This collection of essays is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Lewis Kamm, Chancellor Professor Emeritus of French Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. During his long and successful academic career, Dr. Kamm directed eight National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer seminars. He was particularly proud of this achievement and enjoyed these engaging interactions with “some of the finest educators from across the country.” The essays in this volume, born as participants’ final seminar papers, stem from his last NEH seminar, which took place at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth campus in 2006. The seminar, the theme of which was “Balzac and Zola: Esthetics and Ethics in the Novel,” examined two novels representative of each writer’s work and their points of contact: Balzac’s "The Wild Ass’s Skin" and Zola’s "Germinal." The essays collected herein examine one or both of these novels within the context of the seminar’s theme.