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Emile Zola

Birthdate: 2. April 1840
Date of death: 29. September 1902

Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola was a French novelist, playwright, journalist, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism, and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse…! Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.

Works

J’accuse…!
Emile Zola
Germinal
Germinal
Emile Zola
Paris
Emile Zola
Nana
Nana
Emile Zola
Citát „I would rather die of passion than of boredom.“

„If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: I am here to live out loud!“

—  Emile Zola

As quoted in Writers on Writing‎ (1986) by Jon Winokur.
Variant: If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.

„The public was astounded; rumors flew of the most horrible acts, the most monstrous deceptions, lies that were an affront to our history. The public, naturally, was taken in. No punishment could be too harsh. The people clamored for the traitor to be publicly stripped of his rank and demanded to see him writhing with remorse on his rock of infamy.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: The public was astounded; rumors flew of the most horrible acts, the most monstrous deceptions, lies that were an affront to our history. The public, naturally, was taken in. No punishment could be too harsh. The people clamored for the traitor to be publicly stripped of his rank and demanded to see him writhing with remorse on his rock of infamy. Could these things be true, these unspeakable acts, these deeds so dangerous that they must be carefully hidden behind closed doors to keep Europe from going up in flames? No! They were nothing but the demented fabrications of Major du Paty de Clam, a cover-up of the most preposterous fantasies imaginable. To be convinced of this one need only read carefully the accusation as it was presented before the court martial.
How flimsy it is! The fact that someone could have been convicted on this charge is the ultimate iniquity. I defy decent men to read it without a stir of indignation in their hearts and a cry of revulsion, at the thought of the undeserved punishment being meted out there on Devil's Island. He knew several languages: a crime! He carried no compromising papers: a crime! He would occasionally visit his country of origin: a crime! He was hard-working, and strove to be well informed: a crime! He did not become confused: a crime! He became confused: a crime! And how childish the language is, how groundless the accusation!

„Meanwhile, in Paris, truth was marching on, inevitably, and we know how the long-awaited storm broke.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: Meanwhile, in Paris, truth was marching on, inevitably, and we know how the long-awaited storm broke. Mr. Mathieu Dreyfus denounced Major Esterhazy as the real author of the bordereau just as Mr. Scheurer-Kestne was handing over to the Minister of Justice a request for the revision of the trial. This is where Major Esterhazy comes in. Witnesses say that he was at first in a panic, on the verge of suicide or running away. Then all of a sudden, emboldened, he amazed Paris by the violence of his attitude.

„Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it — my honor!“

—  Emile Zola

Appeal for Dreyfus delivered at his trial for libel (22 February 1898).
Context: Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it — my honor! At this solemn moment, in the presence of this tribunal which is the representative of human justice, before you, gentlemen of the jury, who are the very incarnation of the country, before the whole of France, before the whole world, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By my forty years of work, by the authority that this toil may have given me, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By all I have now, by the name I have made for myself, by my works which have helped for the expansion of French literature, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. May all that melt away, may my works perish if Dreyfus be not innocent! He is innocent. All seems against me — the two Chambers, the civil authority, the military authority, the most widely-circulated journals, the public opinion which they have poisoned. And I have for me only an ideal of truth and justice. But I am quite calm; I shall conquer. I was determined that my country should not remain the victim of lies and injustice. I may be condemned here. The day will come when France will thank me for having helped to save her honor.

„I have for me only an ideal of truth and justice. But I am quite calm; I shall conquer. I was determined that my country should not remain the victim of lies and injustice. I may be condemned here. The day will come when France will thank me for having helped to save her honor.“

—  Emile Zola

Appeal for Dreyfus delivered at his trial for libel (22 February 1898).
Context: Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it — my honor! At this solemn moment, in the presence of this tribunal which is the representative of human justice, before you, gentlemen of the jury, who are the very incarnation of the country, before the whole of France, before the whole world, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By my forty years of work, by the authority that this toil may have given me, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By all I have now, by the name I have made for myself, by my works which have helped for the expansion of French literature, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. May all that melt away, may my works perish if Dreyfus be not innocent! He is innocent. All seems against me — the two Chambers, the civil authority, the military authority, the most widely-circulated journals, the public opinion which they have poisoned. And I have for me only an ideal of truth and justice. But I am quite calm; I shall conquer. I was determined that my country should not remain the victim of lies and injustice. I may be condemned here. The day will come when France will thank me for having helped to save her honor.

