9 best books like Salammbô (Gustave Flaubert): Cousin Bette, A Harlot High and Low, Against Nature, Mademoiselle de Maupin, La Débâcle, Pot Luck, The Gods Will Have Blood, Les Diaboliques, The Dream

AuthorHonoré de Balzac
Poor, plain spinster Bette is compelled to survive on the condescending patronage of her socially superior relatives in Paris: her beautiful, saintly cousin Adeline, the philandering Baron Hulot and their daughter Hortense. Already deeply resentful of their wealth, when Bette learns that the...
AuthorHonoré de Balzac
Why should anyone care about Esther, a prostitute from a young age, a harlot with powers over men? Why should anyone care about a spoiled feeble individual such as Lucien, the poet whose ambitions are to secure a noble title and live in luxury for the rest of his life? The same Lucien who, by the way, in Lost...
Against Nature
AuthorJoris-Karl Huysmans
With a title translated either as Against Nature or as Against The Grain, this wildly original fin-de-siècle novel follows its sole character, Des Esseintes, a decadent, ailing aristocrat who retreats to an isolated villa where he indulges his taste for luxury and excess. Veering between nervous...
AuthorThéophile Gautier
A woman uses her incredible beauty to captivate both d'Albert, a young poet, and disguised as a man, his mistress, Rosette.

In this shocking tale of sexual deception, Gautier draws readers into the bedrooms and boudoirs of a French château in a compelling exploration of desire and sexual...
AuthorÉmile Zola
The penultimate novel of the Rougon-Macquart cycle, La Debacle (1892) takes as its subject the dramatic events of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune of 1870-1. During Zola's lifetime it was the bestselling of all his novels, praised by contemporaries for its epic sweep as well as for its attention...
AuthorÉmile Zola
Pot Luck, Zola's most acerbic satire, describes daily life in a newly constructed block of flats in late nineteenth-century Paris. In examining the contradictions that pervade bourgeois life, Zola reveals a multitude of betrayals and depicts a veritable 'melting pot' of moral and sexual degeneracy....
AuthorAnatole France
Published in 1912, when Anatole France was sixty-eight, The Gods Will Have Blood is the story of Gamelin, an idealistic young artist appointed as a magistrate during the French Revolution. Gamelin's ideals lead him to the most monstrous mass murder of his countrymen, and the links between Gamelin...
AuthorJules Barbey d'Aurevilly
Quant aux femmes de ces histoires, pourquoi ne seraient-elles pas les Diaboliques ? N'ont-elles pas assez de diabolisme en leur personne pour mériter ce doux nom ? Diaboliques ! il n'y en a pas une seule ici qui ne le soit à quelque degré. Comme le Diable, qui était un ange aussi, mais qui a culbuté,...
AuthorÉmile Zola
Emile Zola's novel Le Rêve (1888) is a love idyll concerning a poor embroideress, Angelique, and the son of a wealthy aristocratic family, set against the backdrop of a sleepy cathedral town in northern France.

A far cry from the seething, teeming world evoked in Zola's best-known novels,...
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