Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, June 9, 2014

His Excellency Eugene Rougon by Emile Zola (1876)

His Excellancy Eugene Rougon is novel six of twenty novels in Emile Zola's Rougon Macquart Cycle. The novel centers on Eugene Rougon, son of Pierre and Felicite Rougon who we met in the opening novel, The Fortunes of the Rougon's.  Eugene helped elevate Napolean III to the Emperor and in this laid the foundations for the family wealth.  Much of the novel is devoted to an expose of the gross corruption at the heart of the imperial government.   Everything depended on favoritism and patronage.  It started with the Emperor and went down to the very basic levels of society.  The plot action of the novel turns on Eugene's relationship with a Machavelian Italian seductress, Clorinde.  We follow Eugene as he rises, falls, and rises again in the halls of power.  There are lots of descriptions of the excesses of the royals and their self servicing followers.  

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