Novelist, born in Paris, France. He became a clerk and journalist, then began to write short stories, beginning with Contes à Ninon (1864, Stories for Ninon). After his first major novel, Thérèse Raquin (1867), he began the long series called Les Rougon-Macquart, a sequence of 20 books described in the subtitle as ‘the natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire’. The series contains such acclaimed studies as Nana (1880), Germinal (1885), La Terre (1887, Earth), and La Bête humaine (1890, trans The Beast in Man). In 1898 he espoused the cause of Dreyfus in his open letter J'accuse, and was sentenced to imprisonment (1898), but escaped to England. He was given a great welcome on his return after Dreyfus had been pardoned (1899), but controversy over the affair continued to affect him until his death.
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