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The evolution of the theme of criminality from Balzac, to Hugo, to Zola Ross, Sarah Margaret 1992

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE THEME OF CRIMINALITYFROM BALZAC, TO HUGO, TO ZOLAbySARAH MARGARET ROSSB.A., Simon Fraser University, 1990A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of French)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1992© Sarah Margaret Ross, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department of FA 6.-Ä166(The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadapZ7r 197z--DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTIn the work of Balzac, Hugo and Zola can be found adiversified literary concentration on the theme of criminalitywhich mirrors the evolution of parallel social movements inFrance during the Nineteenth Century when significant economicand political changes were taking place as a result ofdemographic shifts and altered social patterns. This briefsurvey attempts to demonstrate how these three prominent, yetdisparate novelists have dealt with the theme of criminalityfrom conflicting viewpoints during a period which saw the riseof a new capitalist bourgeoisie and the establishment of largeurban industrial centres.This thesis explores the individual approaches of thesethree novelists and compares their criminal profiles through thestudy of at least three novels for each author. It will be seenthat Balzac tended to adhere to the Eighteenth Century classicalview of the criminal, while also leaning towards the newlyintroduced positivist thinking. Hugo's romantic vision ofsociety is explored through his depiction of the criminal asvictim; and Zola is examined in light of his experimentalapproach to the criminal phenomenon, which reflects thephilosophical and scientific ideas of the late NineteenthCentury.TABLE OF CONTENTPageCHAPTER I - INTRODUCTION^ 1Social History 1Philosophical & Scientific Influences^ 4Popular & Literary Influences^ 7CHAPTER II - EUGENE-FRANCOIS VIDOCQ 12General Information^ 12The Connection with Balzac^ 14The Connection with Victor Hugo 18CHAPTER III - HONORE de BALZAC 22Ambivalence & Ambiguity^ 25La haute pegre^ 29Criminal Profiles 32Vautrin^ 36CHAPTER IV - VICTOR HUGO^ 42Conflicting Ideologies 44Les bas-fonds^ 48Criminal Profiles 51Les Misêrables 57CHAPTER V - tMILE ZOLA^ 62Literary & Scientific Influences^ 64Violence, Sex & Death 69Criminal Profiles^ 72The Criminal Machine 76CHAPTER VI - CONCLUSION 82NOTES^ 87BIBLIOGRAPHY^ 95APPENDIX A 99i VACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to acknowledge the support of my thesisadvisor, Dr. Floyd St. Clair, and gratefully salute Dr. RichardHodgson and Dr. Alistair Mackay for their positive comments andmuch needed encouragement.My thanks are also extended to Dr. Claire Rogers and Dr.Dominique Baudouin who both provided me with helpful advice anduseful references.This thesis is dedicated to my husband, Dr. Ian Ross, whonever spared his love, patience and encouragement, and whoseinnumerable criminological references were invaluable to thecompletion of my work.1CHAPTER IINTRODUCTIONSocial HistoryNineteenth Century France witnessed the emergence of aliterature which more than ever before reflected the socialrealities of the period. This was a time of hithertounprecedented political and social unrest which has usually beenattributed to the aftermath of the Revolution, the ensuingdisruptive Napoleonic era and, of course, the far reachingeffects of the Industrial Revolution. The first part of theNineteenth Century saw the rise of a new capitalist bougeoisiethat was responsible for the development of urban industrialcentres, Paris being by far the most formidable. The unemployedpoor converged upon Paris from other parts of the country andwere soon to become identified as a separate class known as the'dangerous people'.The 'dangerous classes' were thought to be easilyidentifiable, as their physical appearance was said to reflecttheir so-called moral degeneracy. It was believed that vice wasthe common denominator of the 'dangerous classes' and the rootcause of their dangerousness. This contemporary attitude isamply expressed by Balzac in the opening paragraph of La Fille aux yeux d'or, where he describes the general population ofParis as "un peuple horrible a voir, have, jaune, twine", and2then proceeds to pass judgment upon them by stating that theirfaces are mere masks "masques de faiblesse, masques de force,masques de raise-re  masques d'hypocrisie" which avidly seekyour gold and their pleasure.'The danger that the wretched living conditions of the urbanpoor might turn them towards crime was evident to the newlyestablished 'middle class' who depended upon their labour foreconomic growth. Significant changes were made to the criminaljustice system of the Ancien Regime, which implied reform, butwhich in fact facilitated greater social control. According tothe Twentieth Century philosopher, Michel Foucault, thepenitentiary system was introduced at the end of the EighteenthCentury by the bourgeoisie as a means of taming and controllingthe undeserving poor for obvious economic and utilitarianreasons:Les institutions disciplinaires ont secrete unemachinerie de contrOle qui a fonctionne comme unmicroscope de la conduite. 2Not all historians entirely agree with Foucault's somewhatMarxist interpretation of the punitive system, but it would bedifficult to overlook the fact that the authorities definitelyfelt threatened by the urban poor at a time when their miseryhad become increasingly apparent. In reality, the most frequentvictims of crime were usually the 'labouring poor' who were lessable to protect themselves against the dangerous elements of3their own social class. The authorities were quick to turn thissituation to their advantage by emphasizing the gulf between"les classes laborieuses et les classes dangereuses". 3The dangerous classes were accused of seeking materialgratification without submitting to 'honest toil'. The 'honestfolk' had a clear idea of who composed the 'dangerous classes'and were encouraged to fear them. The actual term 'dangerousclasses' was coined in a book published in 1840 by H-A. Frêgier 4and the concept it expressed remained reasonably constantthroughout the early part of the Nineteenth Century. However,as the century progressed, the terms 'dangerous' and 'labouring'started to become almost synonimous, and the labouring class asa whole was once again associated with the threat ofinsurrection which had previously emerged during the Revolution.It was felt that the lower classes in general should berepressed and reformed for the benefit of the common good, andto this end their vices were greatly emphasized and evenenlarged upon. The evils of drinking among men and sexualdepravity among women became the focus of politicians and socialreformers to the extent that the notion of moral depravity amongthe lower orders became the generally accepted view ofNineteenth Century society. It is, therefore, hardly surprisingthat the literature of this period reflects the socialpreoccupations of the time and provides excellent historicaldocumentation of the evolution which took place within thesocial attitudes towards those sections of society considered4most susceptible to criminal behaviour in France during the lastcentury.Philosophical & Scientific Influences As with most issues which concerned social change, interestin criminal justice reform was originally introduced by theEnlightenment movement with the publication in 1764 ofBeccaria's essay Dei delitti e delle gene (On Crime andPunishment). In this work, Beccaria advocated for utilitarianand humanitarian reasons that the punishment should fit thecrime and be no more excessive than necessary. These ideas wereenthusiastically adopted by the prominent thinkers of the time,most notably Helvetius and Voltaire, and came to be known as theclassical school of criminology to which Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) also belonged.Bentham was inspired by Beccaria to campaign for arational, humane and codified system of law. It was he who wasresponsible for the design of the 'Panopticon' which was anexperimental type of prison where deviants could be segregatedand observed for their punishment and society's protection.Bentham's innovative plans for the Panopticon were well receivedin 1794, but were not acted upon. However, his lastinginfluence lay more in the growing acceptance of the prison as ameans of punishment at a period in history when such measures ofsocial control were most economically expedient. Therefore, inspite of reasonably humanitarian intentions, the ultimate result5of classical criminology was not to make punishment less but tomake it better and more efficient.The next theoretical movement in criminlogy was that of"positivism" which refers to a method of analysis based on thecollection of observable scientific facts. Positivistcriminology tended to scientifically analyze the criminal ratherthan the crime, and possibly emerged due to the failure of thenew system of prisons to regulate the conduct of the dangerousclasses. Among those most prominent in this movement were theItalian physician, Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), who developedthe theory of the 'born criminal', and the Belgian statistician,Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874), whose criminology reflected thenew statistical movement and its concern with empirical socialresearch. Early traces of this school of thought can be foundin the work of Balzac who was forever quoting governmentstatistics and whose descriptions of criminals in Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes tended to reflect the views voiced laterby Lombroso:Ces miserables, qui, pour la plupart, appartiennentaux plus basses classes, sont mal vetus; leursphysionomies sont ignobles ou horribles car uncriminel venu des spheres sociales supdrieures est uneexception heureusement assez rare. 5By making this statement, which may not be unfounded, Balzacdoes nevertheless somewhat contradict his own opinions whichmore often condemned the crimes of the rich.6Later in the century, a more social and psychologicalapproach to crime was introduced by such thinkers as GabrielTarde (1843-1904) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917). Tardebelieved that criminal behaviour was prompted by imitation andthat society created its own criminals. A similar view seems tohave been held by Victor Hugo who was obliquely criticized byBalzac in his 1845 preface to Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes when he stated:Quelques plumes animees d'une fausse philanthropiefont, depuis une dizaine d'annees, du forcat, un dtreinteressant, excusable, une victime de la societe;mais selon nous, ces peintures sont dangereuses etanti-politiques. 6One can only presume that Balzac was referring to Le dernierlour d'un condamn6 and possibly its preface. It would have beeninteresting to note his reaction to Les Misêrables had he livedlong enough to witness its publication!This section would not be complete without a brief mentionof the Darwinian theory adopted by Benedictin Augustin Morel(1809-1873) who developed the concept of psychologicaldegeneracy. Morel, who practised at an asylum in Rouen duringthe mid-Nineteenth Century, published a Traitê des degênerescences physiques, intellectuelles et morales del'espêce humaine et des causes qui produisent ces varietès (1857) which, along with the publications of Prosper Lucas andClaude Bernard, greatly influenced the work of Emile Zola.7Morel believed that degeneration literally meant a degeneratinglesion in the brain which could be passed on from one generationto another. Furthermore, he maintained that:The existence of dangerous and unsafe occupations,life in overly populated and diseased cities, submitthe organism to new causes of decline anddegeneration. 7It is easy to see how this concept of environmental andhereditary taint is amply reflected in Zola's Rougon-Macquartfamily saga.Popular and Literary Influences France under the Restoration and July Monarchy (1814 - 1848)was riddled with alarm and concern about urban poverty and crimeat a time when the level of literacy of the population hadrisen. During the Revolution, pamphleteers sometimes called"les Rousseaux des ruisseaux" (grub street) had publishedpolemic articles which were intended to reach the masses bymeans of libellous sensationalism. Such publications asHebert's Le Pere Duchesne and Marat's L'Ami du peuple encouragedthe people to 'widen their horizons' for so-called politicalpurposes, but in reality they instilled in their new foundreaders a taste for literary intrigue and smut.For those who could not read, the introduction of the'melodrame' around 1800 provided an excellent vehicle for thepromulgation of popular theses, which very often included8poverty, criminality, illegitimacy and class exploitation. Oneof the masters of this literary genre was Joseph Bouchardy whooften oriented the drama of his complex plots towards socialproblems. 8 The melodrama was so popular that it was soon adoptedby 'more respectable' writers, such as Victor Hugo and AlexandreDumas (pere et fils) who produced an 'ennobled' version called'le drame romantique' of which the play Hernani (1830) is anexample. 9Melodrama was also fed into popular novels, and the mostwidely read popular novel of the Nineteenth Century was LesMysteres de Paris by Eugene Sue, which first appeared seriallyin Le Journal des debats between 1842 and 1843. This work,which revealed the secret life of misery of the population ofParis through a sequence of dramatic installments, wasoriginally the money-making project of the snobbish Eugene Sue,who has been described by some as a socialist dandy. 10 Accordingto the social historian, Louis Chevalier, the labouring classesidentified so much with the characters of this 'romanfeuilleton' that their reaction eventually influenced the authorto become a social crusader." This fact is actually evidence byhis subsequent publication of Les Mysteres du peuple in 1849which has definite revolutionary undertones.Apart from works of fiction, numerous other publicationsappeared during this period which attested to the generalpublic's interest in urban crime. Many of these were producedby social reformers, such as Louis Blanc, Moreau-Christophe and9Proudhon, whose intentions were mainly to investigate the socialproblem and come up with some form of solution. In 1840, theAcademie des sciences morales et politiques set up a contestwhereby 2,500 francs (originally 5,000 francs) were to beawarded to the most valuable study that could identify thoseelements of the urban population which most constituted a dangerto society. The winning entry was an essay by an unknownjournalist named Eugene Buret, and the importance of this essayentitled La Misere des classes laborieuses en France et enAngleterre (1840) lies in the fact that Buret identified miserymore as a state of mind brought about by urban dehumanization asopposed to simple poverty which did not necessarily induce astate of abject misery. 