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The seventh novel in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, L'Assommoir (1877) is the story of a woman's struggle for happiness in working-class Paris. It was a contemporary bestseller, outraged conservative critics, and launched a passionate debate about the legitimate scope of modern literature. At the centre of the novel stands Gervaise, who starts her own laundry and for a time makes a success of it.
But her husband Coupeau squanders her earnings in the Assommoir, the local drinking shop, andgradually the pair sink into poverty and squalor. L'Assommoir is the most finely crafted of Zola's novels, and this new translation captures not only the brutality but also the pathos of its characters' lives.
This book is a pwerful indictment of nineteenth-century social conditions, and the introduction examines its relation to politics and art as well as its explosive effect on the literary scene.
'Margaret Mauldon begins her brief "notes on the translation" ... calling it "a notoriously difficult text to translate" ... if Mauldon moves on, as one hopes she will, to another Zola novel, she will not find herself facing again the difficulties that beset her with L'Assommoir and which she has overcome so brilliantly.' -- Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola (French: [e.mil zɔ.la]; 2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was a French writer, the most well-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.
He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'accuse. Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.
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