so beautifully woven in and out that they are inseparable from the narrative, and are necessary because they determinate the habits and character of the being under observation. Théophile Gautier was prolific in his descriptions, but they never added to or completed the character of his dramatis persone; they were simply beautiful phrases linked together without aim, except to display his powers of rhetoric. In Flaubert the descriptions complete the analysis of the personage, and are used solely for that purpose, in the same way that a naturalist finds it essential to examine the plant on which an insect lives, and from which it takes its form and colour. What would Renée be were you to separate her from her boudoir, with its luxuriantly-hanging curtains, reclining chairs, and low-cushioned seats, and the bed---the marvellous bed !-that looked like a ball-dress in its thousand folds of lace and muslin. A seventeenth-century writer would have painted Renée as an abstract conception, and, consequently, might have placed her in a Greek temple or a Jewish synagogue; but now, rightly or wrongly, this is no longer permitted ; and as the plant is, so man must be considered the product of his special centre, modelled and modified by his surroundings.


is clear from this account of the work done, and what remains to be done, that M. Zola's ambition is to write the exact, the complete history of the age we live in; to write it in its entirety, from the lowest ranks of society to the highest, forgetful of no detail in colour, outline or modelling.

I do not pretend to go into the question whether it he justifiable or otherwise to write such a work, but it is clear that, once the permission taken or granted, it is childish to expect that the history will be fit or healthy reading for young ladies. I believe that there are many histories in our public libraries which none would dream of putting into the hands of school classes, yet the French and English languages are not



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ransacked for adjectives to express contempt and indignation for the authors. This is about the substance of what M. Zola has to say in defence of his work, and I think that it answers three-quarters of the attacks made against him. To produce a real moral effect, vice must be painted, and painted as it is. No one ever did this better than Balzac. There is a man who told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; who was afraid of no detail, no word. The “Cousine Bette" is a magnificent example. The figure of the Baron Hulot dragged by his passions through the lowest Paris slums in search of vice, is as eternal as the world. There is no recantation, there is no return to virtue in the eleventh hour; the character remains the same to the last, and the book is moral because it is true. But because Balzac in “La Cousine Bette,” “La Dernière Incarnation de Vautrin,” “La Fille aux Yeux d'Or,” &c., never shrank from depicting the fullness and fearfulness of vice, we must not forget that he has given us also the most beautiful pictures of virtue the world has ever seen. Where in Shakespeare do you find a portrait more noble than the naturally angelic nature of Eugène Grandet. There is no false sentiment, no blue-and-rose poetry, nothing but the white simplicity of innocence. Balzac has also given us studies where man's intelligence played the biggest part. For an example I have only to turn to “La Recherche de l’Absolu;" there you find a man lost by his intelligence as Hulot was by his flesh. He has given the sexless mysticism of exalted spiritual emotion in Serepheta, and we find nothing but mind in Louis Lambert.

Whilst readily according to M. Zola the fact that vice plays a large part, it must not be forgotten that virtue and intelligence are just as important elements in the modern world. Here, I think, is the weak place in M, Zola's armour. He never shows us the soul or intelligence; all his studies are physiological, never even partially psychological, and Balzac has done both. Not only has M. Zola never attempted to paint either the pure or intellectual side of things, but in his novels, which pretend to be faithful pictures of Parisian life, no one ever says a clever thing, no one is witty. Surely M. Zola himself could scarcely deny that there is something wanting here; an important characteristic, I am afraid, has been neglected. At the supper with which Nana celebrates her successful début au théâtre, there are actresses, journalists, men about town; without absolutely affirming that these three classes represent French humour, it cannot

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