Random Quote #72 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G

SANDOZ (PIERRE), a famous novelist whose youth was spent at Plassans,
where at school he was the inseparable companion of Claude Lantier and
Dubuche. The favourite amusement of the boys was walking, and together
they took long excursions, spending whole days in the country. After the
death of his father Sandoz went to Paris, where he got employment at a
small salary at the _Mairie_ of the fifth arrondissement, in the office
for registration of births; he was chained there by the thought of his
mother, whom he had to support, and to whom he was tenderly attached.
Presently he published his first book: a series of mild sketches,
brought with him from Plassans, among which only a few rougher notes
indicated the mutineer, the lover of truth and power. He lived at this
time with his mother in a little house in Rue d'Enfer, and there he
received each Thursday evening his old friends from Plassans, Claude
Lantier and Dubuche, and with them Fagerolles, Mahoudeau, Jory,
Gagniere, now reunited at Paris, and all animated by the same passion
for art. He was still obsessed by a desire for literary glory, and had
thoughts of writing a poem on some vast subject, but at last he hit on
a scheme which soon took form in his mind. With reference to it he said,
"I am going to take a family, and I shall study its members, one by one,
whence they come, whither they go, how they react upon one another--in
short, humanity in a small compass, the way in which humanity grows and
behaves. On the other hand, I shall set my men and women in a determined
period of history, which will provide me with the necessary surroundings
and circumstances, a slice of history--you understand, eh? A series
of fifteen or twenty books, episodes that will cling together although
having each a separate framework, a suite of novels with which I shall
be able to build myself a house for my old age if they don't crush
me." The first of the novels met with some success, and Sandoz having
resigned his appointment, and put his trust entirely in literature,
married a young girl named Henriette, the daughter of middle-class
parents, and removed his house to Rue Nollet. In course of time his
circumstances became still more comfortable, and he again removed to a
large house in Rue de Londres. When Claude Lantier fell into misery and
despair, a gradual separation came about between him and his friends,
but Sandoz remained true to the old companionship. He was one of the few
mourners who attended the funeral of the unfortunate artist. L'Oeuvre.


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