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Title: Justice in Les Rougon-Macquart
Author: Stone, Barbara M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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Abstract:
This thesis aims to pin down justice in Les Rougon-Macquart. Despite the relative infrequency of direct references to justice in the novels, we can nevertheless identify contradictory notions of justice, each associated with a group of characters. The first chapter establishes the apparent lack of justice in the Darwinian universe created in the novels. The primitive communities of Bonneville (La Joie de vivre) and Les Artaud (La Faute de l'abbé Mouret) are presented as examples of Darwinism in action, environments in which there is no resistance to the Darwinian order. The essentially ambiguous presentation of Darwinism in the novels is identified, one feature of which is an apparent opening for justice to operate as a moderating influence on the injustices of Darwinism. The second chapter examines the special case of Germinal, and the calls therein for justice made by the miners under Etienne Lantier's leadership. Unlike the primitives, these characters rail against the injustices of their Darwinian situation and demand justice. They aspire towards a general social justice, which they seem to view as an alternative religion - or as an alternative to religion. Starting from hints in Germinal that a legal solution to the injustices of Darwinism might be a possibility, the third chapter assesses the potential of the legal system to operate as a force for justice. The most important part of the chapter is the discussion of the presentation of the representatives of the legal system, a portrait of unrelieved negativity. These characters view justice as the protection of the rights and social position of their class, which explains the feelings of disenfranchisement experienced by characters from lower social classes, who are convinced that the law is on the side of the princes. The ideological function of the legal system seen in the repression of opposition and the censorship of views critical of the regime, confirms the way the legal system operates as an arm (in both senses) of the Establishment. We attribute the failure of 'la justice' to deal in justice to its intimate association with the Second Empire.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.662511  DOI: Not available
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