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„It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute.
In disbelief, people wondered who Commander Esterhazy's protectors were. First of all, behind the scenes, Lt. Colonel du Paty de Clam was the one who had concocted the whole story, who kept it going, tipping his hand with his outrageous methods. Next General de Boisdeffre, then General Gonse, and finally, General Billot himself were all pulled into the effort to get the Major acquitted, for acknowledging Dreyfus's innocence would make the War Office collapse under the weight of public contempt. And the astounding outcome of this appalling situation was that the one decent man involved, Lt. Colonel Picquart who, alone, had done his duty, was to become the victim, the one who got ridiculed and punished. O justice, what horrible despair grips our hearts? It was even claimed that he himself was the forger, that he had fabricated the letter-telegram in order to destroy Esterhazy. But, good God, why? To what end? Find me a motive. Was he, too, being paid off by the Jews? The best part of it is that Picquart was himself an anti-Semite. Yes! We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay.

„We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute.
In disbelief, people wondered who Commander Esterhazy's protectors were. First of all, behind the scenes, Lt. Colonel du Paty de Clam was the one who had concocted the whole story, who kept it going, tipping his hand with his outrageous methods. Next General de Boisdeffre, then General Gonse, and finally, General Billot himself were all pulled into the effort to get the Major acquitted, for acknowledging Dreyfus's innocence would make the War Office collapse under the weight of public contempt. And the astounding outcome of this appalling situation was that the one decent man involved, Lt. Colonel Picquart who, alone, had done his duty, was to become the victim, the one who got ridiculed and punished. O justice, what horrible despair grips our hearts? It was even claimed that he himself was the forger, that he had fabricated the letter-telegram in order to destroy Esterhazy. But, good God, why? To what end? Find me a motive. Was he, too, being paid off by the Jews? The best part of it is that Picquart was himself an anti-Semite. Yes! We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay.

„Lt. Colonel Picquart had carried out his duty as an honest man.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: Lt. Colonel Picquart had carried out his duty as an honest man. He kept insisting to his superiors in the name of justice. He even begged them, telling them how impolitic it was to temporize in the face of the terrible storm that was brewing and that would break when the truth became known.

„The first court martial was perhaps unintelligent; the second one is inescapably criminal.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: General Billot directed the judges in his preliminary remarks, and they proceeded to judgment as they would to battle, unquestioningly. The preconceived opinion they brought to the bench was obviously the following: “Dreyfus was found guilty for the crime of treason by a court martial; he therefore is guilty and we, a court martial, cannot declare him innocent. On the other hand, we know that acknowledging Esterhazy's guilt would be tantamount to proclaiming Dreyfus innocent.” There was no way for them to escape this rationale.
So they rendered an iniquitous verdict that will forever weigh upon our courts martial and will henceforth cast a shadow of suspicion on all their decrees. The first court martial was perhaps unintelligent; the second one is inescapably criminal.

„As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth, as I have pledged to tell it, in full, since the normal channels of justice have failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty. My nights would otherwise be haunted by the spectre of the innocent man, far away, suffering the most horrible of tortures for a crime he did not commit.“

—  Emile Zola, J’accuse…!

J'accuse! (1898)
Context: A court martial, under orders, has just dared to acquit a certain Esterhazy, a supreme insult to all truth and justice. And now the image of France is sullied by this filth, and history shall record that it was under your presidency that this crime against society was committed.
As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth, as I have pledged to tell it, in full, since the normal channels of justice have failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty. My nights would otherwise be haunted by the spectre of the innocent man, far away, suffering the most horrible of tortures for a crime he did not commit.

„Civilization will not attain perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.“

—  Emile Zola

Cited as attributed to Zola in The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations : Cutting Comments on Burning Issues (1992) by Charles Bufe, p. 183, but no earlier citation has yet been located, and this appears to be very similar to remarks often attributed to Denis Diderot: "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" and "Let us strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest" — these are loosely derived from a statement Diderot actually did make: "his hands would plait the priest's entrails, for want of a rope, to strangle kings."
This quote appeared in soviet popular-scientific work "Satellite atheist" (Sputnik ateista) http://books.google.ru/books/about/%D0%A1%D0%BF%D1%83%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA_%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0.html?id=Lq9AAAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y (1959), p. 491.
Disputed

„The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.“

—  Emile Zola

As quoted in Wisdom for the Soul : Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing‎ (2006) by Larry Chang , p. 55.

„There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman. One is born a poet. One becomes a craftsman.“

—  Emile Zola

Letter to Paul Cézanne (16 April 1860), as published in Paul Cézanne : Letters (1995) edited by John Rewald.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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