Emile Zola was born in Paris in 1840. His father, François Zola, was the son of an Italian engineer with a French wife, and his mother was Émilie Aubert. The family moved to Aix-en-Provence, in the southeast, when he was three years old. Four years later, in 1847, his father died, leaving his mother on a meagre pension. In 1858, the Zolas moved to Paris, where Émile became friends with the painter Paul Cézanne and started to write in the romantic style. Zola’s widowed mother had planned a law career for him, but he failed his Baccalauréat examination.Before his breakthrough as a writer, Zola worked as a clerk in a shipping firm, and then in the sales department for a publisher (Hachette). He also wrote literary and art reviews for newspapers. As a political journalist, Zola did not hide his dislike of Napoleon III, who had successfully run for the office of President under the constitution of the French Second Republic, only to misuse this position as a springboard for the coup d’etat that made him emperor.