Quote of the Day : Émile Zola


“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”

Émile Zola

The Origins of the Quote

These words were spoken by Emile Zola, who is one of the most important novelists of the French tongue, and one of the most important writers of the century. Given Zola’s preoccupation with Naturalism and the study thereof, it follows suit that such a thought should burst from him. Through various works – many of which were considered shocking for his times, like Nana; or the intensely and troublesome Germinal, or as the author of J’Accuse – he has put across his thoughts to be understood and interpreted with the truthfulness of the author.

Getting to Know the Man behind the Characters

The mind of Emile Zola was a Petri dish. It was where he studied different ideas and he got associated to one idea in particular – that of Naturalism. It wasn’t strictly in the Darwinian sense that he meant it, but the very concept of natural selection. He profoundly believed in that Maxim and his quote makes it amply clear. Because if he doesn’t do what he has set out to he faces a risk of losing the core reason for his being. The ideas of strength and persistence were repeatedly a leitmotif for this phenomenal French great.    

In a culture that is driven by technology and what it can give, it is important to understand the times in history that gave birth to great minds, and when they interacted – the product was purely intellectual bliss. It was fodder for the thinking man. It was a time of development through action, the great 19th century. Advancements in science, philosophy and language left their mark on art. And authorship too was considered an art. Interestingly enough his words can be happily applied to several artist and thinkers of the current generations. His saying so during his time displayed a break through from conventions. Which is something that Zola was easily given to doing, through his pen.

Some Final Thoughts

When it comes to literature, the impact of the French and other European authors cannot be denied. It was as though the different minds that belonged, rooted to different cultures contributed to the growth and its subsequent development of the language. The French authors brought in the ingenuine methods and subplots and a certain irreverent rawness to literature and its forever students. And Zola was the front runner in this movement.

Émile Zola’s unapologetic, deep thinking manner, incisively reached the minds of his readership.


Check out our Quote of the Day archive where we bring you quotes hand picked by me, Divvya Nirula. Sharing the stories, people, moments behind the inspiration and thought provoking words.