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L'Argent ("Money") is the eighteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola. It was serialized in the periodical Gil Blas beginning in November 1890 before being published in novel form by Charpentier et Fasquelle in March 1891.
The novel focuses on the financial world of the Second French Empire as embodied in the Paris Bourse and exemplified by the fictional character of Aristide Saccard. Zola's intent was to show the terrible effects of speculation and fraudulent company promotion, the culpable negligence of company directors, and the impotency of contemporary financial laws.
Aristide Saccard (b. 1815 as Aristide Rougon) is the youngest son of Pierre and Félicité Rougon. He is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon. L'argent is a direct sequel to La curée (published in 1871), which details Saccard's first rise to wealth using underhanded methods. Sensing his unscrupulous nature, his brother Eugène Rougon prompts Aristide to change his surname from Rougon to Saccard.
Aristide's other brother Pascal is the main character of Le docteur Pascal. He also has two sisters: Sidonie, who appears in La curée, and Marthe, one of the protagonists of La conquête de Plassans.
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