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Emile Zola

By Nessrine, Thibaut, Cassandra and Sophie

Emile Zola’s life Emile-Edouard-Charles-Anthoine Zola was born in Paris the 2nd April 1840. I spent the fiirst part of his life in Aix En provence with his mother living in a precarious situation. Fatherless since the age of seven, Emile Zola fails twice at the Bacalauréat and must abandon his studies and practice various odd jobs before joining in 1862 Hachette. Quickly at the head of the publicity department he began to write stories including one volume published in 1864. Thanks to his school friend Paul Cézanne who is also a famous painter, he could meet painters like as Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro and Manet.

Emile Zola young

Debut Carrer He left Hachette in January 1886 to live by his pen, He began to publish novels, Thérèse Raquin, which was his first success. During 1870 war he became parliamentary reporter. After a contract with the publisher George Charpentier he really began his literary career and continues journalism. Gradually his novels have earned him the friendship of writers like Flaubert, les frères Goncourt, Daudet and Turgenev. The success of l’Assommoir, published in 1877, the seventh volume of the Rougon-Macquart, gives both the popularity and ease. He allows the triumph of the Naturalism throughout Europe and earns 80, 000 francs per months instead of 500 francs.

Emile Zola and his family

The Dreyfus Affair

Zola published his famous essay "J'accuse" on January 13, 1898. Zola's text presented in detail both the false charges against Dreyfus, the weakness of these charges, and the way they had been falsified. The article is in the form of a letter to the President of the Republic who was Felix Faure, pretending that the President was unaware of that injustice.

Near the beginning of "J'accuse," Zola said "The truth I will say, because I promised to say it, if justice, regularly seized, did not do it, full and whole. My duty is to speak, I do not want to be an accomplice. My nights would be haunted by the specter of innocence that suffer there, through the most dreadful of tortures, for a crime it did not commit." "J'accuse" means "I accuse" -- Zola accused the French of injustice in their persecution of Dreyfus

Eloquently, Zola continued with the facts and with his accusation: “I defy decent people to read it, without their hearts leaping in indignation and shouting their revolt." Zola concluded with a series of accusations, each beginning with the words "I accuse." He named all those who conspired to condemn an innocent man and exonerate a guilty one for the worst possible reasons, and those who were complicit with the conspirators.

Emile Zola accomplishment Finally, he ended with these words: "While proclaiming these charges, I am not unaware of subjecting myself to articles 30 and 31 of the press law of July 29, 1881, which punishes the offense of someone accused. And it is voluntarily that I expose myself.“

"As for the people I accuse, I do not know them, I never saw them, I have against them neither resentment nor hatred. They are for me only entities, spirits of social evil. And the act I accomplished here is only a revolutionary mean for hastening the explosion of truth and justice." Indeed, Zola had to go into exile as a result of his heroic defense of Dreyfus. After a 12 year exile, Dreyfus received a pardon in 1906. Zola did not live to see it, having died in 1902.

Heroic acts Emile Zola took the defense of a man that he didn’t even meet. He wanted to make people react and make their own opinion in front of this big injustice. After that he found out that the charges against Dreyfus were false, he felt like he had the obligation to defend his rights. Zola never regretted his actions for saving Dreyfus even if he was send to exile and never returned to his country.

« I think that Emile Zola was a great person for defending someone he didn’t met so hard because he knew he could have influence and power on others… » - Nessrine « In class, we never talked much about Zola and now that I know more about him, I think he is an hero because of all his actions to demask a such injustice. » - Sophie «

Emile Zola by sophie nessrine thibaut cassandra