Zola's Conversion to Science: An Allegorical Study of Le Voeu d'une morte


This article attempts an allegorical reading of Zola's early novel, Le Vœu d'une morte, to trace the tensions he experienced after his "conversion" from Romantic idealism to science. When Zola depicts young Daniel losing his idealistic protectress and embracing a scientific career, only to revert to his dreamy life-style through love for that lady's daughter, the author parallels this to Zola's own oscillation between reality and the ideal. Just as the girl in question plans to marry scientist Georges after mistakenly attributing Daniel's love-letter to him, Zola the writer intends to "marry" science, whereas he continues, in part, to be inspired by his Romantic idealism.

Evenhuis, Anthony John
Release Year:
1995 Spring-Summer; 23(3-4): 469-78