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  • A compelling new translation of one of Zola's most powerful novels, the fifteenth work in his famous Rougon-Macquart series that traces the fortunes of a family over five generations.
  • Earth is a vivid portrayal of peasant life on the eve of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Its graphic depiction of the spiralling disintegration of a family of agricultural workers led to the prosecution for obscenity of its first English translator.
  • Brian Nelson's previous Zola translations for Oxford World's Classics have received critical acclaim and popular recognition, and his co-translator, Julie Rose, is internationally renowned for her translations, including Hugo's Les Misérables.
  • Brian Nelson's introduction considers this most 'Zolaesque' novel, in which Zola's unflinching depiction of the bestiality and violence of the peasants brought to a head the literary debates about Naturalism.
  • Includes an up-to-date bibliography, chronology of the author, and helpful explanatory notes.

'Only the earth is immortal...the earth we love enough to commit murder for her.'
Zola's novel of peasant life, the fifteenth in the Rougon-Macquart series, is generally regarded as one of his finest achievements, comparable to Germinal and L'Assommoir. Set in a village in the Beauce, in northern France, it depicts the harshness of the peasants' world and their visceral attachment to the land. Jean Macquart, a veteran of the battle of Solferino and now an itinerant farm labourer, is drawn into the affairs of the Fouan family when he starts courting young Françoise. He becomes involved in a bitter dispute over the property of Papa Fouan when the old man divides his land between his three children. Resentment turns to greed and violence in a Darwinian battle for supremacy.
Zola's unflinching depiction of the savagery of peasant life shocked his readers, and led to attacks on Naturalism's literary agenda. This new translation captures the novel's blend of brutality and lyricism in its evocation of the inexorable cycle of the natural world.


Translators' Note
Selecto Bibliography
A Chronology of Émile Zola
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Émile Zola

Brian Nelson, Emeritus Professor, Monash University, and Julie Rose, Freelance translator
Brian Nelson has been editor of the Australian Journal of French Studies since 2002. He is well known for his critical studies and translations of the novels of Émile Zola. These include The Cambridge Companion to Zola, Zola and the Bourgeoisie, and translations for Oxford World's Classics of The Fortune of the Rougons, The Belly of Paris, The Kill, Pot Luck, and The Ladies' Paradise. His most recent publication is The Cambridge Introduction to French Literature (CUP, 2015).
Julie Rose is an internationally renowned translator, whose many translations range from Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Racine's Phèdre and André Gortz's Letter to D to a dozen works by celebrated urbanist-architect and theorist Paul Virilio, and other leading French thinkers.

NSW Premier's Prize for Translation
"Zola's novel is rich in insights like this. Its an outstanding example of Zola's storytelling in the service of a bigger picture, revealing the complexity of small village life without romanticising it or populating it with unrealistic quirky characters. Highly recommended!" - Reading Zola Blog

Product details

ISBN : 9780199677870

Emile Zola; Julie Rose
464 Pages
139 x 195 mm
Pub date
Apr 2016
Oxford World's Classics
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