La Bête Humaine (The Beast Within) by Émile Zola (1890). The seventeenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series, is one of Zola's most violent and explicit works. Set at the end of the Second Empire, when French society seemed to be hurtling into the future like the new railways and locomotives it was building,the novel is at once a tale of murder, passion, and possession and a compassionate study of individuals derailed by the burden of inherited evil. In it, Zola expresses the hope that human nature evolves through education but warns that the beast within continues to lurk beneath the veneer of technological progress.On one level a tale of murder, passion, and possession, it is also a compassionate study of individuals derailed by atavistic forces beyond their control.
Total Points: 2 (JGil 2)