12 It would seem that this analysis didnot go unnoticed by Victor Hugo who started his epic tale of LesMiserables only five years later.Another possible source of the lively French interest incrime and punishment may well have been the intellectual climateof the age. This was the era of romanticism, with its stress onsensibility, the colourful and the bizarre. This period saw arevival of the gothic novel, the development of 'les contesfantastiques', often imitations of the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann,and many utopian-type literary contributions, as can be found inthe works of Pierre Leroux, Saint-Simon and even George Sand.There was also, of course, a strain of sheer morbid curiosity inthis literary interest in criminals and prisons which wasdemonstrated by the inordinate attention given by Parisian10society and some romantic writers to specific criminals, such asthe murderer poet, Lacenaire. According to the historian,Gordon Wright, a prominent member of society "went so far as toobtain the embalmed hand of the guillotined Lacenaire and todisplay it on a cushion in his drawing room." 13The purpose of this brief study will not be to concentrateon the morbidity of crime in the context of literature, but totrace the evolution of the theme of criminality in the work ofBalzac, Hugo and Zola. It would seem that these three novelistsin some way mirror the social realities and intellectualattitudes which underwent a parallel evolution as the NineteenthCentury progressed. Although this subject offers material of animmense scope, research will be restricted to three or fournovels for each author, even though additional reference mightbe made to their other works when appropriate. In the case ofBalzac, the three novels chosen are Le Pere Goriot, Illusions perdues, and Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, as it iswithin these works that the theme of criminality is mostdirectly addressed. For Victor Hugo, the focus will be placedupon Le dernier jour d'un condamne, Claude Gueux and, of course,Les Miserables. The choice of novels for Emile Zola may atpresent appear less apparent, but it seems that Therese Raquin,L'Assommoir, Germinal and La Bete humaine provide interestingexamples of the gradual shift in the concept of criminality intothat of degeneracy and social insurrection.11In addition, a brief character study will be provided ofthe notorious and somewhat infamous Eugene Frangois Vidocq, whorepresented a definite type of the Nineteenth Century Pariscriminal underworld, and who has often been identified as themodel for Balzac's Vautrin and Hugo's Valjean, as well asnumerous other less prominent characters in these novels. Forchronological reasons, this short chapter concerning Vidocq willprecede the main body of the thesis as it might assist in layingcertain foundations for at least some of the material that is tofollow. However, it should be stated that no in-depth study ofVidocq's dubious literary efforts has been undertaken, as theywere of questionable merit, although rich in pertinentinformation.12CHAPTER II EUGENE-FRANCOIS VIDOCOGeneral InformationNo literary study of the theme of criminality in NineteenthCentury France should ignore the existence and undeniablecontribution of Eugene-Francois Vidocq. Although Vidocq did infact publish several books and autobiographies relating to hisconsiderable criminal connections,' it is certainly not for hisliterary prowess that he has been remembered. He does, however,represent an important link between the criminal and judicialworlds of his time which he brought to the attention of hiscontemporaries through his publications and his highlycontroversial public image.This man of humble origins was born in Northern France in1775; after a tumultuous youth, he was condemned to prison andthen the galleys from where he escaped several times beforebecoming a police spy, and eventually founding in 1820 what isstill known today as La S0rete. In 1827, he resigned from theSdrete, and in 1828 he published his memoirs which were largelyghost-written and elaborated upon by two "reviseurs", Morice andL'Hêritier, at the instigation of Vidocq's editor, Tenon, whowanted to capitalize on the public's newly found interest incriminal literature.213Vidocq should not, however, be exonerated from a strongpersonal desire to "cash-in" on his experiences and to paint asomewhat glowing picture of his exploits. According to hisbiographers, he was genuinely well thought of by many reputablepeople who came into contact with him, but it is obvious fromhis writings that he needed very little persuasion to sing hisown praise. In his biography of Vidocq, Philip John Steadrefers to an episode when the advocate Charles Ledru took Vidocqto a famous phrenologist, Dr. Fossati, who felt his skull andstated:In the unknown person you have brought to me, thereare three very distinct persons: a lion, a diplomatand a sister of mercy.Upon later hearing this pronouncement quoted by Ledru, theinspector of prisons, Moreau-Christophe, who knew Vidocq well,felt that the phrenologist should also have included three othercharacters: "a fox, an ape and an old braggart.°It is perhaps due to Vidocq's strong tendency to brag thathe became so notorious and is acknowledged to have served as themodel for Balzac's Vautrin: the character who has been describedas "one of the more complex, more dynamic and varied" of LaComêdie humaine, as well as its "towering villain". 4 However, itis not only as the model for Vautrin that Vidocq was able toserve Balzac; he also provided in his numerous publicationsuseful information about the Paris criminal underworld which isamply reflected in the three Balzac novels being considered in14this study, most notably Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes.It should also be mentioned that Balzac was not the only writerof the time to be influenced by Vidocq. After the publicationof his memoirs, Vidocq was made the hero of several dramaticworks both in England and France, and he also featuredindirectly in the novels of such writers as Alexandre Dumas,Eugene Sue and Victor Hugo, to name but a few. It is oftenoverlooked that Vidocq's memoirs and subsequent activitiesfurnished Victor Hugo with the material for a great deal of theevents concerning the life of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. 5The Connection with Balzac Jean Savant opens his introduction to Les Vrais memoires deVidocq by stating:Evidemment, avoir servi de modele a Balzac, voila quisuffit a demeurer immortel. N'est pas Vautrin quiveut.... Et avoir inspire plusieurs chapitres dumassif chef-d'oeuvre qui s'intitule La Comedie humaine, c'est déjà un titre de gloire. 6Such a strong statement from the man who is acknowledged to havedone the pioneer work on Vidocq's biography seems to justify atleast a modicum of exploration into the Vidocq/Balzacconnection.It is an historical fact that Balzac was personallyacquainted with Vidocq and that they dined together severaltimes. On one particular occasion, they were both guests of the15philanthropist courtier, Benjamin Appert, who had invited thefamous public executioner, Sanson, to join the party. Itappears that the conversation between the dour Sanson and theslightly disrespectful Vidocq provided Balzac with much usefulmaterial for his work.' Apart from their occasional meetings andVidocq's publications, with which Balzac was undoubtedlyfamiliar, it appears that they also shared a mutual acquaintancein the person of a retired judge, Gabriel de Berny, who alsohappened to be the aged husband of Balzac's first mistress. 8The influence of Vidocq can be felt in many of Balzac'sworks, including the play entitled Vautrin, which was banned byLouis-Philippe because the actor playing the title role,Frederick Lemaitre, combed his hair "a la Vidocq", whichapparently resembled the coiffure of the king, who resentedbeing likened to "un ancien bagnard". 9 Apart from theseanecdotal facts, it appears that this play possessed very fewredeeming features, but the same cannot be said of Balzac'snovels in which the shadow of Vidocq can most definitely befelt. Jacques Collin, alias Vautrin (and several others), evenbears Vidocq's physical characteristics, including his immensestrength which Balzac meticulously describes as follows in LePere Goriot:Il avait les epaules larges, le buste bien developpe,les muscles apparents, des mains epaisses, carrees etfortement marquees aux phalanges par des bouquets depoils touffus et d'un roux ardent.rn16Anyone who has seen a portrait of Vidocq would not fail torecognize the resemblance (see Appendix A). Many othercharacters in Balzac's novels, such as the police spy, Corentinin Splendeurs et mis&res des courtisanes, and Bibi-Lupin, the"chef de la Silrete" in both these novels, are either based uponVidocq himself or individuals described by Vidocq, such as theex-convict and police agent, Coco-Lacour, who was his real-liferival, traitor and successor.In addition to the balzacien characters for whom Vidocqactually provided the model or the description, many factsassociated with the criminal justice system and the criminalunderworld, "les bas fonds de la haute p&gre", were alsoobtained directly or indirectly from Vidocq. Striking examplesof this can be found in "La derniere incarnation de Vautrin"which comprises the last part of Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes. For instance, in a conversation between twoconvicts concerning the different gastronomic conditions in thethree respective French "bagnes", Balzac has borrowed Vidocq'swords almost verbatim. Balzac writes:Mon fiston, reprit Fil-de-Soie, a Brest on est stir detrouver des gourganes a la troisieme cuiller6e, enpuisant au baguet; a Toulon vous n'en avez qu'a lacinquieme; et a Rochefort, on n'en attrape jamais, amoins d'être un ancien.1117Vidocq's original version in his memoirs, which also happens tobe part of a conversation between an uninitiated first offenderand an experienced "cheval de retour" reads as follows:D'abord vous serez nourri, et bien nourri. Car aubagne de Brest, it ne faut que deux heures pourtrouver une gourgane dans la soupe, tandis qu'il fauthuit jours a Toulon. °Balzac's in-depth knowledge of criminal justice terminologywas no doubt acquired through his earlier experience as a legalclerk, but it is also quite likely that Vidocq offered his owncontributions. Vidocq undoubtedly provided assistance with the"argot" spoken by the criminals in this last section ofSplendeurs et misares des courtisanes where Balzac seems to takegreat delight in giving the reader a blow-by-blow translation ofnumerous colourful terms. ° It also seems likely that Balzacadopted some of Vidocq's opinions about the criminalpersonality, as his personal experience would not normallyqualify him to make such sweeping statements as:Il est necessaire de faire observer ici que lesassassins, les voleurs, que tous ceux qui peuplent lesbagnes ne sont pas aussi redoutables qu'on le croit. 14Balzac was in no position to be such an authority on thesubject, but Vidocq was certainly never reticent about assertinghis "superior" knowledge which he no doubt shared with thenovelist.18The Connection with Victor Hugo Unlike Balzac, Victor Hugo never acknowledged Vidocq'sinfluence in his work, nor did he advertise the part played byVidocq in discreetly concealing certain embarrassing situationswhich had resulted from Hugo's sometimes less than exemplarypersonal life. In La Vie aventureuse de Vidocq: le vrai Vidocq,Jean Savant brings to light two circumstances which broughtVictor Hugo into professional contact with Vidocq in 1833 andagain in 1845 when Vidocq was acting in his capacity as privatedetective. ° Savant implies that the first "rapprochement"between the two men had some bearing upon the writing of Claude Gueux, but this seems to be pure conjecture, and Vidocq's otherbiographer, Philip John Stead, makes absolutely no mention ofsuch a connection, nor for that matter has any other literaryreference been found to confirm Savant's suppositions.It is interesting to note that in actual fact Stead neveronce mentions Victor Hugo's name in his biography of Vidocq.However, it cannot be denied that the circumstances surroundingJean Valjean's activities reflect and sometimes mirror certainfacts associated with Vidocq. These include the method ofValjean's escapes, some of the people with whom he was incontact, such as Soeur Simplice, as well as some of the problemsfacing a released convict who was always obliged to carry anidentifying yellow passport. It is quite likely that Vidocqalso provided the physical model for Valjean. According to JeanSavant, the "sauvetage" of Fauchelevent by M. Madeleine19(Valjean), who was then Mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer, is directlybased upon a similar situation in Vidocq's life when he toopulled one of his ex-convict employees from under a heavy cart,and had him transported to a hospital where the man was treatedat Vidocq's expense. ° It is certainly true that Vidocq'sbusiness enterprise in Saint-Mande, where he operated a papermanufacturing plant staffed by otherwise unemployable ex-convicts, bears a marked similarity to the activities of thephilanthropist, pere Madeleine.On the other hand, Jean Savant vehemently denies anyconnection between Vidocq and the less than loveable Javert.Victor Hugo, however, actually makes mention of Vidocq whendescribing Javert, and refers to him as "un mouchard marmor6en,Brutus dans Vidocq"." Javert, the son of criminal parents, bornin a prison, shares with Vidocq unwelcome previous connectionswith the criminal world which both are anxious to repudiate byunswerving, albeit fanatical, adherence to law and order. It isdifficult to believe that Hugo did not have Vidocq in mind whenhe wrote of Javert:Il partageait pleinement l'opinion de ces espritsextremes qui attribuent a la loi humaine je ne saisquel pouvoir de faire, ou si l'on veut, de constaterdes demons, et qui mettent un Styx au bas de lasociete. °Evidence of Vidocq's rigidity with regard to his new-found andblind respect for the law can be felt throughout his memoirs and20is amply exemplified by such frequent statements as: "Je mer6solus a purger la soci6t6 d'un tel monstre" 19, and whenreferring to "criminal dens of iniquity", he states withcomplete complaisancy:Je n'y regardais pas de si pres. Quelque repugnanceque j'eusse pour ces lieux, je n'h6sitais pas a m'yrendre, a me familiariser avec les mis6rables qui lesfrequentaient, et dont ma mission m'oblicteait d'enpurger la soci6t6. 20 (my emphasis)Later in his epic novel, Victor Hugo gives a somewhatfarcical description of four specific criminals in the sectionof Les miserables entitled "Patron-Minette". This is perhapsone of the weaker sides of the novel which will be referred tolater in this study. Suffice it to say that this section wasundoubtedly based upon information found in Vidocq's memoirs,and once again Victor Hugo actually names Vidocq and Coco-Lacourin connection with these particularly unsavory and caricaturedindividuals:A eux, quatre, ces bandits formaient une sorte deProt6e, serpentant a travers la police et s'efforgantd'êchapper aux regards indiscrets de Vidocq parfois se simplifiant au point de ne plus 6tre qu'un,parfois se multipliant au point que Coco-Lacour lui-m6me les prenait pour une foule.2121Apart from Vidocq's indirect contribution to the theme ofcriminality in the literature of his century, he maintained acolourful, high profile for the remainder of his career. Afterresigning from the Sarete, he became involved in a variety ofactivities associated with the underworld which included runninga controversial private detective agency, lending money to highrisk debtors and, of course, publishing exciting if perhapshighly exaggerated accounts of the criminal world. At the ageof seventy in 1845, he decided to capitalize on his notorietyacross the channel by staging an exhibition in London in whichhe featured himself as the principal exhibit. His plans to opena detective agency in London did not, however, come to fruition,and in 1846 he returned to Paris where he lived in somewhatreduced but comfortable circumstances until his death in 1857.As Vidocq's literary works are not specifically beingexamined in this study, it would be inappropriate to elaborateupon him further at this point. However, additional referencemay be made to other aspects of his influence in the twofollowing chapters concerning the evolution of the theme ofcriminality from Balzac to Victor Hugo. It will be of interestto note that these two authors actually manipulated the factsconcerning Vidocq to reflect their respective ideologies whichcoincided with the evolution of social attitudes towards crimebetween approximately 1830 and 1862.22CHAPTER III HONORS de BALZACFelicien Marceau states in his introduction to a 1971edition of Le Pare Goriot: Pour quelqu'un qui n'a jamais lu une ligne de Balzac,it n'y a pas a hesiter: it faut commencer par Le PareGoriot et enchainer sur Illusions perdues etSplendeurs et misares des courtisanes. 1He then goes on to describe Le Pare Goriot as "un roman-carrefour" which is at the heart of the balzacien universe.There is no doubt that this novel provides an excellent startingpoint for the uninitiated reader to become acquainted with thecomplex network of characters which comprises La Comediehumaine. It is also true that the two subsequent novelsrecommended by Marceau guide the reader through a smooth pathfrom which he can comfortably branch out.For the purposes of this study, these three novels alsohappen to illustrate most obviously Balzac's approach to thetheme of criminality which reflects both the attitudes of histime as well as his own personal opinions.Like many early Nineteenth Century writers, such as EugeneSue, Balzac started his career by producing pulp novels underassumed names which pandered to the public's thirst for23titillating yet reassuring tales about extraordinatory criminalswho had nothing in common with the every-day man and who neverescaped justice in the end. These works of questionableliterary merit were socially expedient as they contributed tothe maintenance of social order while providing superficialentertainment. 