Assess to what extent Balzac’s 'Eugénie Grandet' and Zola’s 'Au Bonheur des Dames' and L’Assommoir offer an insight into the evolution of capitalism and its impact on family relations in nineteenth century France

Tira, Otilia (2014) Assess to what extent Balzac’s 'Eugénie Grandet' and Zola’s 'Au Bonheur des Dames' and L’Assommoir offer an insight into the evolution of capitalism and its impact on family relations in nineteenth century France. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The 19th century corresponded, on the literary plan, to the emergence of realism and naturalism, two currents aiming at providing an authentic image of reality. As a result, the emergence of capitalism and the social problems that it entailed became part of the literature. This led to literary realism being sometimes used as a source of information on the evolution of capitalism and its impact. The inherent problem is to what extent novels can be considered a viable historical source.
    This dissertation examines to what extent Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet and Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames and L’Assommoir offer a veridical account of the evolution of capitalism and its impact on family relations in 19th century France. One argument is that, due to the aims of novelists, different to those of historians, the writers of fiction reshape the real. Another argument is that the two novelists offer a useful account of the epoch they portray, despite certain anachronisms. Finally, it will be argued that capitalism led to the disaggregation of the family in the two examined novels. This dissertation contends that the explored novels can be a valid source of knowledge about the evolution of capitalism and its impact on family relations. However, due to the nature of the novelistic enterprise, they have to be treated with circumspection.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 11:54
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:45
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/16085

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