Sidelines: Art and Economy in Zola's L'Œuvre


The place of artists in traditional economic theory is one of marginality with respect to bourgeois society because they are not producers of goods but of imitations, necessarily partial. Claude Lantier, the revolutionary artist of Zola's L'Œuvre (1886) willfully marginalizes himself, but also, in a process described by Bourdieu, reverses the dichotomy, attaching to commerce, especially commercial art, those same characteristics used to marginalize artists. The logic of the text, though, is problematized by episodes that articulate art and commerce, when the two fields show identical fundamental underpinnings, are reciprocally marginalized by one principle, the alienation of exchange. (JJD)

Duffy, John J. Jr
Release Year:
1995-1996 Fall-Winter; 24(1-2): 178-91