2 These novels contrasted sharply with theadventurous tales of the Eighteenth Century which tended todepict outlaws as more fun-loving, generous characters who oftencaptured the hearts of the reader.In most cases, the newly established bourgeoisie of thepost-revolutionary period considered the previous attitude ofindulgence and even sympathy towards literary criminal heroes tobe socially dangerous, and it cannot be denied that Balzacshared their views. He was himself a bourgeois with upwardlymobile aspirations, and seemed to consider it his duty to upholdthe social values of a class which was increasingly threatenedby the potential revolutionary power of the masses.Although greed and ambition comprise an integral part of LaComêdie humaine, Baizac devotes very little attention to thecriminal activities of the lower classes, and concentratesalmost exclusively on the corruption of the establishment, where'legal' crimes are committed daily in the never ending quest forsuccess. In most cases, the populace is mentioned only when itcannot be avoided, and Balzac's coverage of the areas inhabitedby this section of society is aptly described by the socialhistorian, Louis Chevalier, when he writes:24Si les rues et les quartiers ouvriers sont mentionnesen ces recits, c'est que, dans cette vieille ville,ils se situent sur le 'parcours oblige des commergantspresses'. Pas plus que ses personnages, Balzac ne s'yattarde. 3Balzac's concentration on the extraordinary criminal whichmarked the earlier novels of his youth, such as Annette et leCriminel and Le Vicaire des Ardennes, is still to be found in LaComedie humaine where the theme of criminality reappears and isspecifically identified in the three novels mentioned byFelicien Marceau which are presently under consideration in thisstudy. It might also be worth noting that these three worksspan a period of thirteen years from the publication of Le PereGoriot in 1834 to that of "La derniere incarnation de Vautrin"(Part IV of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes) in 1847.They are also classified by Balzac into three separate sectionsof La Comedie humaine: Le Pere Goriot belonging to "scenes de lavie privee", Illusions perdues falling under "scenes de la viede province, and the four parts of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes comprising part of "scenes de la vie parisienne".All things considered, this classification appears to be mostappropriate as will be seen when these three novels are studiedin more detail. More attention will be paid to Le Pere Goriotand Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes as the topic ofcriminality is only vaguely suggested in Illusions perdues which25nevertheless provides the required transition between the othertwo novels.Ambivalence and AmbiguityBalzac's basically reactionary attitude towards thecriminal behaviour of the labouring classes was not without itscontradictions. On the one hand he adhered strongly to theclassical tradition founded entirely upon the notion of freewill, but he was also influenced by the neo-classical movementwhich advocated some consideration of extenuating circumstances . 4This latter school of thought, more in keeping with the views ofthe Romantic period rather than those of the Enlightenment,placed some emphasis upon the circumstances surrounding theactual criminal rather than concentrating exclusively upon thecrime. The neo-classical movement was responsible forintroducing a system of criminal records which were to assistthe judge in determining the moral character of the accusedbefore passing sentence. Balzac was well aware of this newsystem and admired its efficiency:Ce calpin universel, bilan des consciences, est aussibien tenu que lest celui de la Banque de France. 5It is amusing to note that he cannot resist making a comparisonwith the efficiency of a financial institution!This ambivalence between two schools of thought isparticularly noticeable in Balzac's development of the two maincharacters in Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, where the26reader is confronted with the self-willed Vautrin and the weakbut originally well-intentioned Lucien de Rubempre, who is ledinto criminality through vanity and lack of moral fibre. In LePere Goriot, the ambivalence is less obvious, but it is notentirely absent. Eugene de Rastignac cannot in any way beconsidered legally responsible for the death of VictorineTaillefer's brother, but neither could he be completelyexonerated from all guilt, as he was aware of Vautrin's plans ofstaging a duel and was not sufficiently motivated to stop it intime. It could be said that 'extenuating circumstances", i.e.the sedative that Vautrin slipped into his wine, made itimpossible for him to act. However, even prior to beingdrugged, he preferred to send old Goriot to warn Taillefer inorder not to miss his appointment with Delphine. Vautrin, onthe other hand, never fails in this novel to represent theprototype of the clear-cut criminal who fits tidily into theclassical concept, and who states quite categorically thatRastignac must choose between the mediocrity of the honest roadand the 'honour' acquired through crime, deviance andcorruption. According to him:Il n'y a pas de principes, it n'y a que descirconstances: l'homme superieur epouse les evenementset les circonstances pour les conduire. 6In other words, he is fully responsible for his actions andproud of his free-will.27It has already been mentioned that Balzac was alsoinfluenced by the positivist concept of criminality whichsubscribed to the theory of the 'born criminal' who could easilybe identified by certain physical features which reflected adegree of bestiality. It would seem that Balzac tended to applythis theory almost exclusively to the lower class criminal, asis evidenced by his description of the prisoners in "La derniereincarnation de Vautrin". Furthermore, he does not fail tomention in Le Pere Goriot that Vautrin was a hairy, robust manwho, when arrested, reacted like a wild cat:Le sang lui monta au visage, et ses yeux brillerentcomme ceux d'un chat sauvage. Ii bondit sur lui-memepar un mouvement empreint d'une si feroce energie, itrugit si bien qu'il arracha des cris de terreur a tousles pensionnaires. A ce geste de lion, et s'appuyantde la clameur generale, les agents tirerent leurspistolets. 7The animal-like features are not be found in Balzac'sdescriptions of his 'victims of circumstance' who fall intocrime almost without being aware of it, such as Lucien andEsther. Women, however, are not exempt from a tinge ofbestiality if they happen to belong to "les bas fonds" as can beseen in Balzac's description of Europe and particularly Asie whois ferocious, dark and ugly.Perhaps one of the most interesting contradictions inBalzac's attitude towards crime is the ambiguity he ascribes to28the role of the criminal justice system. On the one had headmires the machiavellian investigation methods of the policewho make use of questionable characters such as Peyrade,Contenson and Corentin and who eventually employ Vautrin, but healso criticizes the impotence of the courts about which hestates:Les parquets, les tribuneaux ne peuvent rien en faitde crimes, ils sont inventês pour les accepter toutfait... Le forgat devait toujours penser a savictime, et se venger alors que la justice ne songeaitplus ni a l'un ni a l'autre. 8In this particular instance, Balzac is actually referring to thefact that the criminal justice system may have the power topunish, but not the power to protect. He provides an excellentexample of this weakness in the system which accounts forEurope's symbiotic association with Paccard and Vautrin who aremore capable of protecting her from the vengeance of a convictindicted on her testimony. By the same token, he condemns alegal system which can allow an honest man like David Sechard tobe treated like a criminal when those who exploited him are freeto prosper. At the end of Illusions perdues, Jacques Collin(alias Carlos Herrera) takes full advantage of this injusticewhen he points out to Lucien:Il y a des gens sans instruction qui, presses par lebesoin, prennent une somme quelconque par violence, aautrui; on les nomme criminels et ils sont forces de29compter avec justice. Un pauvre homme de genie trouveun secret dont l'exploitation equivaut a un tresor,vous lui pretez trois mille francs , vous letourmentez de maniere a vous faire ceder tout oupartie du secret, vous ne comptez qu'avec votreconscience, et votre conscience ne vous mene pas encour d'assises. 9Balzac does, however, allow himself the pleasure of at leastsuggesting the possibility of a divine justice which can onoccasion intercede and punish those who have escaped judgment.The fate of Taillefer fils in Le Pere Goriot could perhaps beinterpreted as retribution for the murder his father committedand for which his friend was executed in one of Balzac's earliernovels entitled L'Auberqe rouge. 1° It should nevertheless beemphasized that no actual reference is ever made to the 'cosmicpuppeteer', and it is assumed that none is really intended.La haute pagre In spite of the contradictions identified in Balzac'sconception of criminality, it cannot be denied that he leanstowards the depiction of a criminal world which exists outsideof society and which is governed by its own code of laws. Thereis almost a type of elitism associated with certain criminalgroups such as "La Societe des Dix-Mille" of which Vautrinclaims to be a senior member and perhaps even their undisputedleader. However, according to Vidocq, this mysterious30association, which only accepted thieves who stole over tenthousand francs, was not based upon reality and existed only asa figment of the novelist's rich imagination. ° It would seemthat Balzac's acquaintance with the criminal underworld wasstill quite limited when he wrote Le Pere Goriot where hischaracter study of Vautrin is a great deal more psychologicalthan sociological and, therefore, belongs appropriately in "lesscenes de la vie privêe".Although Balzac's knowledge of the criminal world at thetime of Le Pere Goriot (1834) appears to be restricted to a fewwords of slang such as "Sorbonne" and "tronche" for which heproudly provides a colourful definition, 12 he becomesconsiderably more familiar with the mechanisms of the judicialsystem and the workings of the so-called 'criminal mind' by 1847when "La derniere incarnation de Vautrin" is finally publishedin La Presse. As a matter of interest, this last part was notincluded as the conclusion of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes until several years after Balzac's death, when thedefinitive edition of La Comedie humaine was compiled. 13It is probable that many factors prompted Balzac to turnhis attention to the criminal world during this interim periodwhich saw the publication of Eugene Sue's Les Mysteres de Paris around 1840, as well as an increasing public obsession withcrime, criminals and criminal conspiracies. This was a time oframpant paranoia experienced by Parisians of all classes, whencriminals were seen or imagined to be lurking behind every31corner. They were often fictionalized as semi-theatricalcharacters who could assume "a multitude of Protean guises inpursuit of that eminently Protean entity, money. 104 The myth ofthe Protean criminal who observed while remaining unobserved was"commonly amplified to produce the myth of the criminalconspiracy against society". 15 This is definitely evident inSplendeurs et misêres des courtisanes in which Balzac creates anetwork of criminals working together to prey upon society, andwho closely resemble the network of police spies who conspireagainst them on behalf of society. Balzac suggests this quitestrongly when he implies that individuals such as Esther, Lucienand even Nucingen are mercilessly manipulated by both of thesetwo groups after they have had the misfortunate of being caughtin the middle:Ainsi, tout en s'ignorant les uns les autres, JacquesCollin, Peyrade et Corentin se rapprochaient sans lesavoir; et la pauvre Esther, Nucingen, Lucien allaientnêcessairement dtre enveloppês dans la lutte déjàcommencee, et que l'amour-propre particulier aux gensde police devait rendre terrible. 16The model provided by Vidocq in his life and his Memoires probably contributed significantly to Balzac's promulgation ofa conspiracy of "la haute pegre". The success of Les Myst6res de Paris also played its part, in so far as Balzac could notresist emulating and surpassing the work of a less talented3 2rival, and he even admits in a letter to Madame Hanska that inwriting the last part of Splendeurs et miseres: "je fais del'Eugene Sue tout pur". 17 However, in spite of these obviousinfluences, Balzac was never the man to concentrateintentionally on what he considered to be mediocrity, and it cantherefore be assumed with a reasonable degree of safety thatBalzac intended to paint a picture of exciting criminalconspiracy which to him was far more interesting than the boringreality of the common criminal.Criminal Profiles Although Victor Hugo easily rivals Balzac with his succinctdefinitions of criminal slang, his criminal profiles pale incomparison with those provided by the author of La Comediehumaine. In Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, Balzacmanages to bring to life a multitude of colourful characters whoare fascinatingly evil and yet remain sufficiently associatedwith the human race to maintain their credibility. It has beennoted above that these criminal-type personalities are equallyrepresented on both sides of the law, and the complexity oftheir nature is well worth a brief examination before proceedingto a more in-depth study of Balzac's 'piece de resistance" whois, of course, Vautrin.Apart from Vautrin, the only other character directlyassociated with the criminal justice system in Le Pere Goriot isthe police inspector Gondureau. It has been said that he, more33than Vautrin, is based upon the legendary Vidocq, and Pierre-Georges Castex even points out in his introduction to the novelthat in the original manuscript Mlle. Michonneau "alla trouverVidocq, le fameux chef de la police de sit-et -6". 18 It has alreadybeen stated in the previous chapter that Balzac borrowed fromVidocq to create many of his criminal characters, but it willlater be seen that Vautrin also differed a great deal from hisacknowledged model, in as much as he represented revolt whereasVidocq easily complied with social authority.Although the other characters in Le Pere Goriot cannot bedescribed as overtly criminal, many can be classified as the'legal criminals' so often found in Balzac's novels, and some,such as Nucingen, actually show marked criminal tendencies.Mlle Michonneau also provides an excellent example of a personwho could easily be persuaded to deviate from 'the path ofrighteousness' given sufficient financial encouragement:Puis le sobriquet de Venus du Pere-La-Chaise decidamademoiselle Michonneau a livrer le forcat au momentoil, confiante en la generosite de Collin, ellecalculait s'il ne valait pas mieux le prevenir et lefaire evader pendant la nuit. 19Illusions perdues offers numerous examples of similarlyquestionable characters, such as the corrupt lawyer Petit-Claud,the money lender Metrivier, the treacherous Cerizet and, ofcourse, the infamous Cointet brothers who 'legally' swindle thenaive David Sechard out of his secret. However, we have to wait34for Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes to encounter Balzac'smore poignant criminal profiles. It is only in this novel thatthe ambitious second-rate poet, Lucien Chardon, blossoms intoVautrin's parvenu accomplice now known as Lucien de Rubempre.This does not mean to say that he becomes any more interesting;in fact Lucien never really stands out as one of Balzac's greatcreations. He shares with Esther a certain lack of depth whichdeprives them both of any real credibility. This isparticularly true of Esther, who was originally scheduled to beLa Torpille and whose identity seems to fluctuate rather toodramatically from virtue to vice without sufficientjustification.It would seem that, in the case of Splendeurs et miseres,Balzac concentrated his artistic energies on creating excellentsecondary characters such as Asie, Europe, Paccard and, ofcourse, the three police spies Corentin, Peyrade and Contenson.Of these three, perhaps Peyrade stands out as the most human dueto his fondness for his daughter, however, Contenson'spropensity for dissipation also serves to lend credibility tothe fact that such a man is unlikely to aspire to a positionmore elevated than police spy. It is interesting to note thatthe only one who remains alive to eventually defy Vautrin is theleast vulnerable Corentin whom Nucingen saw more as "undirecteur d'espionnage qu'un espion". MAmong the real criminals, Asie, aka Jacqueline Collin,actually rivals Vautrin for strength and ingenuity, but this is35perhaps not surprising as she turns out to be his aunt.Balzac's description of "la marchande a la toilette" is bothvivid and convincing. 