With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, Synopses of the Plots, Bibliographical Note, Map, Genealogy, etc.
allacy of the argument has been exposed by more than one critic. It is self-evident that the "experiments" by the novelist cannot be made on subjects apart from himself, but are made by him and in him; so that they prove more regarding his own temperament than about what he professes to regard as the inevitable actions of his characters. The conclusion drawn by a writer from such actions must always be open to the retort that he invented the whole himself and that fiction is only fiction. But to Zola in the late sixties the theory seemed unassailable and it was upon it that he founded the whole edifice of /Les Rougon-Macquart/. The considerations then that influenced Zola in beginning a series of novels connected by subject into one gigantic whole were somewhat various. There was the example of Balzac's great /Comedie Humaine/; there was the desire of working out the theories of heredity in which he had become interested; there was the opportunity of putting into operation the system which he had termed /natu