On the Metaphysical Brutishness of Life in the Light of Zola’s The Human Beast

  • Victor Gerald Rivas LÓpezEmail author
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 109)


The argumentative framework of this paper unfolds as follows: after an introduction wherein we shall set out the intellectual background of whatever critical approach to life, we shall analyse in the first section of the paper, through the novel mentioned in the title thereof, the idea of an absolute vital drive that we shall call “brutishness” because it gainsays the metaphysical tradition that identifies man, life and reason; according to the import of “brutishness”, a truly philosophical conception of life must be essentially pessimistic regarding the possibility of a would-be total realization of the individual in a world whose ontological and socio-historical complexity is irreducible to the individual’s aims. In the second section, we shall dwell on the bond of brutishness with crime beyond the moral and legal standards that are for punishing the violation of the law but that utterly indifferent to the emotional or psychological process that leads to it, which for a naturalistic conception of literature such as Zola’s is instead fundamental. In the third and final section, we shall figure out how the development of the technical framework of existence, whose universalization was perhaps the most striking cultural phenomenon of the nineteenth-century, strengthens brutishness and works so as the element that rounds off the pessimistic vision of life.


Moral Ideal Human Beast Substantial Conception Technical Framework Metaphysical Conception 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Puebla Meritorious UniversityPueblaMexico

Personalised recommendations