Abstract

Abstract:

Beginning with a close reading of the only appearance in La Bête humaine of the term progrès enables a reading of the novel that integrates its two settings—the railways and the legal system—into a single perspective. Zola’s narrative anticipates Heidegger’s postwar reflections on technology and technocracy, and the philosopher’s concepts of “Enframing” and “standing-reserve” in turn illuminate the novelist’s writing. Zola’s concern with showing the toxic effects of the Second Empire’s corruption, on both abstract ideals and physical systems, produces a work in which the possibilities of both progress and justice are precluded. Consideration of other novels such as Son Excellence Eugène Rougon and Travail establishes the railways as a dialectical site of tension between corruption and utopia across Zola’s œuvre.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0172
Print ISSN
0146-7891
Pages
pp. 64-81
Launched on MUSE
2016-09-21
Open Access
No
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