Author : E. Toulouse

Title : Photographs of Emile Zola’s hands and fingerprints , from E. Toulouse, Emile Zola. Enqu è te m é dico-psychologique sur la superiorit é intell é ctuelle (1896)

Keywords: Zola. Positivism. Photography. Measurement. Physiognomy. Fingerprints.

Pages : Introduction | page 1 | page 2

These documents are some of the evidence collected during the intense and in-depth medico-psychological investigation of the French author Emile Zola (1840-1902), in 1896. Dr Toulouse concluded that Zola was not an epileptic but a neuropath, someone with a disordered nervous system.

The key question the investigation raised was whether or not genius was caused by nervous disorder. Zola himself, in his Rougon-Macquart cycle, was much influenced by the idea of degeneration and the belief that criminal tendencies could be read from physiognomical peculiarities.

See particularly his: L’Assommoir (1877), Nana (1880), Germinal (1885), La Terre (1887), La Bete Humaine (1890), The Debacle (1892), Dr Pascal (1893).

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