Renato Marvaso

The construction of an ethnographic novel. Ideology and writing in Au Bonheur des Dames

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Naturalism, Capitalism, Emile Zola, Novel, Grand magasins.

The essay explores some aspects of the Zolian novel Au Bonheur des Dames, published in Paris by Charpentier in 1883. The first part focuses on some textual examples in which episodes, utterances and the action of the characters hide very different authorial intentions. So, behind the textual reality, the study of the preparatory papers allowed me to highlight the author’s desire to allegorize and create parallels. The second part aims to demonstrate the historical character of the novel. The authorial intention to express the entire century of social and economic transformations is therefore recognizable in the attempt to represent the characteristics of the ideology of progress, from the capitalist drive to the mutation of cities to proto-socialist demands.

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