21 Asie possesses many of the same skillsas Vautrin in the field of disguise and subterfuge and is by farone of the most interesting characters in this novel. She does,however, belong entirely with her nephew in the classical free-will classification of criminal profiles, which is not entirelythe case for her cohorts Europe and Paccard who tend to cleavetogether for protection.These two characters fit more tidily into the neo-classicalmodel which allows for some degree of consideration forextenuating circumstances. Paccard is described by Corentin as"un grand drOle de Piemontais qui aime le vermouth" ,22 and his"friend", Europe, is presented with at least a modicum ofindulgence for her criminal behaviour. Europe, whose real nameis Prudence Servien, is definitely depicted as one of society'svictims who never stood a chance in the new ruthless industrialera:Née a Valenciennes et fille de tisserands trespauvres, Europe fut envoy6e a sept ans dans unefilature oil l'industrie moderne avait abuse de sesforces physiques, de mdme que le Vice l'avait depravdeavant le temps. Corrompue a douze ans, mere a treizeans, elle se vit attachee a des etres profondementdegrades. 2336It is worthy of note that Europe is in some ways an exceptionalcharacter, because she is one of the few of her class to whomBalzac devotes a certain amount of attention and even extendssome degree of pity. Although she is far less prominent thanEsther, she is more credible, as she is not inflicted withEsther's unrealistic fluctuations in attitude and behaviour.The remaining more secondary criminal characters tend tofall reasonably squarely into the Lombrosian category of borncriminals who can usually be easily identified by their lack ofintelligence and their bestial physical appearance. Among thisgroup are most of the convicts in La Conciergerie, such as LaPouraille, Fil-de-Soie and Le Biffon who are all too easilymanipulated by Vautrin's overwhelmingly superior intellect.Only Vautrin's "ancien camarade de chaine", Theodore Calvi, ispermitted to rise a little above the others in order to justifythe favour and protection afforded him by the man who isundeniably one of Balzac's greatest creations.Vautrin This complex and controversial character has been thesubject of innumerable studies, and yet Balzac's real positionvis-a-vis Vautrin does not appear to have ever beensatisfactorily established. It would seem that there is adefinite evolution within the personality of Vautrin from hisinitial entrance on the scene in la pension Vauquer to his last'incarnation' in l'hOtel Serizy. He is originally described in37Le Pare Goriot as a rather vulgar court jester 24 with taintedpaternal tendencies which in some ways rival Goriot's twistedand almost perverted paternal feelings. 25 It has been arguedthat Balzac's moral ambivalence, which can be found throughoutLa Comedie humaine, is personified in the character of Vautrinwho epitomizes evil while often speaking the truth. Balzac'sintroduction of Vautrin is in itself paradoxical; on the onehand he is "un fameux gaillard" whose deep jovial voice was inharmony with his pleasing gaiety, yet in the same descriptiveparagraph he also makes the menacing statement:Sa figure, rayee par des rides prematurees, offraitdes signes de durete que dementaient ses manieressouples et liantes. 26In case this is not enough to put the reader on guard, Balzaccontinues his warning by unequivocably adding:Il avait prete plusieurs fois de l'argent a MadameVauquer et a quelques pensionnaires; mais ses obligesseraient morts plutOt que de ne pas le lui rendre,tant, malgre son air bonhomme, it imprimait de craintepar un certain regard profond et plein de resolution. 27As the novel progresses, however, Vautrin also reveals a side ofhis nature which has been developed as a result of his revoltagainst a corrupt society, and this becomes particularlyapparent during his tete-a-tate with Rastigac, when hedefinitely voices the author's personal disillusionment.38It is through Vautrin that the views of the implicitnarrator are transmitted, and for this reason he is endowed withoverwhelming personal magnitude with which he is able to reducethose around him to mere puppets. Rastignac's attitude towardVautrin confirms Balzac's ambivalence when he reflects aftertheir long conversation, or more precisely after Vautrin's longmonlogue:En deux mots, ce brigand m'a dit plus de choses sur lavertu que ne m'en ont dit les hommes et les livres. 28As will be later seen in Splendeurs et miseres, Vautrin is tohave a lasting impact upon Rastignac who still fears his powerwhen again confronted by Jacques Collin at the masked ball:Rastignac eut le vertige comme un homme endormi dansune foret, et qui se reveille a cote d'une lionneaffamee. Il eut peur, mais sans temoins: les hommesles plus courageux s'abandonnent alors a la peur. 29This malignant power, coupled with superior intelligence, isnever more evident than during Vautrin's arrest, when Balzacendows him with unassailable dignity, and allows this brandedoutcast to challenge the corrupt society of his time in termswhich defy any possible misinterpretation:Nous avons moins d'infamie sur l'epaule que vous n'enavez dans le coeur, membres flasques d'une sociétegangrenee: le meilleur d'entre vous ne me resistaitpas."39Those present during the arrest remain under Vautrin's spellafter he is taken away and, like a Greek chorus, theycollectively cast out Mlle. Michonneau who was responsible fordenouncing him.Although Carlos Herrera still possesses strong predatorytendencies when Vautrin reappears at the end of Illusionsperdues, he never quite recaptures the dynamism he so obviouslyexudes in Le Pere Goriot. Herrera is able to seduce Lucien deRubemprê with very little difficulty:La corruption tentee par ce diplomate sur Lucienentrait profondement dans cette &me dispos6e a larecevoir. mUnfortunately, it soon becomes evident that this hithertounshakeable force is in fact equally seduced by Lucien whoseirresistibility is not always apparent!The Jacques Collin of Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes is a more overtly vicious character than the Vautrin of Le PereGoriot, in as much as he is actually seen to kill, swindle andprocure quite deliberately and without any sign of mercy orremorse, whereas his crimes are not specified in the earliernovel. This viciousness is in some ways emphasized by theemotional vulnerability inspired by Lucien, i.e. he is willingto sacrifice everyone at the altar of the man who has become hisreason for living, in fact his other self.It has been argued that Vautrin undergoes a metamorphosisfrom an essentially masculine to a feminine personality. This40argument has been succinctly presented in an article by MartherNiess Moss who states that Balzac has motivated the actions ofhis characters by deliberately polarizing masculine and femininepsycholgical traits. According to her:Masculinity is characterised repeatedly in terms ofintelligence, cunning, strength , will and energy,while femininity is defined in terms of sensibility,sensitivity, weakness, frailty and passivity."If one is to accept this interpretation, then it would seem thatVautrin's personality does in fact evolve from essentialmasculinity to feminine sensibility and weakness. With theexception of perhaps one early moment of wishful thinking inwhich Vautrin looks at the sleeping Rastignac and says: "Sij'êtais femme, je voudrais mourir (non, pas si bête) vivre pourlui", 33 it is difficult to recognize the towering colossus of LePere Goriot in the broken, bereaved man who cannot bring himselfto part with Lucien's dead body in Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes. However, life is suddenly rekindled in thisextraordinatory criminal who miraculously overcomes excruciatinggrief to once again throw the gauntlet in the face of society byoffering to play by its own rules. He does in fact undergo areincarnation which is a little difficult to accept as theProcureur Gênêral, M. de Grandville, grants him his every wish,including the commuted sentence of Theodore Calvi, his previouschain companion and lover.41Like Vidocq, Vautrin succumbs to the power of authority andbecomes a part of it, but Balzac does not permit him to becomepart of mundane humanity. He is quickly and unrealisticallyextricated from his brief moment of weakness to emerge everfascinating and triumphant when he finally reflects to himself:Its me croient, ils ob6issent a mes revelations, etils me laisseront a ma place. Je regnerai toujourssur ce monde, qui, depuis vingt-cinq ans, m'obeit.... mInspite of Balzac's adherence to realism, he seems to haveallowed Vautrin to carry him squarely into the realm ofromanticism for which he severly criticized others. The realromantic approach to criminality within society will, however,he explored in greater detail in the next chapter devoted toVictor Hugo. Balzac's ambivalence regarding Vautrin only servesto emphasize the ambiguity of his social position which promptedhim to uphold society's values while secretly resenting and evencondemning them.42CHAPTER IVVICTOR HUGOWhile Balzac essentially viewed criminality as aunidimensional phenomenon whereby only the illegal activities ofan individual are judged criminal, Hugo sought to enlarge theconcept of criminality to encompass not only the individuallawbreaker, but also society as a whole which collectivelyperpetrates crimes against individuals. Having made thisstatement, it might be appropriate to emphasize that Hugo placedsignificantly more criminal responsibility upon the state andwent so far as to proclaim himself "l'avocat des miserables" and"l'accusateur public du crime universel". 1Born into an ultra-royalist family, Hugo initially upheldthe values of his mother who strongly supported the return ofthe Bourbons in 1815. However, he was soon to develop a socialconscience after witnessing the branding of a young woman in1818 and the execution of Jean Martin in 1825. 2 Although Hugowrote Le dernier jour d'un condamne in 1829, it is stillspeculated as to whether or not he originally intended this workto be purely an artistic project, as it has been argued that:L'angoisse prolongee du Condamne revele plus du soucid'obtenir des effets litteraires et artistiques que detraduire les reelles preoccupations penales del'auteur.343Be this as it may, Hugo himself makes his intentions quite clearthree weeks after the original publication by adding a shortpreface in the form of a one act play, Une Comadie a proposd'une tragedie, in which he venomously pokes fun at the rulingclass who do not wish to be reminded of the unpleasant realitiesfor which he holds them responsible:Affreux - On atait tranquille, on ne pensait a rien.Il se coupait bien de temps en temps en France unetate par-ci par-la, deux tout au plus par semaine.Tout cela sans bruit, sans scandale. Its ne disaientrien. Personne n'y songeait. Pas du tout, voila unlivre... - un livre qui vous donne un mal de tatehorrible! 4The poetic style identified in Le dernier jour d'uncondamna could easily be attributed to Hugo's natural literaryaptitude and his strong leaning towards romantic sensibility.Anyone familiar with the preface Hugo added three years later in1832 would be hard pressed not to recognize an undisguised andsomewhat clumsy plea for the abolition of the death penalty. Itis quite obvious that Hugo was making no pretence of realismwhen he described a man with his head half cut off standing upand pleading for mercy!Le suppliciê, se voyant seul sur l'achafaud, s'etaitredressa sur la planche, et la, debout, effroyable,ruisselant de sang, soutenant sa tate a demi coupee44qui pendait sur son epaule, it demandait avec defaibles cris qu'on vint le detacher. 5This heart-rending account could only have been intended toappeal to the reader's sentiment, and Hugo actually stateswithin the preface: "Nous preferons souvent les raisons dusentiment aux raisons de la raison."This preface was written after the July 1830 three-dayrebellion which toppled the Bourbon regime and placed the well-intentioned Orleanist, Louis-Philippe, upon the throne. Thisking was soon to prove a disappointment to the liberalintelligentsia to which Hugo belonged. However, the JulyRevolution was nevertheless crucial to a major reorientation ofRomantic sensibility during the first half of the 1830's, whenthe most influential French Romantics began to consider socialaction no less important than individual expression.' It isaround this period that Hugo's political ideology started tobecome more in line with his literary ideas which alreadyreflected romantic revolutionary tendancies. 8Conflicting Ideologies After 1830, Hugo starts to move increasingly towardssocialist ideals, but he does not fully embrace revolution untilLouis-Napoleon's coup d'Etat in 1851, when Hugo is forced intoexile for a period of nineteen years. It is largely while inexile that Hugo wrote Les Miserables, but it is during theinterim period between 1830 and 1851 that much of the45preparation for this mammoth work took place. The problems ofsociety and its organisation were critical to him in the early1830's, and he was greatly influenced by social thinkers such asPierre Leroux, a follower of Claude-Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), and Charles Fourier (1772-1837) whose plans for a betterworld "demonstrate the interaction between individual feelingand collective responsibility typical of French Romanticism inthe 1830's". 9This particular interaction can easily be identified inClaude Gueux (1834) where the poet tries somewhat unsuccessfullyto reconcile justice and class. In this short story, looselybased upon fact, Hugo places his belief in the sanctity of humanlife in direct conflict with human justice. He allows ClaudeGueux to hack a man to death with his blessing after receivingthe consent of his fellow prisoners. It would seem that in thisinstance, Hugo squarely sacrifices one of his most deeply feltideals for the sake of another, and one is tempted to concludethat this is the direct result of the poet's newly foundpolitical and social orientation.Although such a flagrant conflict is not to be repeated inHugo's works, other less glaring contrasts in the poet'sideologies can often be identified. When he is obliged tochoose between his philosophical doctrines and his politicalpassions, his passions usually prove to be the stronger. He hasgreat difficulty reconciling his pacifism with his patriotism,as is evidenced by his reticence to condemn the revolutionary46violence of 1793 or the wars of the glorious Napoleonic era. l°He raises the insurgents of the 1832 revolt to the level ofdemi-gods, and yet he refuses to allow Jean Valjean to takeJavert's life at a time when it could almost have beenconsidered an appropriate action. Jean Valjean's clemency onthis occasion can be seen to be in marked contrast with theviolence of Claude Gueux, when one considers that both men hadbeen equally provoked.Hugo also demonstrates certain contradictions in hispolitical beliefs regarding property. Although he openlycondemns the bourgeoisie for their tyrannical selfishness andchallenges society to improve the appalling living conditionswhich lead the working class into a life of crime, he neveradvocates communism. His ideal seems to be a benevolentcapitalism which is exemplified by the general prosperity ofMontreuil-sur-Mer under the altruistic guidance of MonsieurMadeleine. Hugo appears to be in favour of a greater sharing ofproperty, but offers no solution to social inequality whichwould remain in an attenuated form. In his book Le Crime et lapeine dans l'oeuvre de Victor Hugo, Paul Savey-Casard statesappropriately:La pens6e du poête est moins nette en matiered'organisation du travail qu'en matiere d'assistance."When it comes to assistance, the poet strongly advocated stateintervention, but in the case of punishment he quickly changedhis mind. For instance, Hugo firmly believed that, for the most47part, magistrates allowed themselves to be governed by theletter of the law and did not pay sufficient attention toextenuating circumstances when passing judgment. This opinionis amply expressed by the five year sentence inflicted upon JeanValjean for the theft of a loaf of bread.Although it could not really be argued that Victor Hugoever seriously questioned the power of divine right, hesometimes wavered in his optimism regarding the people's naturalright to govern themselves. He shared with his enlightenedcontemporaries the theoretical belief that universal suffragewas the instrument of political progress, but he was not alwaysconfident that all levels of society possessed the requiredmoral fibre to make what he considered to be the correctpolitical decisions. He was bitterly disappointed in thepeople's choice to abdicate their own power in 1851, and feltcompelled to advocate certain limitations to their politicalfreedom.' 