Les Soirées de Médan


Les Soirées de Médan ("Evenings at Médan") is a collection of six short stories by six different writers associated with Naturalism, first published in 1880. All the stories concern the Franco-Prussian War. The contents of the book are as follows: L'Attaque du moulin ("The Attack on the Mill") by Émile Zola Boule de Suif ("Ball of Tallow") by Guy de Maupassant Sac au dos ("Backpack") by Joris-Karl Huysmans La Saignée ("Bloodshed") by Henri Céard L'Affaire du Grand 7 ("The Affair of the Great 7") by Léon Hennique Après la bataille ("After the Battle") by Paul AlexisThe collection took its title from Zola's house at Médan, near Paris, where writers would meet for literary dinners. The authors were often referred to collectively as the "Médan group". The aim of the collection was to promote the ideals of Naturalism, by treating the events of the Franco-Prussian War in a realistic and often unheroic way, in contrast to officially approved patriotic views of the war. By far the most famous story in the collection is Boule de Suif, which immediately launched the career of the young Guy de Maupassant. Zola's story became the basis for an opera of the same name by Alfred Bruneau.
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