Emile Zola: La Bête humaine [The Human Beast]

(2280 words)
  • Katherine Sian Griffiths (University of Wales, Cardiff)

La Bête humaine is the seventeenth of the twenty novels making up Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, the series designed to map the fate of a fictional family under the Second Empire in France. It was serialised in La Vie populaire between November 1889 and March 1890 before being published in volume form by Charpentier in March 1890. Born of Zola’s desire to write two separate novels, one focussing on crime and the other on the world of railways, La Bête humaine merges both themes, using a train route as the setting for a tale of sex, murder, political corruption and judicial incompetence. Zola’s novel, as Henri Mitterand points out, …

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Griffiths, Katherine Sian. "La Bête humaine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 September 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11320, accessed 26 September 2016.]