2 He believed that social reform could only be achievedthrough moral reform, but in spite of his faith in the intrinsicgoodness of man, be could not deny that certain individualsappear at least to be beyond redemption. He actually devotes awhole book in Les Miserables to "Le mauvais pauvre" who is, ofcourse, epitomized by Thênardier and described in the followingterms:Lavater, s'il ellt considOrê ce visage, y eft trouve levautour mdle au procureur; l'oiseau de proie etl'homme de chicane s'enlaidissant et se complêtant48l'un par l'autre, l'homme de chicane faisant l'oiseaude proie ignoble, l'oiseau de proie faisant l'oiseaude chicane horrible."Les bas-fonds Whereas Balzac sought to observe as well as aspire toupward social mobility in spite of all its ignominy, Hugo whobelonged to the establishment, plunged into the depths andbrought to life hell on earth in the form of misery and socialinjustice. It has been established that the poet was greatlyinfluenced by Dante's Divine Comedy, and in writing about LesMiserables to a friend from his exile in Brussels in 1861, heactually states: "Dante a fait un Enfer avec de la poesie, moij'ai essaye d'en faire un avec la realite. um In the famouschapter entitled "La Cadene", Hugo describes seven cartstransporting the prisoners to Toulon, and it has been arguedthat he erroneously meant to evoke the seven circles of hell inDante's poem when in actual fact there were nine." The chapterentitled "Le bas-fond" provides a vivid picture of living helland opens with a direct reference to one of Dante's characters:LA le desinteressement s'evanouit. Le demon s'ebauchevaguement; chacun pour soi, Le moi sans yeux hurle,cherche, tätonne et ronge. L'Ugolin social est dansce gouffre."The "entities" which appear in this chapter cannot be consideredhuman, and have been debased beyond recognition to lend more49weight to Hugo's condemnation of poverty and ignorance imposedupon the victims of society. These human larvae are depictedwith such horror that the reader cannot fail to feel revulsion,and at least some degree of fear for the consequences of socialapathy.Unfortunately, this powerful effect is somewhat diffused bythe following chapter which introduces the four leading membersof the criminal gang "Patron-Minette" in such a way as to reducethem to ridiculous caricatures. Although Hugo violently opposeddeterminist theories introduced by such thinkers as HippolyteTaine (1828-1893), 17 he shows some signs of adhering to theconcept of the 'born criminal' put forward by the Lombrosianschool when he attributes a number of brutish physicalcharacteristics to the thug, Gueulemer:Front bas, tempes larges, moins de quarante ans et lapatte d'oie, le poil rude et court, la joue en brosse,une barbe sangliere; on voit d'ici l'homme.^Sesmuscles sollicitaient le travail, sa stupiditê n'envoulait pas. C'etait une grosse force paresseuse."The theme of inherent laziness will be explored more deeply withZola, but Hugo addressed the subject in the encounter betweenJean Valjean and the younger member of Patron-Minette,Montparnasse. After Montparnasse has unsuccessfully attemptedto rob Valjean, he is treated to a lecture on the consequencesof laziness which will lead him to perpetual suffering at the50hands of the criminal justice system. Some of this anticipatedmisery is described in the following terms:Et alors to passeras des annees dans une basse-fosse,scellê a une muraille, tatonnant pour boire a tocruche, mordant dans un affreux pain de ténèbres dontles chiens ne voudraient pas, mangeant des faves queles vers auront mangáes avant toi. 19Such cruel and undue punishment might perhaps be deserved inthis particular case, but in many instances human suffering anddegradation are portrayed in such a way as to inspire pity andindignation in the most hardened reader. The departure of "lachaine" from Bicdtre in Le dernier jour d'un condamne and theconditions of the galley slaves kept for months in the Chateletprison under the Seine during the Seventeenth Centure are twoexamples of Hugo's deliberate delving into the mire to capturethe emotions of the public.The poet constantly makes effective use of the contrastbetween light and dark to symbolize the freedom of the sky andthe oppression of the earth. A progression from sunlight todarkness can be detected in Le dernier jour d'un condamne as thecondemned man gradually moves away from any glimmer of hopetowards the perpetual darkness of death. 22 However, the contrastis far more prevalent in Les Misêrables, where the concept ofdarkness and light symbolizing depth and height are evenconveyed in the titles of the chapters such as "Pleine lumiere"51and "Choses de la nuit"; both chapters contained in Part IV,Book VIII entitled "Les enchantements et les desolations".It is not by chance that Jean Valjean drags Marius throughthe subterranean tunnels of the Paris sewers only to eventuallyemerge into the light. This symbolic journey is contained inPart V, Book III entitled "La boue, mais lame", and the Bookdescribing Jean Valjean's final hours is called "Supreme ombre,supeme aurore" which in some way summarises his life. It couldbe argued that these constant juxtapositions between high andlow, and light and dark, although well intentioned andcharacteristic of the romantic mind, have in fact resulted in anover simplification of the social evils which Hugo wished toexpose and remedy. In an article published in 1985, AugusteDezalay draws some 'enlightening' comparisons between Hugo'sfigurative treatment of extremes and Zola's more concreteinterpretation of subterranean life in Germinal. He does,however, convincingly argue that Hugo's overpowering manichaeismdid in fact have some influence upon the socialist views sovehemently expressed in Germinal which will be further exploredin the next chapter. 23Criminal Profiles In the novels of his youth, Victor Hugo created his shareof extraordinary criminals, such as the bestial monster Hand'Islande, and in Notre Dame de Paris the sometimes demonicClaude Frollo who is somewhat reminiscent of Matthew Lewis' The52Monk. However, as Hugo became increasingly involved in socialreform, his criminals can more easily be identified with therest of humanity, even if they in fact often differ fromreality. Generally, he tended to lean towards describingoccasional delinquents who were driven to crime through hungerand despair. Claude Gueux, le Friauche in Le dernier jour d'uncondamnê, and Jean Valjean belong to this category, and allthree were unduly victimised by the harshness of the criminaljustice system.It has already been seen that Hugo did not realisticallybring to life any really hardened criminals, with the notableexception of Thênardier to whom he gave no quarter. Thisconsummate evildoer possesses no redeeming qualities and can beseen to epitomize the squallor of the criminal world which hasnothing exciting to offer. It is nevertheless interesting tonote that he and his equally ugly wife defy all the theories ofhereditary degeneracy so dear to Zola by producing basicallyuntainted children of a completely different stamp. 24 Gavrocheis one of them and so is Eponine. So are those two littleinnocent boys left adrift in Paris and momentarily taken in byGavroche who gallantly offers them the hospitality of hiselephant on the site of the old Bastille.Gavroche, whose name has become synonymous with streeturchin, is a delightful character, but apart from breaking a fewstreet lamps, he bears very little resemblance to what isgeneraly known about the criminal behaviour of abandoned53vagrants. Charles Dickens' Artful Dodger, though stillromanticised, is closer to reality in as much as he is actuallya pick-pocket who actively recruits prospective young thievesfor Fagan. Eponine, on the other hand, possesses a certainbasic humanity which is far more convincing and endearing thanHugo's portrayal of the 'virtuous Fantine'. This idealized andangelic young woman described as "un de ces dtres qui sont toutensemble faibles et horribles et qui font fremir ceux qu'ils nefont pas pleurer" 25 is still endowed with a certain amount ofchildish vanity which prompts her to brag about her ability toread in an attempt to impress Marius.Neither Fantine nor Cosette warrant any particularattention, but both women offer typical examples of the sociallydesirable Nineteenth Century female while serving mainly ascatalysts for the development of the plot. Cosette as a childis a mere Cinderella figure, and as an adult she does verylittle to further our modern day expectations of femininefulfillment. Fantine, although cast in the role of a femalecriminal, i.e., prostitute, never remotely resembles the realityof her station and merely represents the Victorian idealizedimage of the 'fallen woman' who remains intrinsically pure. Thefact is that very few truly criminal types emerge from any ofthe three works under consideration. The condemned man in Ledernier jour d'un condamne does not even make any pretence ofbelonging to a criminal world, as the exact nature of his crimeis never divulged. Claude Gueux is introduced as "un pauvre54ouvrier" with "une belle tdte" 26 who is befriended by an almostaltruistic fellow prisoner, Albin, who offers to alleviateClaude's hunger by sharing his food. Although such cases ofunselfish bonding may occasionally exist within the prisoncommunity, they would certainly not constitute the rule andwould never be considered representative of prison interaction.By contrast, Hugo paints a far more convincing picture ofthe effects of prison life in Les Misêrables, when he poeticallydescribes Jean Valjean's descent into a state of instinctualbehaviour where only the occasional glimmer of humanity stillremained:Jean Valjean êtait dans les tênêbres... Il vivaithabituellement dans cette ombre, tatonnant comme unaveugle... Seulement, par intervalles, it lui venaittout a coup, de lui-mdme et du dehors, une secousse decolare, un surcroit de souffrance, un pale et rapideéclair qui illuminait toute son ame, et faisaitbrusquement apparaitre partout autour de lui... leshideux prêcipices et les sombres perspectives de sadestinee. 27In spite of the fact that Hugo gradually raises Jean Valjean tonothing less than saintliness by making him successfully endureinnumerable trials and tribulations sent to test his moralintegrity, he is nevertheless depicted as a potentiallydangerous character when first released from his nineteen yearsof confinement. This is not to say that Valjean was originally55dangerous when he was sentenced to five years in the galleys forstealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving children.The only time Valjean was ever a real threat to society wasafter society had made him so, and he would definitely haveremained a significant threat if he had not encountered BishopMyriel who quite literally redeemed his soul with two silvercandlesticks, but not before Valjean had relieved him of hissilverware. With the exception of the Petit Gervais episode,necessary for the development of the plot by making Valjean arecidivist and therefore eligible for recapture, Valjeanundergoes an idealistic faith conversion and soon becomes theunrealistic epitome of goodness and self-sacrifice.This romanticized image of the criminal as saint, thoughfar removed from human reality, does nevertheless convey thesocial reality that "no Christian world forgives anyone, noteven this man for whom there is nothing to forgive". 28 In anessay concerning the "essential innocence" of the so-called"criminal" Jean Valjean, a sociologist, Edward Sagarin,accurately points out that the case of Jean Valjean emphasizesstill today the unfortunate truth that in this world "there areonly 'les condamnês'; there are none who can be called 'lesanciens condamnês', although they might be called 'les anciensprisonniers'." 29A character who has yet to be mentioned and who woulddefinitely agree with this last statement is Valjean's nemesis,the immovable Inspector Javert. This much maligned police56officer has been the subject of considerable debate. It hasbeen previously mentioned that Jean Savant vehemently denied anyresemblance to Vidocq, and it has also been argued that someresemblance was in fact intended (see page 19). Although Javertcould never be considered a likeable character, it could beargued that he too is a victim of society's intransigence.Throughout the interminable manhunt, Javert remains lockedwithin his own self-loathing for the degrading circumstances inwhich providence saw fit to have him born. Born in a prison ofa prostitute mother and galley slave father, Javert, likeValjean, is equally branded with the stamp of outcast which henever ceases to repudiate. He refuses to contemplate anydeviation from the rules laid down by the authorities to whichhe is subservient, and he does not dare ever question therighteousness of the path he has chosen as his own means ofredemption. When Valjean eventually proves to him that anotherway exists, he actually does go off the rails, as the title ofthe chapter describing his suicide implies "Javert deraille".Hugo's description of Javert's last hour brutally conveysthe internal conflict which has suddenly been allowed to re-emerge within him and, inspite of his odiousness, or perhapsbecause of it, Javert is no longer altogether hateful andbecomes rather frighteningly real, as he too joins the rest ofhumanity:57L'idêal pour Javert, ce n'ftait pas d'être humain,d'être grand, d'être sublime; c'etait d'êtreirrêprochable. Or it venait de faillir."He could not face the fact that he owed his life to the man hedespised most and he could face even less the fact that he hadfailed in his duty, yet he could feel himself slipping towardswhat he feared most:L'irrêgulier, l'inattendu, l'ouverture desordonnee duchaos, le glissement possible dans un precipice,c'etait la le fait des regions inferieures, desrebelles, des mauvais, des miserables. mLes Misórables This immense novel was more than twenty long years in themaking: parts were written before the revolution of 1848, andmuch was added between 1860 and 1862, when the book was finallypublished. During this period, the actual concept behind theword 'miserable' underwent an evolution which coincided with thesocial and political changes taking place at the time. In otherwords, the 'signifier' no longer exactly represented the same'signified'. In 1847, when Balzac published La derni6reincarnation de Vautrin, he described the prisoners in the"preau" as "ces miserables, qui, pour la plupart, appartiennentaux plus basses classes", 32 and the reader is at no pains tounderstand that the term 'miserable' meant wrongdoer usuallyfound in the lower echelons of society.58When Hugo first embarked upon his novel, he did not wish toemphasize the criminality of the wrongdoer, but the misery whichled him to a life of crime and which kept him there. For thisreason, the manuscript was originally entitled Les Miseres whenthe writing first started in 1845, but his work was interruptedby the events of 1848 and again by the coup d'Etat of 1851 whichturned the poet's attention to other matters. He did not resumecomposition of the manuscript until 1861, when the titlesuddenly changes to Les Miserables." There seems to be norecorded explanation for this sudden change in title, and it hasbeen argued by many historians, social scientists and literaryscholars that the new title unconsciously reflected a socialevolution which was taking place in the Nineteenth Century as aresult of political and economic change. Louis Chevalierexplains this subtle evolution of the concept of crime andmisery which eventually meld into one in the following terms:Il ne designera plus deux conditions differentes, maisle passage de l'une a l'autre, cette deteriorationsociale^que^nous^decrivons:^une^situationintermediaire et mouvante, et non pas un &tat.Evolution interne d'un mot qui, sous une formeinchangee, traduit une evolution des faits et del'opinion concernant les faits, aussi nettement qu'uneample description du phenomene.3459There are several rather glaring contradictions within LesMiserables. We are told that "Les gardres font le galêrien" 35and yet we are faced with the saintly Jean Valjean who isredeemed through the kindness of one man. We also read that"Tous les crimes de l'homme commencent au vagabondage del'enfant" 36 and yet we are presented with the altruistic braveryof Gavroche. It is true that we are also offered Thenardier,Montparnasse, and the other less than attractive members of thecriminal gang "Patron-Minette", but it has already beenmentioned that for the most part these characters do not comparewell with the villains in La Comedie humaine. The criminalitywhich really lives in this novel is the borderline crimeperpetrated out of need, ignorance and desperation.It might be said that Victor Hugo did in fact achieve whatwould seem to have been his goal: he was successful in awakeningthe public's awareness to the plight of the wretched. Thecrimes most prevalent in this work are those endured by thepopulace, and not those perpetrated against the propertiedclasses. Within the innumerable pages of Les Miserables, weencounter child abuse, exploitation of women, false arrest,persecution of ex-convicts, abandonment of the elderly, and thelist continues. These victims are the true imisdrables', theymay or may not be truly criminal, but in society's eyes they areguilty of the crime of poverty and will nearly automatically becondemned for their trespasses, as in the case of Champmathieu:60Cet homme avait vole des pommes, mais cela neparaissait pas bien prouve; ce qui etait prouve c'estqu'il avait ete déjà aux galeres a Toulon. 