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Genius in FranceAn Idea and Its Uses$
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Ann Jefferson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160658

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160658.001.0001

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Creativity and Procreation in Zola’s L’Œuvre

Creativity and Procreation in Zola’s L’Œuvre

Chapter:
(p.146) Chapter 12 Creativity and Procreation in Zola’s L’Œuvre
Source:
Genius in France
Author(s):

Ann Jefferson

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691160658.003.0013

This chapter studies the figure of the genius artist in the painter Claude Lantier, the central figure of Émile Zola's novel, L'Œuvre (The masterpiece, 1886). Genius may be a largely positive term for Zola the art critic who regards disruption as a virtue, but for Zola the novelist these “disruptions” are an ambivalent quantity that allows him to explore it both positively as central to the artistic enterprise and negatively as a sterile or destructive pathology. Like Mme de Staël and Balzac, he does so both from an objective external and from a sympathetically internal perspective. As a painter, Lantier offers less scope for identification on the part of the author than did Corinne or Lambert, but both author and painter are bound together by the issue of artistic creativity that is the novel's central concern.

Keywords:   L'Œuvre, Émile Zola, artistic creativity, genius artist, Claude Lantier, genius

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