Manette Salomon

by Edmond de Goncourt, Jules de Goncourt

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 260

Manette Salomon

Manette Salomon (mah-NEHT sah-loh-MOH[N]), a Jewish model, Naz de Coriolis’ mistress. With her frank, ignorant nature and exotic Jewishness, she delights her lover, but when she becomes famous as the subject of his successful painting, there grows in her a pride that causes her to change. Mistaken for Coriolis’ wife, she finds this status attractive. When she becomes a mother, her greed for success comes to the fore, and she gradually gains ascendancy over her lover. When they are married, the fulfillment of her ambition spells the death of his creativity.

Naz de Coriolis

Naz de Coriolis (nahz deh kohr-yoh-LEES), a young painter who vows never to wed because he believes marriage and fatherhood destroy the artist’s creativity. Fascinated by Manette Salomon’s physical perfection and exotic Jewishness, he takes her as a model and his mistress. When fame and motherhood arouse her pride and ambition, he has not the strength to struggle against either her domination over him or the resulting death of his creativity.

Anatole Bazoche

Anatole Bazoche (ah-nah-TOHL bah-ZOHSH), a painter, Naz de Coriolis’ close friend, who is alienated from him by Manette. A true bohemian to the last, Anatole, never a “success,” retains his freedom.


Chassagnol (shah-sah-NYOHL), a painter alienated from Naz de Coriolis by Manette.


Garnotelle (gahr-noh-TEHL), a mediocre but successful painter after whom Manette insists Naz de Coriolis model himself.


Crescent (kreh-SAH[N]), a painter, and

Mme Crescent

Mme Crescent, his wife, who befriend Manette but become cool toward her when they learn that she is Jewish.


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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 248

Baldick, Robert. The Goncourts. London: Bowes, 1960. A brief but excellent survey of their novels. Concentrates on biographical background to the novels, but also explores major themes and aspects of their literary style. Chronicles their pursuit of an accurate documentary basis for their novels and their ties to the art world.

Billy, Andre. The Goncourt Brothers. Translated by Margaret Shaw. New York: Horizon Press, 1960. The standard biography of the Goncourts, which elucidates events in the lives of the brothers that became incorporated in the novels. Also provides contemporary reception of their novels.

Grant, Richard B. The Goncourt Brothers. New York: Twayne, 1972. A solid survey of the life and works of Jules and Edmond de Goncourt. Ordered chronologically, the book integrates the lives of the authors with detailed stylistic and thematic analyses of their novels. The chapter on Manette Salomon elaborates their involvement in contemporary art and its effect on the novel.

Scott, David. Pictorialist Poetics: Poetry and the Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century France. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Argues that aesthetic theory and literary practice of the nineteenth century combine to produce a new conception of literature’s potential. Discusses the visual sources that influenced the Goncourts’ literary efforts.

Silverman, Deborah. Art Nouveau in Fin de Siècle France: Politics, Psychology, and Style. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. Although Silverman’s book primarily concerns itself with the collecting habits and art criticism of the Brothers Goncourt, it provides some valuable insight into their fictional works from a feminist perspective.

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