The Ladies' Paradise

The Ladies' Paradise

4.2 17
by Emile Zola, Brian Nelson

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The Ladies Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames), now a TV series called The Paradise based on this classic novel, recounts the rise of the modern department store in late nineteenth-century Paris. The store is a symbol of capitalism, of the modern city, and of the bourgeois family: it is emblematic of changes in consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes


The Ladies Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames), now a TV series called The Paradise based on this classic novel, recounts the rise of the modern department store in late nineteenth-century Paris. The store is a symbol of capitalism, of the modern city, and of the bourgeois family: it is emblematic of changes in consumer culture and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century. This new translation of the eleventh novel in the Rougon-Macquart cycle captures the spirit of one of Zola's greatest works.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product Details

Oxford University Press
Publication date:
Oxford World's Classics Series
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Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Émile Zola is the ever-popular author of Nana, Germinal, and many other novels. The Ladies' Paradise is the eleventh book in his Rougon-Macquart series, the "Natural and Social History of a Family under the Second Empire." Kristin Ross is Associate Professor of French Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Ladies' Paradise (BBC tie-in) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even in translation, Zola is a great read, and this is a book to appeal to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after enjoying the series, The Paradise, on PBS. The original story is different in many ways from the drama, but it was quite engrossing. Zola goes into intricate and fascinating description about the growth of a large department store in 19th century Paris. He pays a great deal of attention to the relationships of the people, including the owner, the employees, and the people who own and run the smaller local shops that are gradually put out of businesses. There is also a wonderful and complicated romance story. I didn't want the book to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great story! While it's different in many aspects than the BBC-made tv program, "The Paradise" (or rather, "The Ladies' Paradise") is intriguing and lovely. It sure causes one to think, but also, entertains with the story of Mouret and Denise, et. al.
jcmMN More than 1 year ago
This important book is a glimpse into the evolution of the retail department store in Paris in the late 1800s, couched in the changing social order and business practices of the times. As a businesswoman, I enjoyed the business issues and reasoning articulated by the colorful contrasting characters that populate this novel. It is at The Ladies Paradise - truly a department store palace - that social classes blend into a new social order of men and women and a new retail business model unfolds.  As a romantic, I was taken in by the love story and the personal struggles and triumphs that wind their way through the halls of The Ladies Paradise establishment and the streets of Paris, exposing the passions and whims of the people of the day. Business and social change clearly has victors and victims and folly and wisdom that informs and entertains the reader. The recent PBS series "The Paradise" is based on this novel. Although the characters and plot differ considerably they are equally fascinating. Zola offers us an historical and emotionally enlightening story in any format. A worthwhile read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review Stars:  Overall: 4  Narration: 3  Story: 5  Prodigious barely can encompass the volumes added to literature by Émile Zola.  In this, his eleventh book that dealt with various familial and societal relationships, Zola creates captivating characters that both serve as witness to, and participants in the great changes that are occurring throughout Paris in the post 1860's world.   Now familiar to many as the genesis idea for the PBS Masterpiece Classic series The Paradise,  it was an interesting listen as I was able to work out the direct correlations between characters and the more composite or ‘informed by’ in the television version.   Having read excerpts in the original French several years ago, the one lasting impression from the writing of Zola is his rich and layered use of description.  Long unused, to attempt this book now, either in written or spoken version would be daunting – I would understand little at first go, yet the beauty of the phrasing and descriptions do resonate, even if their meaning is lost.  The audio version is narrated by Lee Ann Howlett, to mixed effect for me I must say.  While I can appreciate the effort put forth, the mispronunciation of Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle (often shortened to Mill for Mlle.) served to take me away from the story at each turn.  There were some affectations of pitch and tone to elucidate a ‘younger’ speaker that were little more than grating, and I was pleased to see that as the story progressed the variations in the pitch of the speech lessened in impact.  Howlett has a wonderful voice that was well suited to the narration of the story, and it would have been a far smoother listen for me had she not adjusted to accommodate changes in characters during conversations.   This is ultimately a story that focuses on changes, large and small, both to society, a city and to the people who inhabit it.  Historically it was a tumultuous time with wars, political unrest, the advent of more industrialized options for manufacturing, and most countries were dealing with economic hardships and food scarcity that often resulted in migration from small communities into the cities to find work.  Denise is no different, heading to Paris to help her uncle in his small yet struggling shop.  The new thing, a full-service department store full of ‘ready-made’ goods and providing goods to entice every consumer is opening, and she soon secures a position in the ladies department.  The story not only shows the growth and changes occurring in the country and the city, but inside the store and with Denise herself, as she learns to ‘polish’ her appearance, and uses her not inconsiderable sense and reasoning to rise within the hierarchy of the store.  Like all young women, Denise has secrets and dreams, and we are fortunate to see her journey.  Far from being a staid and boring story that only will appeal to fans of historic fiction, this story has a bit of everything: conflict, history, love, loss and even drama in varying doses as the characters from the store live their lives and serve their customers.  I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility
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NAME: Nightclaw AGE: 25 moons LOOKS: Hes a skinny jet black tom with blood red eyes, has long legs and a long tail, eyes twitches sometimes. CRUSH: Snowclaw MATE: Snowclaw KITS: Hopes to have some with Snowclaw sometime in the future. KIN: Soaringjay (brother missing) Wildheart (sister missing) Jaggedfur (brother missing) Dawnsky (sister dead) Shadowflame (father missing) Wolfsong (mother dead) EXTRA: Insane, sly, able to hide in shadows. INFO: Thinks of Eclipsepaw as his little brother, like Sonic and Tails. Has a scar over his right eye. Claws and fangs are unusually sharp. HISTORY: He used to live in Mistclan, but one day, Twolegs who were fishing got to smoking, and decided to drop their cigarettes, without putting them out.The fire roared and burned down the cats who had stayed in the camp, while the others on the hunting patrol survived. Nightclaw was devastated, searching moons for his family. The rest of the hunting patrol was never found, and nightclaw ran, wishing for a new life. He found Wingclan, and found his new home. He now lives there, staying in his den at the last result.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender-She-Cat;Age-Around 22 moons; Eyes-Cyan;Pelt- Black and white;Siblings-Dead;Personality-Calm,Kind,Intelligent,;Crush/Mate-Nightclaw;Kits-None, hopefully Wispkit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a well used to be rogue who got captured by abusive twolegs. Im all silver. With sea blue eyes. Im also 26 moons old
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im locked out of res 1!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[NAME] EclispeStone <p> [AGE] 9 Molns <p> [LOOKS] Looks like a mini NightClaw with golden eye and speckles of red. <p> [HISTORY] Was adopted by a she named Sapphirewing. She told the clan tjat Nigjtclaw died. Eclispe got mad at her ad left her. Nightclaw became his adopted brother. <p> [CRUSH/MAT] None. <p> [PERSONALITY] Dark. <p> [KIN] Le same as NightClaw's) <p> Goodbye!