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The Red and the Black

Stendhal

 Julien Sorel, the ambitious son of a carpenter in the fictional village of Verrières, in Franche-Comté, France, would rather read and daydream about the glorious victories of Napoleon's long-disbanded army than work in his father'...

On Love

Stendhal

The first part of On Love is an analysis of love. Stendhal lists four kinds of love: physical love, purely sexual in scope; love as a social game, removed from passion; vanity love, a type necessary for high social standing; and passion, the finest...

The Chartreuse of Parma

Stendhal

The Charterhouse of Parma chronicles the adventures of the young Italian nobleman Fabrice del Dongo from his birth in 1798 to his death. Fabrice spends his early years in his family's castle on Lake Como, while most of the rest of the novel is set in...

The Downfall

Emile Zola

The novel starts in the summer of 1870, when after serious diplomatic tensions, France has declared war on Prussia (the nucleus of Germany which was then emerging as one nation out of a number of disparate cities, regions and principalities). The Fre...

The Fortune of the Rougons

Emile Zola

After a stirring opening on the eve of the coup d'état, involving an idealistic young village couple joining up with the republican militia in the middle of the night, Zola then spends the next few chapters going back in time to pre-Revolution...

The Flood

Emile Zola

L'Inondation (The Flood) is an 1880 novella by Émile Zola. Set in the village of Saint-Jory, several miles up the Garonne from Toulouse, it is the story of a family tragedy, told by its patriarch, seventy-year-old Louis Roubieu. On a beau...

His Masterpiece

Emile Zola

Painter Claude Lantier advocates painting real subjects in real places, most notably outdoors. This is in stark contrast to the artistic establishment, where artists painted in the studio and concentrated on mythological, historical and religious sub...

The Ladies' Paradise

Emile Zola

The events of Au Bonheur des Dames cover approximately 1864-1869. The novel tells the story of Denise Baudu, a 20-year-old woman from Valognes who comes to Paris with her younger brothers and begins working as a saleswoman at the department store "Au...