ISBN : 9780198746164
I believe that the future of humanity lies in the progress of reason through science.
Doctor Pascal is the twentieth and final novel of Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle — is a pivotal tale of science vs faith.
The novel opens in 1872, as the reign of Napoleon III comes to an end. Pascal Rougon is the son of Pierre and Félicité, whose rise to power in the town of Plassans was described in the first novel in the series, The Fortune of the Rougons. Pascal, a doctor in Plassans for 30 years, has spent his life classifying the descendants of his grandmother according to hereditary ideas and developing a serum to cure hereditary disease. He represents science, while his niece Clotilde places her faith in God.
Pascal Rougon is in some respects Zola's alter ego. The novel evokes the writer's own intellectual evolution, especially in respect to his views on science and human progress. It also embodies a reflection by Zola on his activity as a writer. And it is highly personal in a further sense, for the relationship that develops between the elderly Pascal and his young niece Clotilde transposes Zola's relationship with his much younger mistress, Jeanne Rozerot.
A Chronology of Émile Zola
Family Tree of the Rougon-Macquart