The Belly of Paris by Émile Zola
(Oxford World's Classics)

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Florent Quenu returns to Paris after being unjustly imprisoned and finds the city utterly changed. The great new food market, Les Halles, has been built, and food dominates the political and social life of the capital. The third in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, The Belly of Paris appears in a vibrant new translation. - ;'Respectable people... What bastards!'

Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'--eacute--;tat in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. The old March--eacute--; des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets. Disgusted by a bourgeois society whose devotion to food is inseparable from its devotion to the Government, Florent
attempts an insurrection. Les Halles, apocalyptic and destructive, play an active role in Zola's picture of a world in which food and the injustice of society are inextricably linked.

The Belly of Paris (Le Ventre de Paris) is the third volume in Zola's famous cycle of twenty novels, Les Rougon-Macquart. It introduces the painter Claude Lantier and in its satirical representation of the bourgeoisie and capitalism complements Zola's other great novels of social conflict and urban poverty. -

About Émile Zola

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Zola was the spokesperson for the naturalist novel in France and the leader of a school that championed the infusion of literature with new scientific theories of human development drawn from Charles Darwin (see Vol. 5) and various social philosophers. The theoretical claims for such an approach, which are considered simplistic today, were outlined by Zola in his Le Roman Experimental (The Experimental Novel, 1880). He was the author of the series of 20 novels called The Rougon-Macquart, in which he attempted to trace scientifically the effects of heredity through five generations of the Rougon and Macquart families. Three of the outstanding volumes are L'Assommoir (1877), a study of alcoholism and the working class; Nana (1880), a story of a prostitute who is a femme fatale; and Germinal (1885), a study of a strike at a coal mine. All gave scope to Zola's gift for portraying crowds in turmoil. Today Zola's novels have been appreciated by critics for their epic scope and their visionary and mythical qualities. He continues to be immensely popular with French readers. His newspaper article "J'Accuse," written in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, launched Zola into the public limelight and made him the political conscience of his country.
Published November 8, 2007 by Oxford University Press, UK. 319 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History. Fiction

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