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Au Bonheur Des Dames (Penguin Classics)by Emile Zola
Synopses & Reviews
Through charm, drive, and diligent effort Octave Mouret has become the director of one of the finest new department stores in Paris, Au Bonheur des Dames. Supremely aware of the power of his position, Mouret seeks to exploit the desire that his luxuriantly displayed merchandise arouses in the ladies who shop, and the aspirations of the young female assistants he employs. Charting the beginnings of the capitalist economy and bourgeois society, Zola captures in lavish detail the greedy customers and gossiping staff, and the obsession with image, fashion, and gratification that was a phenomenon of nineteenth-century French consumer society. Of all Zola's novels, this may be the one with the most relevance for our own time.
This title is one in Zola's "Les Rougon-Macquart", a panorama of mid-19th century French life in 20 novels which studies the effects of the transmission of hereditary traits down through different generations of a family. This novel concerns the new social phenomenon of the department store.
About the Author
Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-nineteenth-century French life, in a cycle of twenty novels, which Zola wrote over a period of twenty-two years and which includes Au Bonheur des Dames.
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