37After the publication of Les Miserables, new criminologicaltheories started to be introduced, not necessarily as a resultof the book, but as a result of the social changes which arereflected in the book. Social thinkers such as Gabriel Tarde(1843-1904) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) advanced theories ofmoral responsibility and anomie (dereglement) which implied thatcriminal behaviour was largely a result of socialcircumstances." They often found themselves in direct conflictwith the adherents of the positivist school of criminology ledby Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) who advocated a more biologicalexplanation for deviant behaviour. In his book La Philosophie penale (1890), Gabriel Tarde wrote:The majority of murderers and notorious thieves beganas children who have been abandoned, and the trueseminary of crime must be sought for upon each publicsquare or each crossroad of our towns, whether they besmall or large, in those flocks of pillaging streeturchins, who, like bands of sparrows, associatetogether, at first for marauding, and then for theft,because of a lack of education and food in theirhomes."61One might be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that Tardehad read Les Miserables, as his metaphor concerning sparrows issuspiciously reminiscent of Hugo's opening paragraph to the bookentitled "Paris êtudiê dans son atome" which specificallyaddresses the problem of abandoned and vagrant children:Paris a un enfant et la fordt a un oiseau; l'oiseaus'appelle le moineau; l'enfant s'appelle le gamin. 39Inspite of Hugo's unrealistic idealism, it should beacknowledged that he made a very significant contribution to thesocial thinking of his time, and helped to pave the way ofprogress by bringing the plight of the masses to the forefrontof literature. It is true that he painted an idealized picturewhich easily lends itself to criticism, and it is equally truethat he carefully avoided the realistic portrayal of uglinesswhich was all too often to be found among the urban,industrialized poor. This task was to fall to Emile Zola whowas somewhat chided by Victor Hugo and many others for his frankand unflattering picture of the working poor in L'Assommoir in1877.62CHAPTER VSMILE ZOLAFew authors have assembled in their works a more variedcollection of criminals than did Emile Zola. The four novelschosen for this study provide examples of four different typesof criminality: a crime of sexual passion in Therese Raquin; ahomicidal maniac among other murderers in La Bate humaine;crimes committed as a result of alcoholic intoxication inL'Assommoir; and the insurrectional criminality of the crowd inGerminal. The approach of Emile Zola is however profoundlydifferent from that of Victor Hugo, as it avoids any incursioninto the realm of the metaphysical and ignores the concept ofgood and evil. In many respects Zola's work is much closer tothat of Balzac, as it is steeped in an atmosphere of materialismand determinism, but Zola has taken realism one step furtherthan his predecessor by giving it a scientific foundation.Zola, like Balzac, was ambitious. He was born in 1840 intoa family unjustly impoverished by the premature death of hisItalian father who was denied credit for the development of acanal system in Aix-en-Provence.' He suffered considerablefinancial hardship during his early years in Paris whichprovided him with first-hand experience of the dreadful livingconditions imposed upon the underprivileged. He shared with theParis poor a sense of relative deprivation when being forced to63witness the Second Empire's display of ferocious opulence whichcontrasted sharply with the general population's struggle toearn enough to eat.After several less than lucrative menial jobs, Zola sethimself up as a journalist and found employment with a cheapdaily paper called L'Evênement where he was paid reasonablygenerously as an art critic. This happy state of affairs was tolast only until the publication of seven controversial articleswhich earned him his dismissal in late 1866. Word got aroundthat the highly opinionated writer attracted more trouble thanhe was worth, and during 1867, he was forced to accept literaryhackwork for whatever payment he could squeeze fromunenthusiastic publishers. It is during this time that he wascommissioned to sensationalize legal documents from the files ofthe Aix and Marseilles law courts. He developed a series ofstories under the title of Les Mvsteres de Marseilles whichbegan to be published in serial form in March 1867. 2This series, which ran for nine months, was later that yearpublished as a novel of which Zola had no reason to beparticularly proud, as it appears that it was a "rather drearycatalogue of man's follies" 3 with very little literary merit. Itdid, however, serve to provide the novelist with time tocomplete Therese Raquin, which also happened to be based upon apreviously published court case where a woman and her lover killher unwanted husband and are subsequently brought to trial.Zola speculated that it would be interesting to create a64situation where the lovers' crime went undetected and in whichthe protagonists became rivetted together through fear andremorse.The publication of Therese Raquin in December 1867 provokeda violent reaction from the critics who accused the youngnovelist of producing "une litterature putride" 4 which wastantamount to pornography. Zola answered the critics in arather pompous preface to the second edition of the novel bysummarizing his so-called 'scientific' method in a way whichlaid the foundation of what came to be known as 'naturalism'.He states that: "Thêrese et Laurent sont des brutes humaines" 5and that "J'ai simplement fait sur deux corps vivant le travailanalytique que les chirurgiens font sur des cadavres". 6 Zolaconcludes his preface by giving his scientific approach thelabel of 'naturalism', and he implies that he belongs to a newliterary group of naturalist authors which some ignorant andnaive journalists have blindly called "putrid".Literary and Scientific Influences It has been speculated that the authors which Zola placedunder the banner of 'naturalism' included Hippolite Taine, theGoncourt brothers and perhaps Hector Malot and Alexandre Dumas,fils. 7 It is certain that he greatly admired Edmond and Jules deGoncourt whose book Germinie Lacerteux he enthusiasticallyreviewed in February 1865. 8 It is to these "freres frileuxd'Auteuil" 9 that in 1868 Zola confides his plans to write the65social and natural history of a family under the Second Empire.In many ways, he wished to rival Balzac, whom he criticallyadmired, by producing a series of interwoven novels alongsimilar lines to La Comedie humaine. This idea was firstinstilled in him by Hippolite Taine who, when asked to reviewTherese Raquin and Madeleine F .-drat, wrote to Zola two longletters suggesting that he discard the intensely dramatisedminiatures of domestic life and apply himself instead to thelarger canvas and wider horizons of contemporary life and socialmovements. w When defending his position to the somewhatsceptical and haughty Goncourt brothers, Zola is said to haveblurted out:Les caractares de nos personnages sont determinès parles organes genitaux. C'est de Darwin! Lalitterature, c'est ga! nZola's reference to Darwin is hardly surprising given the times,but Armand Lanoux convincingly argues in his preface to theRoucton-Macquart chronicle that the remark concerning genitalorgans was entirely original and could definitely be said toform the basis of the driving social force behind much of Zola'sfuture work. This is already evident in Therese Raquin and iscertainly to become a central component of La Bête humaine,where at least three of the murders are committed for a varietyof sexually based reasons.Since adolescence, Zola had been fascinated by physiologyand he devoured Clftence Royer's 1864 translation of Darwin's On66the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection  (1859).Prior to this, he had read Prosper Lucas' Traite philosophiqueet phvsiologique de l'Heredite naturelle which had firstappeared in 1850. At the time, ideas on heredity were sospeculative that it suited Zola to use the information providedin this work to establish his Rougon-Macquart family tree. Zolahad a tendency to adopt scientific theories and add his ownimaginative extensions with rather more enthusiasm thandiscernment, and it is no doubt for this reason that he happilyannexed the theory of experimentation put forward by ClaudeBernard in his 1865 book entitled Introduction a la medecineexperimentale."Zola's attempt to impose medical experimental methodologyon what he called 'le roman naturaliste', which he was to rename'le roman experimental', was severely criticized by hiscontemporaries. Today, Zola's experimental theories areconsidered even more 'fragile'", and the concept of literarynaturalism is attributed almost exclusively to the work of EmileZola. Although the biological methodology of Claude Bernard isstill today considered sound, and the ideas of Prosper Lucas onheredity are beginning to re-emerge, many of the wilderscientific theories introduced in the Nineteenth Century andeagerly adopted by Zola have long since been refuted, but theynevertheless contributed to the expansion of the rationalscientific method of research originally introduced during theEnlightenment.67In the realm of criminology, the Classical School of theEnlightenment, which stressed free will and placed its emphasisupon the crime rather than the criminal, was being attacked bythe Lombrosian positivists who were shifting the focus ofinvestigation from the crime back to the criminal." Aspreviously mentioned, Cesare Lombroso developed the concept ofthe 'born criminal' whom he believed to be a victim of atavism.According to Lombroso, atavistic tendencies implied a'throwback' to an earlier stage of evolution which wascharacterized by inferior morphological features and primitivebehaviour in direct conflict with the rules of 'civilizedsociety'." Zola's literary contribution to this theory can befound in the character of Jacques Lantier whose compulsivedesire to kill a woman is described as "une rancune amassee demale en male, depuis la premiere tromperie au fond descavernes". 16Zola's Rougon-Macquart chronicle also follows lines laidout by Bên6dictin Augustin Morel in his Traite des Degenerescences (1857) in which he developed the theory thatdegeneration could be traced to "an essential lesion in thecentral nervous system". 17 This lesion could be formed byenvironmental factors, such as poor diet, alcoholism andunsanitary living conditions, and could cause organicdeficiencies which could be passed on from one generation toanother. Morel's degeneration myth of hereditary taint has nowbeen completely discredited, but at the time Zola was laying the68foundations for Les Rougon-Macquart, the theory was being givena great deal of attention. These ideas did in fact form thebasis of the neurotic disequilibrium and the propensity foralcoholic abuse passed on by the union of Adelaide Fouques(Tante Dide) and her lover Macquart. It is even interesting tonote that out of the twenty novels in the Rougon-Macquart seriesonly five are dedicated to the more stable Rougon side of thefamily and, perhaps with the exception of Le Docteur Pascal,they make for far less exciting reading.Apart from Therese Raquin which is not part of the Rougon-Macquart chronicle, the novels under consideration in this studybelong to the Macquart branch of the family, and together withNana and possibly L'Oeuvre which are not included here, they aregenerally considered to represent Zola's finest work. It wouldseem that Gervaise and her tainted progeny provided the bestexamples of Zola's literary creation. The degenerative legacyof Macquart is clearly evident in L'Assommoir which slowly andpainfully depicts Gervaise's gradual and predetermined descentinto ignominious death:Elle devenait idiote, elle ne songeait seulement pasa se jeter du sixieme sur le pave de la cour, pour enfinir. La mort devait la prendre petit a petit,morceau par morceau, en la trainant ainsi jusqu'aubout dans la sacree existence qu'elle s'etait faite.1869Violence, Sex and DeathNo social history of the late Nineteenth Century would becomplete without reference to the work of Emile Zola, and HenriMitterand points out that Louis Chevalier "ne craint pasd'utiliser l'oeuvre de Zola pour ecrire l'histoire de la societeparisienne du XIXe siecle". 19 it is, however, also true thatZola's literary achievements have often been regarded withsuspicion and in some cases outright disapproval. It hasalready been mentioned that many of Zola's contemporaries, amongthem Victor Hugo, were shocked by what they considered to be histasteless emphasis of hitherto unmentionable subjects and,because his novels were bestsellers, the author was oftenaccused of riding on the tide of sensationalism.It cannot be denied that Zola's approach to realismdemanded that all aspects of life be examined in detail, and hedefinitely believed in the overriding importance of sexual urgesin determining behaviour. In some respects, he was ahead of histime by foreshadowing the psychoanalytical theories later putforward by Freud, Jung and Adler. In Germinal, the aggressionof the crowd is often directly associated with sexuality, as inthe case of the women's posthumous castration of Maigrat. 2° Sexand violence go hand in hand in Therese Raquin, and this sametheme is later elaborated upon in La Bête humaine to which isadded Lombroso's theory of atavism. In L'Assommoir, violence,although not specifically associated with sex, is directlyattributed to alcoholism and few novels offer a more appalling70picture of physical child abuse than Zola in the followingdescription of Lalie's pathetic demise at the hands of herbrutal, alcoholic father who had previously beaten her mother todeath:Aprês avoir tue la maman d'un coup de pied, est-cequ'il ne venait pas de massacrer la fille! Les deuxbons anges seraient dans la fosse, et lui n'auraitplus qui& crever comme un chien au coin d'une borne. 21The language in this quotation also offers an example of Zola's'naturalist' indirect free style which was meant to portray morevividly the actual speech of those belonging to the lower levelof society under scrutiny in L'Assommoir. This use of popularexpressions such as the verb 'crever' definitely contributed tothe unsavory flavour of the subject matter, but was widelycriticized at the time as the author was accused of pandering tothe semi-literate taste of a newly identified reading public.Within each of the four novels in this study can be foundthe recurring theme of downward mobility, which in most casesculminates in death. This theme is often symbolized by a fallin either a figurative or realistic sense. When Laurent firsttouches Thêrêse Raquin, she slips to the ground while acceptinghis embrace: "elle s'abandonna, glissant par terre, sur lecarreau", and, of course, "l'acte fut silencieux et brutal". 