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The Bright Side of Life
The Bright Side of Life
  • The first modern translation and critical edition of The Bright Side of Life, the twelfth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series
  • This major new translation by Andrew Rothwell restores the allusions to sexual passion and childbirth cut from the 1888 translation, which formed the basis for all subsequent editions
  • The first opportunity for over sixty years to read the novel in English as Zola intended it
  • Introduction and notes look at the conflict between Zola's positivist faith and the developing sciences of the day, the relationship of Pessimism with Naturalism, and the effect censorship had on the novel's reception in the English-speaking world
  • Includes an up-to-date bibliography, chronology of the author, and helpful explanatory notes

'Neither spoke another word, they were gripped by a shared, unthinking madness as they plunged headlong together into vertiginous rapture.'
Orphaned with a substantial inheritance at the age of ten, Pauline Quenu is taken from Paris to live with her relatives, Monsieur and Madame Chanteau and their son Lazare, in the village of Bonneville on the wild Normandy coast. Her presence enlivens the household and Pauline is the only one who can ease Chanteau's gout-ridden agony. Her love of life contrasts with the insularity and pessimism that infects the family, especially Lazare, for whom she develops a devoted passion. Gradually Madame Chanteau starts to take advantage of Pauline's generous nature, and jealousy and resentment threaten to blight all their lives. The arrival of a pretty family friend, Louise, brings tensions to a head.
The twelfth novel in the Rougon Macquart series, The Bright Side of Life is remarkable for its depiction of intense emotions and physical and mental suffering. The precarious location of Bonneville and the changing moods of the sea mirror the turbulent relations of the characters, and as the story unfolds its title comes to seem ever more ironic.


Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Émile Zola
Family Tree of the Rougon-Macquart


Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Émile Zola
Andrew Rothwell, Professor of French and Translation Studies, Swansea University
Andrew Rothwell is Professor of French and Translation at Swansea University. Before coming to Swansea in 1999, he was Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, in French at the University of Leeds, following temporary posts at Exeter University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. His main research interests are in translation tools and technologies, and modern and contemporary French poetry, from Dada to the present day. He has published a number of translations into English of works by Bernard Noël, Bruno Dumont and other French writers, as well as the Oxford World's Classics edition in English of Emile Zola's early novel, Thérèse Raquin.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198753612

Emile Zola; Andrew Rothwell
368 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Jul 2018
Oxford World's Classics
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The Bright Side of Life

The Bright Side of Life

The Bright Side of Life