Violence in the Novels of Emile Zola

Brenda Colleen Shantz, Wilfrid Laurier University


The purpose of this thesis is to attempt to group under certain classifications the various types of violence that appear in Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series. For this study all twenty novels of Les Rougon-Macquart, publsihed between 1870-1893, were examined. Violence was not peculiar to any one segment of Second Empire society. It occurred within all classes: the workers, the bourgeoisie, the fishermen, the peasants, and the aristocracy. No study of the Second Empire would be complete without including this aspect of its society.