Émile Zola was born in Paris in 1840, the son of a Venetian engineer and his French wife. He grew up in Aix-en-Provence where he made friends with Paul Cézanne. After an undistinguished school career and a brief period of dire poverty in Paris, Zola joined the newly founded publishing firm of Hachette before embarking in 1871 on the creation of his Rougon-Macquart series.
Rougon-Macquart is a staggering achievement: a cycle of 20 novels about the influence of heredity and environment on several generations of a fragmented family in the Second Empire of Napoleon III. Only with the publication of the seventh novel L’Assommoir, a study of alcoholism in the working classes, did Zola win wealth and fame. The last volume of the Rougon-Macquart series appeared in 1893.
Zola died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1902 after accusing the French military of antisemitism in the trial of Alfred Dreyfus. Foul play was never proven.
Blind contour artist Ian Sklarsky creates his ink and watercolor drawings with a single continuous line, never taking his eyes off the subject. He has developed an adult coloring book for Yotel and demoed for TED audiences. His 1,000+ portraits include commissions from the Oslo Freedom Forum.
A classically trained opera singer and stage actor, Tim Campbell is the voice of multiple USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors and series. He has narrated nearly 150 titles for Audible Studios, Harper Collins, Recorded Books, and others. He performs regularly with the Fresno Grand Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Opera Chorus.
Slideshow of Zola set to Mozart's "Non più andrai" (The Marriage of Figaro)
Original illustrations by Ian Sklarsky
Images by Cézanne, Manet, Robert Doisneau, and Charles Marville
Historical map and dramatis personae to track characters
Orson publication date: 2017
File size: 427 MB
Original publication date: 1873
Translation publication date: 2007
Translation publisher: Oxford University Press
Translation: Brian Nelson
Editor: Benjamin Morse