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Fromont and Risler — Volume 1 by Alphonse Daudet
page 2 of 87 (02%)
Decidedly, Daudet belonged to the Realistic School. But, above all, he
was an impressionist. All that can be observed--the individual picture,
scene, character--Daudet will render with wonderful accuracy, and all his
novels, especially those written after 1870, show an increasing firmness
of touch, limpidity of style, and wise simplicity in the use of the
sources of pathetic emotion, such as befit the cautious Naturalist.
Daudet wrote stories, but he had to be listened to. Feverish as his
method of writing was--true to his Southern character he took endless
pains to write well, revising every manuscript three times over from
beginning to end. He wrote from the very midst of the human comedy; and
it is from this that he seems at times to have caught the bodily warmth
and the taste of the tears and the very ring of the laughter of men and
women. In the earlier novels, perhaps, the transitions from episode to
episode or from scene to scene are often abrupt, suggesting the manner of
the Goncourts. But to Zola he forms an instructive contrast, of the same
school, but not of the same family. Zola is methodical, Daudet
spontaneous. Zola works with documents, Daudet from the living fact.
Zola is objective, Daudet with equal scope and fearlessness shows more
personal feeling and hence more delicacy. And in style also Zola is
vast, architectural; Daudet slight, rapid, subtle, lively, suggestive.
And finally, in their philosophy of life, Zola may inspire a hate of vice
and wrong, but Daudet wins a love for what is good and true.

Alphonse Daudet was born in Nimes, Provence, May 13, 1840. His father
had been a well-to-do silk manufacturer, but, while Alphonse was still a
child, lost his property. Poverty compelled the son to seek the wretched
post of usher (pion) in a school at Alais. In November, 1857, he settled
in Paris and joined his almost equally penniless brother Ernest. The
autobiography, 'Le Petit Chose' (1868), gives graphic details about this
period. His first years of literary life were those of an industrious
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