22Later Camille dies by falling into the water, and from thatpoint on the two murderers quite literally start to fall apart,71until they eventually fall together in death on the same floorwhere they had first fallen:Its tomberent l'un sur l'autre, foudroye, trouvantenfin une consolation dans la mort... Les cadavresrestarent toute la nuit sur le carreau de la salle amanger. 23In L'Assommoir, we encounter Coupeau's fall from the roofwhich marks the beginning of his downward journey into alcoholicoblivion. The downward mobility in Germinal is to some extentsymbolized by the crumbling of the mine brought about bySouvarine's wilful destruction. La Bête humaine offers twosymbolically significant falls: Grandmorin's fall from the trainwhich starts the destruction of the marriage between Roubaud andSêverine, and Jacques' final fall with Pecqueux which puts anend to his uncontrollable madness and activates theunconrollable wheels of progress symbolized by the runawaytrain.However, La Bête humaine is to be the last of Zola's sombrenovels. It has been argued that the novel was written as aresponse to Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. According toArmand Lanoux, Zola wished to create a physiological criminalwho would stand in direct contrast with Dostoyevsky'smetaphysical Raskolnikov. The latter representing a cerebralagent possessed of free will, and the former, Jacques Lantier,being the unwilling victim of a hereditary will to ki11.2472Although the publication of La Bete humaine (1890) occurred soonafter Zola's meeting with Jeanne Rozerot with whom he was soonto father two children, the preparation for the novel had takenplace previously, and it is said that his obsession with sex andviolence was significantly diminished after he became moreactively involved in the former. It is true that Zola hadformerly described himself as Hun chaste°5 and it is likely thatFreud could have provided an interesting explanation for Zola'searlier fixation on sex, violence and death as the primarydriving force behind most human behaviour.Criminal Profiles Much has been written about Zola's crowds, Zola's Paris,Zola's myths and even Zola's violence, but very little attentionhas been accorded to Zola's criminals. In spite of theirnumbers, none of Zola's prominent criminals have really stoodthe test of time, and this could perhaps be attributed to thefact that they were too much the product of a positivist visionto maintain their credibility. Although Therese and Laurentoften arouse feelings of horror and disgust, they are so devoidof humanity that they fail to ring true. Zola states in hispreface: 'Vial voulu etudier des temperaments, et non descaracteres°6 , and this is precisely what he has done. These two'non-characters' can more easily be compared to laboratory ratsthan to human beings, but one cannot say that Zola has failed to73bring them to life as it would seem that he had no intention ofdoing so.The same cannot quite be said of Jacques Lantier, who isthe product of a more mature Zola. It is fortunate that theauthor sufficiently moderated his adherence to positivism byonly subtly borrowing some of Lombroso's theories whendescribing Lantier's physical characteristics:Il venait d'avoir vingt-six ans, dgalement de grandetaille, 'bras brun, beau garcon au visage rond etregulier, mais que gataient des machoires trop fortes. 27 (my emphasis)Jacques Lantier does not arouse the same horror as Laurentbecause he is endowed with a conscience which makes itimpossible for him to kill except when overcome by hishereditary, instinctual urge. However, it might be argued thatthis character would have been more credible had Zola notattributed his uncontrollable and unwanted thirst for blood toany primordial origin. It is known that such killers exist, butno satisfactory explanation has yet been given for theirbehaviour, although many theories such as those of Lombroso havebeen adopted and later discarded.Those criminals who warrant more attention are the lesscentral characters, and those who are usually consideredsocially marginal. Three of the four novels in this study canprovide several examples of criminal behaviour which is more theresult of socialization than hereditary taint. One such74character is the Maheu's crippled son, Jeanlin, in Germinal; hebecomes detached from the group due to his accident and developspathological tendencies which lead him to victimize otherchildren, steal from his starving family and eventually kill aninnocent, unsuspecting young soldier for the sheer pleasure ofit. When asked by Etienne why he committed such a crime, allJeanlin could say was: "Je ne sais pas, j'en avais envie. naEtienne is later to understand Jeanlin's uncontrolled act ofanimal agression as he experiences a similar satisfaction afterkilling Chaval. Zola, however, provides no specific explanationfor Jeanlin's moral deterioration, but he does imply throughEtienne's indirect discours that such abominable regressions arethe inevitable consequence of social injustice:Quelle abominable chose, de se tuer entre pauvresdiables, pour les riches. 29Similar reasoning is to be found in L'Assommoir, whereNana's insubordination and rapid slide into promiscuity can bedirectly attributed to her unsavory home environment and herlack of respect for parental authority. Both she and Jeanlinconform with modern-day conceptions of juvenile delinquencywhich is believed to often originate from the hardshipsencountered by socially disadvantaged families. Colette Beckerconvincingly points out in her article "La condition ouvrieredans L'Assommoir: un indluctible enlisement" that Zola iscondemning a society which reduces its underprivileged members75to a level where normal standards of morality and self-respectare impossible to uphold due to the dehumanizing nature of theirwork and living conditions. She states that Gervaise's declinewas beyond her control just as much for environmental reasons asbecause of any hereditary predisposition to alcoholism. 3°La Bete humaine, which Marc Bernard describes as nothingmore than "une suite de meurtres", also offers its fair shareof socially determined criminality. One might suggest that thecentral character, Jacques Lantier, whom Zola casts as the tokencriminal of the Rougon-Macquart progeny, is far less interestingthan some of the peripheral characters who either commit murderor are falsely accused of having done so. Among these is Misardwho slowly poisons his wife, Phasie, for reasons of greed andwho is never even detected because of the social insignificanceof his victim. This crime is placed in sharp contrast with themurder of President Grandmorin, a man of dubious moral characterbut powerful political connections. Roubaud, who killedGrandmorin out of jealousy, is never prosecuted for this murderas it is feared that such measures could reveal the victim'sprevious sexual indiscretions. Roubaud, however, like Laurent,quickly goes to seed after committing his crime and iseventually wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, Severine,when he was originally scheduled to be her victim.In spite of these numerous victims of murder, the greatestvictim of injustice is Cabuche, a man who was once responsiblefor an accidental death, and who consequently becomes the76scape-goat. This simple-minded quarryman is automatically andconveniently suspected of Grandmorin's murder and laterconvicted of knifing Sêverine when in fact he is entirelyinnocent. This character is definitely constructed alonghugolien lines, as he once served five years in prison forkilling a man in a brawl and is never to be forgiven for hiscrime. Cabuche is made to fit the mould of what was commonlyexpected of a criminal-type both physically and socially, as isevident by Zola's description of the impression he makes incourt:Quant a Cabuche, it êtait bien tel qu'on sel'imaginait, vetu d'une longue blouse bleue, le type'flame de l'assassin, des poings enormes, des machoires de carnassier, enfin un de ces gaillards qu'il ne faitpas bon rencontrer au coin d'un bois. 32 (my emphasis)However, in actual fact, contrary to all appearances, Cabuchewas morally superior to all the other characters in the novel.By raising Cabuche to the level of a martyr, Zola contradictshis own positivist beliefs, as he openly accuses the rulingclass of injustice by expediently exploiting pseudo-scientificsocial darwinism to protect its political power.The Criminal MachineAlthough the machine has featured prominently in TwentiethCentury literature, Zola was one of the first to bestow uponmachines a social role which was usually far from salutary.77'La machine' could actually be considered a key word in Zola'swork. His novels often portray the machine as an extension andeven a personification of bourgeois industrial power whichindifferently exploits, corrupts and kills those who have themisfortune to be subjected to its needs or sacrificed to itsuncontrollable side effects. In two cases the actual titles ofthe novels suggest the criminal aspects of machines, namelyL'Assommoir and La Bete humaine.The word 'assommoir' was a popular term used to describe adrinking establishment, and obviously the noun is derived fromthe verb 'assommer' which means to overwhelm, to knock senselessand to kill. The machine which was actually responsible forperforming such a crime was the still 'alambic' which looms overGervaise and her entourage. This machine is quite literallypossessed of animated powers which first frighten, then threatenand eventually overcome Gervaise." The intrusive malevolence ofthis distilling machine can be felt throughout the novel, andcan easily be identified as the symbol of growingindustrialisation which slowly swallows its victimsindiscriminately:L'alambic, sourdement, sans une flamme, sans unegaiete dans les ref lets eteints de ses cuivres,continuait, laissait couler sa sueur d'alcool, pareilune source lente et entdtee, qui a la longue devaitenvahir la salle, se rapandre sur les boulevardsextêrieurs, inonder le trou immense de Paris.m78Another machine within this same novel which alsosymbolically diminishes the autonomy and self-respect of theworking man is the rivetting machine which can perform the samework as the blacksmith Goujet whose superior skills andexemplary lifestyle are only to be repaid with the indignity ofobsolescence. This point is well illustrated by Sandy Petry whostates in an article concerning the theme of work inL'Assommoir:Le texte pousse a l'extreme le parallelisme entre latache effectuee par la machine et celle que vient defaire Goujet. Tous deux creent le meme objet... Maiscette identite ne sert qu'a souligner une oppositioncapitale, l'absence de participation humaine autravail qui termine la sequence a la forge. 35This absence of human participation in work led to a stateof deregulation which Emile Durkheim labelled 'anomie'. This isalso to be found in Germinal where the miners are completelyovershawdowed by the ominous presence of the pit which Zolacalled 'le Voreux'; a name which invites an immediateassociation with the idea of voraciousness (voracite). Thisrapacious hole houses numerous machines such as pumps, lifts andvarious other steam engines which serve to crush and ingesthuman fodder for the sole purpose of extracting coal. Like thestill in L'Assommoir, le Voreux permeates everything around it79and is often compared to a flesh-eating, fire-breathing monsterwhich Souvarine attempts to kill as he would a human enemy:Il y mettait une ferocite comme s'il eut joue ducouteau dans la peau d'un etre vivant qu'il execrait.Il la tuerait a la fin, cette bate mauvaise, a lagueule toujours ouverte, qui avait englouti tant dechair humaine! 36Of course, the image of the beast embodied in a machine isexemplified in La Bete humaine, where la Lison personifies boththe aggressor and the victim. It could be said that la Lisonrivals Jacques Lantier for first place as criminal protagonistin the novel. She, like her human male counterpart, embodies anirresistible urge to destroy, while at the same time offeringLantier her submissive and obedient loyalty which is itselffirst impaired by her breakdown in the snow and eventuallydestroyed by her rival, Flore. The locomotive, be it la Lisonor her successor, is frequently responsible for 'cutting' peopleto death, as in the case of Flore who throws herself in front ofa train in retribution for her crime, 37 and more notably Jacquesand Pecqueux who are quite literally cut into small pieces:Les deux hommes, tombes ensemble, entraines sous lesroues par la reaction de la vitesse, furent coupes,haches, dans leur êtreinte, dans cette effroyableembrassade, eux qui avaient si longtemps vecu enfreres. On les retrouva sans tete, sans pieds, deux80troncs sanglants qui se serraient encore, comme pours'etouffer. 0The criminal nature of the train can also be extended tothe role of accessory by its projection of a red light which isreflected into the room where Jacques is alone with Sêverine.This red reflection, suggestive of blood, significantlycontributes to Jacques' desire to kill, and it is a recurringtheme in the Rougon-Macquart series. It is also to be found inTherese Raquin where the fire reflects threateningly inLaurent's face:Elle se tourna vers Laurent sur le visage duquel lefoyer envoyait en ce moment un large ref let rougeatre,elle regarda ce visage sanglant, et frissonna. 39Apart from machines, buildings and locations are also usedas symbols of engulfing malevolence. These include theoppressive 'passage du Pont-Neuf' in Therese Raquin, 'la grandemaison' in L'Assommoir, and 'le coron' in Germinal. By evokingthe active participation of machines and places, Zola hasmanaged to create the impression that the human beings in hisnovels are being driven and destroyed by forces entirely beyondtheir control. Even the crowd in Germinal, and to some extentthe train passengers in La Bate humaine assume the role of anindifferent, unstoppable mechanical force which is transportedtowards a destiny it played no part in choosing.81This unidentified driving force can be attributed both tophysiological as well as mechanical fonctions which are both theresult of evolutionary advancement. Like Hugo, Zola viewedcriminality as a two-dimensional phenomenon, which on the onehand involved the individual activities of a so-called criminaltype, and on the other the collective crimes committed bybourgeois society against the proletariat for the purposes ofeconomic profit. His approach, however, is significantlydifferent to that of Hugo, as he places stark realism in directcontrast with the poet's romantic depiction of 'les misdrablesl.To Zola 'les miserables' are truly miserable, and no humancriminal is granted the privilege of rivalling Vautrin's satanicvillainy or Valjean's nauseating sanctity. However, criminalsnevertheless appear in great quantities in Zola's work, theyoften go nearly unnoticed, and are seldom allowed to stand outfrom the crowd. It could be said that Zola adopted a levellingapproach to individual human deviance by setting it against thedevastating backdrop of collective indifference and tyrannicalmachines.82CHAPTER VI CONCLUSIONThe Nineteenth Century saw a veritable scientific andphilosophical explosion which completely changed the socialpatterns of the western world. The literature of the NineteenthCentury did not invent the criminal, but it did bring the themeof criminality to the fore at a time when scientific andsociological explanations were first being offered for thecriminal behaviour of a newly formed industrial working class.The many facetted utilitarian approaches to the ever increasingurban social problems might have remained outside the realm ofliterature had the romantic movement of the 1830's not directedits attentions to the social role of the writer and the artist)It is during this time that many authors started to exploitthe subject of deviance and deliquency from a multitude ofdifferent angles, depending upon their individual temperaments,talents and political affiliations. This brief survey hasattempted to demonstrate how three prominent, yet disparate,novelists have dealt with the theme of criminality fromconflicting viewpoints, while at the same time reflecting thefluctuating world view of a century undergoing hithertounprecedented social changes.It has been seen that Balzac essentially sought to maintainthe aristocratic image of the urban brigand often to be found in83popular literature. 