Zola's Money

Zola's Money

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Title: Gil Blas - Money.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1890

Date shown: 1890

Dimensions: Height 122 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Handcoloured lithograph. Promotional poster, From November 29, read in the Gil Blas, l'Argent.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 05-509316 / 61.18.85.1F

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Publication date: June 2011

Historical context

Finance is well established

The XIXe France is the century of the industrial revolution, one of the components of which is the development of finance. This upheaval in the structures of a traditionally agrarian and artisanal society will be embodied in various symbols: industrial (Wendel, Schneider) or banking (Rothschild) dynasties, but also places.

Launched in 1807 by Napoleon Ier, the construction of the Paris Stock Exchange, the Palais Brongniart, was thus completed in 1825. As indicated in the advertisement in red letters at the top of the poster, it is from the end of November 1890 that this novel, Money, appears as a serial in the daily Gil Blas. It had been advertised in its columns on November 16, which allows the document presented to be dated precisely.

Image Analysis

An advertisement for a serial novel

The upper part of the poster presents the advertising text: practical information is followed by the title of the novel, whose fancy letters follow a slight oblique. The name of the newspaper appears between these two red lines, in its usual typography.

The lower part is occupied by the neoclassical facade, with Corinthian style colonnades, of the Brongniart palace. The shadows of the thirty or so figures coming and going on the steps of the grand staircase evoke the typical image of stockbrokers in black coats and hats, and the arrival of a horse-drawn carriage further reinforces the impression of busyness. The facades of the building have been adorned since 1852 with allegorical statues, visible in the background, of Agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Justice. It is the latter which is diverted to the foreground: blindfolded but animated, it seems to let gold coins rain indiscriminately on speculators.

Interpretation

Society in the mirror of literature and mass media

"Amuse passing people, please them today and start again tomorrow", was the motto of the founder of Gil Blas, Auguste Dumont (1816-1885). The poster made for Money de Zola translates in fact the dual vocation of this organ, both literary (he also publishes Maupassant, for example) and entertainment. The artistic choice of the novelist combines with editorial options to make sense in the long history of dealing with social change through literature.

The serial novel, initiated during the July Monarchy by the publication of works by Eugène Sue in particular, is in the 19th century.e century the privileged setting. Between 1870 and 1914, we went from 1.5 to 5.5 million copies of newspapers sold daily: a mass media now exists, able to firmly anchor representations in an ever-expanding readership.

  • bank
  • bourgeoisie
  • literature
  • Zola (Emile)
  • silver

Bibliography

Christophe CHARLE, "The social novelist as a quasi-sociologist between investigation and literature: the case of Zola and Money », In Éveline Pinto (ed.), The writer, the scholar and the philosopher, Paris, Publications of the Sorbonne, 2003, p. 31-44.

Béatrice LAVILLE (ed.), “Literary field fin de siècle around Zola”, in Modernities, n ° 20, 2004.

Lise QUEFFÉLEC, The French soap opera in the 19th century, Paris, P.U.F., 1989.

Emile Zola, Money, Paris, Gallimard, coll. "Folio-Classique", 1980, [1891], preface by André Wurmser, edition drawn up and annotated by Henri Mitterand.

To cite this article

François BOULOC, "L’Argent de Zola"


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