Le ventre de paris translated into english under many variant titles but literally meaning the belly of paris is zolas first novel entirely on the working class the protagonist is florent an escaped political prisoner mistakenly arrested after the french coup of 1851. Part of emile zolas multigenerational rougon macquart saga the belly of paris is the story of florent quenu a wrongly accused man who escapes imprisonment on devils islandreturning to his native paris florent finds a city he barely recognizes with its working classes displaced to make way for broad boulevards and bourgeois flats. The belly of paris is an unusual literary feat a seeming polemic with a virtually hidden message in prose that describes the food markets of the city in glorious and sometimes squalid detail zola introduces us to this specialized world that feeds the rich and poor of the capital city. The belly of paris summary study guide mile zola this study guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries quotes character analysis themes and more everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of the belly of paris. The belly of paris is les halles centrales the enormous 21 acre market complex built by baron haussmann in the 1850s into it flowed great rivers of vegetables cheeses butter fish and meats and out of it sewers of blood and putrefaction
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