2 Although he wished to draw a social pictureof his time by developing La Comedie humaine, he did not intendto bore his readers with the unnecessarily sordid details ofreality. Instead he preferred to titillate the tastes of thenewly enriched bourgeoisie by creating extraordinary and oftenexceedingly malevolent criminals along the lines of thosedescribed by Vidocq.Balzac also came close to providing the type ofentertaining mystery which was later developed and refined intoa new literary genre now widely known as the detective novel.In an article entitled "Prehistoire du roman policier", Jean-Claude Vareille demonstrates how, in "La derniere incarnation deVautrin" (1847), Balzac creates a situation with the mysteriousdeath of 'la riche veuve Pigeau' which suspiciously resemblesthe circumstances surrounding Edgar Allen Poe's Murders in therue Morgue (1841). His 'denouement', however, is somewhatdifferent, as the explanation for the mystery is quicklyprovided through the confession of a criminal rather than theperspicacity of a sleuth. Vareille compares Balzac's style ofmystery to "un roman policier avorte" and goes on to explain thebasic difference between the serial novel and the detectivenovel in the following terms:L'enigme et sa solution juxtaposees, c'est lefeuilleton: la lente transformation de l'enigme en sasolution et donc sa dissolution progressive, c'est duroman policier.384Although Victor Hugo provides what might be considered anexciting manhunt in Les Miserables, it would be untrue to saythat his primary goal was to entertain or mystify. Like hisRussian literary contemporaries, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, heused his art to promulgate his own vision of morality and faithin order to further the cause of human progress. 4 He sought toexpose the crimes committed in the name of civilization uponthose whom he depicted as innocent victims of society(Thênardier being the notable exception). He was oftenexcessively romantic and unrealistic in his approach, but he didsucceed in awakening the conscience of those who wished to usetheir power and influence to alleviate the plight of thepotentially dangerous poor.Victor Hugo offered individual examples of social injusticewhich he believed could be remedied through education,generosity and kindness. It is possible therefore that hepainted his characters in such glowing terms in the hope thatthey would endear themselves to the ruling class, who would inturn be prompted to effect social improvements on their behalf.He did not envisage the unity of the proletariat in terms of apolitical body, and this opinion is articulately expressed byAuguste Dezalay when he writes of Victor Hugo:Le peuple existe, par lui, par Jean Valjean, parChampmathieu ou Fauchelevent, mais it n'a pas, comme85chez Zola, l'unite d'une classe sociale en luttecontre ses oppresseurs. 5The work of Emile Zola does in fact tie together thecontributions of both Balzac and Hugo. Like Balzac, Zolaplanned and created a social study of his time, but unlike hisillustrious predecessor, he placed his emphasis upon the livesof the lower echelons of society which he depicted in painfullyrealistic terms. Gone is Hugo's religious, respectful andunwilling prostitute Fantine, as well as his goodhearted,valiant vagabonds Gavroche and Eponine; instead we find anoversexed monster like Laurent, drunken waistrels like Coupeauand Bijard, and an ugly, crippled sociopath like Jeanlin. Zolareduces individual criminality by depriving it of balzacienglamour and hugolien virtue. It stands naked and dwarfed by thepower of the crowd and the indifference of the machine.However, if one criminal profile can be said to stand out as aconnecting link between these three authors it is surely that ofThOnardier, who embodies balzacien villainy and zolien uglinesswhile remaining the creation of Hugo.In the work of Balzac, Hugo and Zola can be found adiversified literary concentration on the theme of criminalitywhich mirrors the evolution of parallel social movements in theNineteenth Century. It should nevertheless not be overlookedwhen concluding this study that other literary genres alsoexplored the darker sides of human existence during this period86and later. Two examples which come to mind are the 'contefantastique' which enjoyed great popularity throughout theNineteenth Century but generally not beyond, and, of course, the'roman policier' which sees its formative period of developmentduring the latter part of the last century, and which is stillthriving today. The narrative structure of the detective novelhas been the subject of several literary analyses, and couldoffer a rich tapestry of ideas for studying the further literaryevolution of the theme of criminality.87NOTES CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTION1. Honore de Balzac, La fille aux yeux d'or, (Paris: Livrede Poche, 1972): 239.2. Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: Naissance de laprison, (Paris: Gallimard, 1975): 175.3. Expression borrowed from the title of the work of LouisChevalier, Classes laborieuses et classes dangereuses a Parispendant la premiere moitie du XIXe siecle, (Paris: Plon, 1958).4. H-A. Fregier, Des classes dangereuses de la populationdans les grandes villes, et des moyens de les rendre meilleurs,(Paris: 1840) 2 vols.5. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes,La Comedie humaine, (Paris; Gallimard, 1971), VI: 824-825.6. Ibid.: 427.7. Quoted in The Birth of Neurosis by George FederickDrinka, M.D., (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984): 41-50.8. Peter Brooks, "The Melodramatic Imagination", in A NewHistory of French Literature, Denis Hollier (ed.), (Cambridge,Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989): 607.9. Ibid.: 607.10. Robert Bezucha, "Discourses on Misery", in A NewHistory of French Literature, op.cit.: 689.11. Louis Chevalier, op.cit.: 513-514.12. Louis Chevalier, op.cit.: 160-163.13. Gordon Wright, Between the Guillotine & Liberty, (NewYork: Oxdford University Press, 1983): 51.CHAPTER II - EUGENE-FRANCOIS VIDOCQ1. These publications include: Memoires (Paris: Tenon,1828-1829); Les Voleurs (Paris: 1836); Vidocq a ses juges(Paris: 1843); Les vrais mysteres de Paris (Paris: Cadot, 1844);Quelques Mots, etc. (Paris: 1844); and Les Chauffeurs du nord(Paris: 1845).2. Jean Savant, Introduction, Les vrais memoires deVidocq, (Paris: Correa, 1950): 19-24.883. Philip John Stead, Vidocg: A Biography, (New York:Staples Press, 1953): 1754. Martha Niess Moss, "The Metamorphosis of Vautrin inBalzac's Comedie Humaine", Romance Notes, XX, 1 (Fall 1979): 44.5. Jean Savant, op.cit.: 12-13.6. Ibid.: 11.7. Philip John Stead, op.cit.: 147-151.8. Jean Savant, La Vie aventureuse de Vidocq: le vrai Vidocq, (Paris: Hachette, 1957): 198.9. Philip John Stead, op.cit.: 175.10. Honor6 de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, (Paris: Livre dePoche, 1983): 20.11. Honor6 de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, La Com6die humaine, (Paris: Gallimard, 1977): 838.12. Eugene-Francois Vidocq, Les vrais memoires, present6s,annotes et comment6s par Jean Savant (Paris: Correa, 1950): 75.13. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes, op.cit.: 836-845.14. Ibid.: 845.15. Jean Savant, La Vie aventureuse de Vidocg, op.cit.:202.16. Ibid.: 203.17. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, I, IV, 5, Vol. 1 (Paris:Garnier-Flammarion, 1967) : 199.18. Ibid.: 199.19. Eugene-Francois Vidocq, op.cit.: 184.20. Ibid.: 154.21. Victor Hugo, Les Mis6rables, III, VII, 4, Vol. 2,op.cit.: 253.CHAPTER III - HONORE de BALZAC1. F6licien Marceau, Preface, Le Pere Goriot, by H. deBalzac, (Paris: Gallimard, 1971): 7.892. See Jean-Claude Rioux, "Crime, nature et societe dans leroman de la Restauration", Romantisme, 52 (1986): 3-18.3. Louis Chevalier, Classes laborieuses et classesdangereuses a Paris pendant la premiere moitie du XIXe siecle,(Paris: Plon, 1958): 470.4. See Jacques H. Perivier, "Genese juridique du personnagecriminel dans La Comedie humaine," Revue d'histoire litterairede la France, 1 (jan-fev. 1987): 46-67.5. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes,La Comedie humaine, VI, (Paris: Gallimard, 1977): 726.6. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, (Paris: Livre dePoche, 1983): 135.7. Ibid.: 236-237.8. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes,op.cit.: 587.9. H. de Balzac, Illusions perdues, La Comedie humaine, V,(Paris: Gallimard, 1977): 700-701.10. Jacques-H. Perivier, op.cit.: 67.11. Antoine Adam, Introduction, Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes, (Paris: Garnier, 1958): xiii.12. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, op. cit.: 224.13. Antoine Adam, op.cit.: ix.14. Richard D.E. Burton, "The Unseen Seer, or Proteus inthe City: Aspects of a Nineteenth-Century Parisian Myth", FrenchStudies, XLII.1 (January, 1988): 52.15. Ibid.: 53.16. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes, op.cit.: 562.17. Antoine Adam, op.cit.: xiv.18. Pierre-Georges Castex, Introduction, Le Pere Goriot,(Paris: Garnier, 1960): xxix-xxx.19. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, op.cit.: 222-223.20. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes, op.cit.: 550.21. Ibid.: 568.9022. Ibid.: 550.23. Ibid.: 586.24. See Yoshie Oshita, "De l'entree a la sortie de Vautrindans Le Pere Goriot", L'Annee balzacienne, 10 (1989): 233-243.25. See Nelli Diengott, "Goriot vs. Vautrin" A problem inthe Reconstruction of Le Pere Goriot's system of values",Nineteenth Century French Studies, 15, 1 & 2, (Fall/Winter,1986-1987): 70-76.26. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, op. cit.: 20.27. Ibid.: 21.28. Ibid.: 137.29. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, op. cit.: 434.30. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, op. cit.: 238.31. Honore de Balzac, Illusions perdues, op.cit.: 699.32. Martha Niess Moss, "The Metamorphosis of Vautrin inBalzac's Comedie humaine, Romance Notes, XX, 1, (Fall: 1979):45.33. Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot, op.cit.: 220.34. Honore de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres descourtisanes, op. cit.: 934.CHAPTER IV - VICTOR HUGO1. Paul Savey-Casard, Le Crime et la peine dans l'oeuvre deVictor Hugo, (Paris: Presses universitaires de France,1956):113.2. Paul Comeau, "La rhetorigue du poete engage du Dernierjour d'un condamne a Claude Gueux, Nineteenth Century FrenchStudies, 16, 1 & 2 (Fall/Winter, 1987/88): 61.3. Ibid.: 60.4. Victor Hugo, Une Comedie a propos d'une tragedie, Ledernier lour d'un condamne, Oeuvres completes, Roman I (Paris:L'Imprimerie nationale, MDCCCX): 619.5. Victor Hugo, Preface, Le dernier lour d'un condamne,op.cit.: 597.6. Ibid.: 606.917. See Sandy Petrey, "Romanticism and Social Vision", NewHistory of French Literature (19th century), Denis Hollier(ed.), (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1989): 661.8. See Sandy Petrey, "Victor Hugo and RevolutionaryViolence: The Example of Claude Gueux", Studies in Romanticism,28, 1 (Spring, 1989): 624.9. Sandy Petrey, "Romanticism and Social Vision", op.cit.:664.10. P. Savey-Casard, op.cit.: 107.11. P. Savey-Casard, op.cit.: 91.12. Ibid.: 94.13. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, III, VIII, 6, Vol.2,(Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1967): 275.14. Quoted in La Pensee sociale et humaine de Victor Hugodans son oeuvre romanesque by Mahmoud Aref, (Geneve: LibrairieSlatkine, 1979): 235.15. Ibid.: 234.16. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, III, VII, 2, Vol.2,op.cit.: 249.17. P. Savey-Casard, op.cit.: 227.18. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, III, VII, 3, Vol.2,op.cit.: 251.19. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, IV, IV, 2, Vol.2, op.cit.:451.20. Victor Hugo, Le dernier jour d'un condamne, op.cit.:642-647.21. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, V, II, 4, Vol.3, op.cit.:295.22. Paul Comeau, op.cit.: 64-66.23. See Auguste Dezalay, "Lecture du genie. Genie de lalecture: Germinal et Les Miserables, Revue d'histoire litterairede la France, 3 (1985): 435-446.24. Elliott M. Grant, The Career of Victor Hugo,(Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1946): 256.25. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, III, VII, 6, Vol.2,op.cit.: 265.9226. Victor Hugo, Claude Gueux, Oeuvres completes, Roman I,op.cit.: 747.27. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, I, II, 7, Vol.1, op.cit.:118.28. Edward Sagarin, "Jean Valjean: for Stealing a Loaf ofBread", in Raskolnikov and Others: Literary Images of Crime, Punishment, Redemption and Atonement, (New York: St. Martin'sPress, 1981): 70.29. Ibid.: 70.30. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, V, IV, 1, Vol.3, op.cit.:353.31. Ibid.: 355.32. H. de Balzac, Splendeurs et miseres des courtisanes, LaComedie humaine, VI, (Paris: Gallimard, 1977): 824.33. Elliott M. Grant, op.cit.: 249.34. Louis Chevalier, Classes laborieuses et classesdangereuses a Paris pendant la premiere moitie du XIXe siecle,(Paris: Plon, 1958): 94.35. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, I, VII, 11, Vol.1,op.cit.: 308.36. Ibid., III, I, 6, Vol.2, op.cit.: 110.37. Ibid., I, VII, 7, Vol.1, op.cit.: 289.38. This translation by R, Howell is quoted by Margaret S.Wilson Vine in Pioneers in Criminology, Hermann Mannheim (ed.),2nd edition, (Montclair, N.J.: Patterson Smith, 1973): 293.39. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, III, I, 1, Vol.2, op.cit.:104.CHAPTER V - EMILE ZOLA1. Graham King, The Garden of Zola, (London: Barrie &Jenkins Ltd., 1978): 4.2. Ibid.: 33.3. Ibid.: 33.4. Maurice Le Blond, Notes et Commentaires, Therese Raquin,(Paris: Francois Bernard, ?): 240.935. Emile Zola, Preface, Therese Raquin, (Paris: FrancoisBernard, ?): VIII.6. Ibid.: IX.7. Henri Mitterand, Zola et le Naturalisme, (Paris: PressesUniversitaires de France, 1986): 21.8. Ibid.: 21.9. Armand Lanoux, Preface, Les Rougon-Macquart, Vol.I,(Paris: Gallimard, 1960): X.10. Graham King, op.cit.: 41.11. Armand Lanoux, op.cit.: XI.12. Ibid.: XVIII.13. Henri Mitterand, op.cit.: 28.14. Randy Martin et al., Criminal Thought: Pioneers Pastand Present, (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990): 28.15. Marvin E. Wolfgang, "Cesare Lombroso", in HermannMannheim, (ed.), Pioneers in Criminology, (Montclair, N.J.:Patterson Smith, 1973): 247.16. Emile Zola, La Bete humaine, Les Rougon-Macquart, Vol.IV, (Paris: Gallimard, 1966): 1044.17. Quoted in G.F. Drinka, The Birth of Neurosis: Myth, Malady, and the Victorians, (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.,1984): 49.18. Emile Zola, L'Assommoir, (Paris: Fasquelle, 1960): 478.19. Henri Mitterand, op.cit.: 37.20. Emile Zola, Germinal, (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion,1968): 362.21. Emile Zola, L'Assommoir, op.cit.: 436.22. Emile Zola, Therese Raquin, op.cit.: 34.23. Ibid.: 230.24. Armand Lanoux, op.cit.: L.25. Marc Bernard, Zola par lui-meme, (Paris: Seuil, 1952):45.26. Emile Zola, Preface, Therese Raquin, op.cit.: VIII.9427. Emile Zola, La Bete humaine, op.cit.: 1026.28. Emile Zola, Germinal, op.cit.: 404.29. Ibid.: 405.30. See Colette Becker, "La condition ouvriere dansL'Assommoir: un ineluctible enlisement", Cahiers naturalistes,52, 1978: 42-57.31. Marc Bernard, op.cit.: 120.32. Emile Zola, La Bete humaine, op.cit.: 1321.33. See Jacques Dubois, L'Assommoir de Zola: societe, discours, ideologie, (Paris: Librairie Larousse , 1973): 64.34. Emile Zola, L'Assommoir, op.cit.: 48.35. Sandy Petrey, "Les discours du travail dansL'Assommoir, Cahiers naturalistes, 52, 1978: 60.36. Emile Zola, Germinal, op.cit.: 442.37. Emile Zola, La Bete humaine, op. cit.: 1330.38. See Andre Possot, "Themes et fantasmes de la machinedans La Bete humaine", Cahiers naturalistes,  57, 1983: 111.39. Emile Zola, Therese Raquin, op.cit.: 135.CHAPTER VI - CONCLUSION1. Paul Savey-Casard, Le Crime et la peine dans l'oeuvre deVictor Hugo, (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1956):377.2. Jacques Dubois, L'Assommoir de Zola: societe, discours, ideologie, (Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1973): 74.3. Jean-Claude Vareille, "Prehistoire du roman policier",Romantisme, 3 (1986): 31.4. Paul Savey-Casard, op. cit.: 379.5. Auguste Dezalay, "Lecture du genie.^Genie de lalecture: Germinal et Les Miserables, Revue de l'histoirelitteraire de la France, 3 (1985): 444.95BIBLIOGRAPHYPRIMARY SOURCESBalzac, Honore de. Le Pere Goriot. Preface par Francoise vanRossum-Guyon et Michel Butor. Paris: Livre de Poche,1983.Balzac, Honore de. La Fille aux yeux d'or. Introduction etPreface de Pierre Barberis. Paris: Livre de Poche, 1972.Balzac, Honore de. Illusions perdues in La Comedie humaine.Bibliotheque de la Pleiade. V. Texte present -6, etabli etannote par Roland Chollet. Paris: Gallimard, 1977: 3-732.Balzac, Honore de. Splendeurs et miseres des Courtisanes in LaComes:lie humaine.^Bibliothêque de la Pleiade. VI. 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