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Books > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > 0520078675
  1. The Ladies' Paradise
    The Ladies' Paradise
    The Ladies' Paradise
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. The Ladies' Paradise

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (46 reviews)
    Price R537.00

Additional Information

Zola's prophetic celebration of unbridled commerce and consumerism, The Ladies' Paradise (Au bonheur des dames, 1883) recounts the frenzied transformations that made late nineteenth-century Paris the fashion capital of the world. The novel's capitalist hero, Octave Mouret, creates a giant department store that devours the dusty, outmoded boutiques surrounding it. Paralleling the story of commercial triumph is the love story between Mouret and the innocent Denise Baudu, who comes to work in The Ladies' Paradise. She provides the crucial link between Mouret and the three essential social groups in the novel: the female clientele, the shopgirls, and the petit bourgeois shopkeepers of the neighborhood.

But the store itself plays the leading role. Zola celebrates capitalism, commerce, and consumerism with a kind of prophetic optimism, calling this novel "a poem of modern activity." The work's interest for readers in feminist, cultural, and social history and theory is made abundantly clear in the introduction by Kristin Ross, and the fiction is reproduced in its colorful, 1886 English translation.

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Émile Zola
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

"The Ladies Paradise" or "Au Bonheur des Dames" is the continuation of Zola's Rougon-Macquart series. The series' purpose, according to Zola, is to study how environment effects the character of one family line. Three "environments" have appeared in Zola's work: the first is the idyllic countryside, the second is the harsh countryside, and the third is Paris--the city. "Au Bonheur des Dames" is situated in the third of the "environments", Paris.

From his previous works, Paris is already known for its potential as a corruptionist of morality and goodness. Thus, the heroine already is facing an insurmountable task of remaining adverse to Paris' degradation of moral values. She is the ultimate martyr: her sacrifices to her younger brothers seem endless. She scrapes money together to have the youngest in a boarding house for children, and always manage to find money (even in desperate times)to give to the other spendthrift... Read more
This book is hard to put down. It has glamour, scheming, gender and class warfare, and an ugly duckling heroine struggling to survive on her own. Though the story takes place more than a century ago I feel like I've met a few of these characters. Zola's dialogue and imagery is so rich that I'm in no hurry to be done, and I look forward to reading other books in the series.
I received this book quickly but there are many missing pages, often at critical points of the story. So far pages 65,243,273,270 through 181 are missing. Many of the pages have distorted scans. I have never purchased a product from Amazon of such poor quality. I highly recommend readers find another source for this book.
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