Recommended Reading Order

A recommended reading order for the Rougon-Macquart Cycle

(There is some confusion about whether this was Zola’s recommendation or not….)

  1. La Fortune des Rougon (1871) (The Fortune of the Rougons)
  2. Son Excellence Eugène Rougon (1876) (His Excellency Eugene Rougon/ His Excellency)
  3. La Curée (1871-2) (The Kill)
  4. L’Argent (1891) (Money)
  5. Le Rêve (1888)  (The Dream)
  6. La Conquête de Plassans (1874) (The Conquest of Plassans/A Priest in the House)
  7. Pot-Bouille (1882)  (Pot Luck/Restless House/Piping Hot)
  8. Au Bonheur des Dames (1883) (The Ladies’ Paradise/Shop Girls of Paris/Ladies’ Delight)
  9. La Faute de l’Abbé Mouret (1875) (The Sin of Father Mouret/Abbe Mouret’s Transgression)
  10. Une Page d’amour (1878) (A Lesson in Love/A Love Episode/A Page of Love/A Love Affair)
  11. Le Ventre de Paris (1873) (The Belly of Paris/The Fat and the Thin/Savage Paris/The Markets of Paris)
  12. La Joie de Vivre (1884) (The Joys of Living/Joy of Life/How Jolly Life Is/Zest for Life)
  13. L’Assommoir (1877) (The Dram Shop/The Gin Palace/Drink/Drunkard)
  14. L’Œuvre (1886) (The Masterpiece/A Masterpiece/His Masterpiece)
  15. La Bête Humaine (1890) (The Beast in the Man/The Human Beast/The Monomaniac)
  16. Germinal (1885)
  17. Nana (1880)
  18. La Terre (1887) (The Earth/The Soil)
  19. La Débâcle (1892) (The Downfall/The Smash-up/The Debacle)
  20. Le Docteur Pascal (1893) (Doctor Pascal)

Please see the Publication Chronology page to compare.

Dagny’s thoughts on it.

 

Recommended reading order for Les Trois Villes (The Three Cities Trilogy)

These three novels should be read in the order in which they were published (Lourdes, Rome, Paris) since they are the continuing story of Abbé Pierre Froment.

27 comments on “Recommended Reading Order

  1. […] Recommended Reading Order […]

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  2. […] first Zola) and The Ladies’ Paradise, but my intention is to read the rest of the cycle in Zola’s recommended order.  I started with The Fortune of the Rougons, and His Excellency Eugene Rougon, and it was the […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] novel in the publication chronology of Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle, but it is third in the recommended reading order.  It’s the story of ‘uncontrollable appetites’ let loose by the Second Empire, […]

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  4. […] novel in the publication chronology of Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle, but it is third in the recommended reading order.  It’s the story of ‘uncontrollable appetites’ let loose by the Second Empire, […]

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  5. […] know – hadn’t been invented then either).   Written in 1875, it’s No 9 in the recommended reading order, between The Ladies Paradise (1883) (about Father Mouret’s brother Octave in a social […]

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  6. […] masterpiece.  Well, I haven’t read all of the Rougon-Macquart cycle, this is no. 13 in the recommended reading order so I have seven left to enjoy, but I can certainly attest to the brilliance of this […]

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  7. […] is the fourteenth title in my quest to read the entire Rougon-Macquart cycle of 20 novels in the recommended reading order.  Next up is The Beast in the Man (La Bête Humaine, 1890) and since there isn’t a nice new […]

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  8. […] fourth novel completed in Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart cycle.  But if you are reading in the recommended reading order as I am, it is No 6, and comes after The Dream (Le Rêve) which was not written until 1888 and was […]

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  9. […] Bête Humaine is No 15 in the recommended reading order for the Rougon-Macquart cycle, (and I’ve already read Germinal which is No 16, see my review) […]

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  10. […] (1880) is one of Zola’s many masterpieces in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, no.17 in the recommended reading order.  It follows the spectacular career of the young girl who ran wild at the end of […]

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  11. […] the presses, arriving here in Australia when I was just about to embark on the sixth novel in the recommended reading order, using the old Vizetelly translation on The Hated Kindle.  In this Sensational Snippet from Chapter […]

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  12. Jennifer says:

    Any suggestions on the best translation for The Dream? Thank you!

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  13. […] I will read the twenty novels in the recommended order: […]

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  14. […] Excellence Eugène Rougon (His Excellency, in English). This was the sixth book written, but the second one in the recommended order – that I am following. The book was excellent (even though I was reading an inferior […]

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  15. […] Ok, for awhile now I’ve been working my way through Zola’s Rougon-Marquat 20 novel series of French life in the Second Empire – Reading them not in the order that they were written, but in the recommended reading order. […]

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  16. […] Ok, for awhile now I’ve been working my way through Zola’s Rougon-Marquat 20 novel series of French life in the Second Empire – Reading them not in the order that they were written, but in the recommended reading order. […]

    Like

  17. […] I read my first Zola, Germinal back in 2011, but I didn’t decide to read the entire series until I read The Ladies Paradise after seeing the BBC TV series in 2013.   Having read those first two ‘out of order’, I decided to read the rest of the novels in the recommended reading order. […]

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  18. Renato Rodolfo-Sioson says:

    Despite the logical progression of the suggested reading order, moving generation by generation through each branch of the family, I’ve decided to read them in publication order, and experience them in the way that Zola’s initial reading public would have. After all, the reading order was first given by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly, and there appears to be no further, stronger evidence of its authenticity.
    I must say that I’m really enjoying my traversal of the 20 novels, in the recent translations published by Oxford. My only regret is that I will have to wait until Nov 2020 for the publication of the final installment, Doctor Pascal.

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    • Lisa Hill says:

      I think it’s a personal choice, which way to read them… on the one hand you can see Zola’s development as a writer, and on the other you can revisit characters from earlier books and pick up resonances you might otherwise miss. Either way, it’s brilliant reading!

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  19. […] Many people suggest not reading Rougon-Macquart books in the order of publication, but rather in this order.It’s not a straight up chronological […]

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    • Lisa Hill says:

      Yes, that’s right, they do, and if you read them that way you get a better appreciation of the way his writing developed over time. OTOH the other way gives you a sense of a family saga and their interconnections. My view is that it’s probably best to read them both ways, and having read them in the recommended semi-sequential order, I am now going to re-read them in the publication order, with the added benefit of having newly published better translations of some of them.

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