It was serialized in the periodical Gil Blas beginning in November son Excellence Eugène Rougon PDF before being published in novel form by Charpentier et Fasquelle in March 1891. The novel focuses on the financial world of the Second French Empire as embodied in the Paris Bourse and exemplified by the fictional character of Aristide Saccard.
Extrait : « Le président était encore debout, au milieu du léger tumulte que son entrée venait de produire. Il s’assit, en disant à demi-voix, négligemment : — La séance est ouverte. Et il classa les projets de loi, placés devant lui, sur le bureau. A sa gauche, un secrétaire, myope, le nez sur le papier, lisait le procès-verbal de la dernière séance, d’un balbutiement rapide que pas un député n’écoutait. »
He is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon. Saccard’s first rise to wealth using underhanded methods. Aristide’s other brother Pascal is the main character of Le docteur Pascal. He also has two sisters: Sidonie, who appears in La curée, and Marthe, one of the protagonists of La conquête de Plassans. Saccard is bankrupt and an outcast among the Bourse financiers.
Saccard decides to institute a financial establishment to fund these projects. He is motivated primarily by the potential to make incredible amounts of money and reestablish himself on the Bourse. While Hamelin travels to Constantinople to lay the groundwork for their enterprise, the Banque Universelle goes from strength to strength. Stock prices soar, going from 500 francs a share to more than 3,000 francs in three years. Furthermore, Saccard buys several newspapers which serve to maintain the illusion of legitimacy, promote the Banque, excite the public, and attack Rougon. The novel follows the fortunes of about 20 characters, cutting across all social strata, showing the effects of stock market speculation on rich and poor.
The financial events of the novel are played against Saccard’s personal life. Hamelin lives with his sister Caroline, who, against her better judgment, invests in the Banque Universelle and later becomes Saccard’s mistress. Caroline learns that Saccard fathered a son, Victor, during his first days in Paris. Eventually, the Banque Universelle cannot sustain itself. Saccard’s principal rival on the Bourse, the Jewish financier Gundermann, learns about Saccard’s financial trickery and attacks, losing stock upon the market, devaluing its price, and forcing Saccard to buy millions of shares to keep the price up. At the final collapse, the Banque holds one-fourth of its own shares worth 200 million francs.
The fall of the Banque is felt across the entire financial world. Zola’s plan for the Rougon-Macquart novels was to show how heredity and environment worked on members of one family over the course of the Second Empire. If his father’s obsession is with building wealth, Maxime’s obsession is with keeping it. Victor, on the other hand, brought up in squalor, is the furthest extreme Zola illustrates of the Rougon family’s degeneracy. Like his great-grandmother Tante Dide, Victor suffers from neuralgic attacks. Zola tells us that Saccard returns to Paris, institutes a newspaper, and is again making piles of money.
Rougon is the protagonist of Son Excellence Eugène Rougon, the events of which predate L’argent. In 1928, a silent film adaptation of L’Argent was directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It used only the skeleton of the plot and it updated the setting to Paris in the 1920s. The 1936 French film L’Argent was directed by Pierre Billon. A three-part television adaptation of the book was directed by Jacques Rouffio for French TV in 1988. Shunt, a British theatre company, in 2009 created a piece of immersive theatre loosely based on the book, called ‘Money’.
L’argent, translated as Money by E. Le doctor Pascal, translated as Doctor Pascal by E. Son Excellence Eugène Rougon est un roman d’Émile Zola publié en 1876, sixième volume de la série Les Rougon-Macquart. Eugène Rouher, modèle sur lequel est basée la personnalité d’Eugène Rougon. Eugène Rougon est le fils aîné de Pierre et Félicité Rougon. L’action s’ouvre sur une séance à la chambre des députés. Chacun est venu comme au spectacle, les propos relèvent du commérage plutôt que du débat, la chambre est totalement soumise à l’Empereur.