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VCE Literature Texts: The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies Paradise

"Mouret’s sole passion was the conquest of Woman. He wanted her to be queen in his shop; he had built this temple for her in order to hold her at his mercy. His tactics were to intoxicate her with amorous attentions, to trade on her desires, and to exploit her excitement."

Émile Zola, The Ladies Paradise

The Ladies Paradise by Émile Zola was published in 1883 with the french title Au Bonheur des dames. Other English translations have appeared under the title of Ladies’ Delight. It is part of Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle, 20 novels written between 1871 and 1893.

Rougon-Macquart cycle- Encyclopedia Britannica.

19th Century Paris & French Society

File:Gustave Caillebotte - Paris Street, Rainy Day - 1964.336 - Art Institute of Chicago.jpg - Wikimedia Commons n.d., viewed 14 September 2021, <,_Rainy_Day_-_1964.336_-_Art_Institute_of_Chicago.jpg >.

History of the Department Store

"Au Bon Marché" (audio in French, subtitles are available in French and English by clicking on the CC button on the Youtube control bar) is a superstore built in 1852 in Paris. As the name suggests, it offered quality products to Parisians at a very cheap price. With that in mind, it created not only consumerism as we know it now, but also, for the first time, it started offering social security to its employees, employing women, and it sparkled some of the first movements for women's rights of our modern world. French Conversation Group

Criticism & Interpretation

Be sure to join the State Library so that you can search the Gale Literature databases and JSTOR as there are several good articles about Zola and the The Ladies Paradise in these databases. Sign up via the above link.

  • Also check your local public library's list of databases and Reference tools for Literary databases.


JSTOR database

Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press)
Brian Nelson discusses Émile Zola’s commitment to the truth and the social significance of his novels.

Review of The Ladies Paradise by Émile Zola. Analyses Zola's writing, puts in in the context of his series and compares with TV series The Paradise. 17 minutes.

Émile Zola

Émile Zola

'Emile Zola 1840 - 1902' 2021, Flickr, viewed 13 September 2021, < >.

Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press)
Brian Nelson discusses Émile Zola and his work’s relevance in today’s society.

The Paradise

Elaine Cassidy explains Katherine's new life - The Paradise - Series 2 - BBC One
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