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A Love Story
A Love Story

Shortlisted for the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize

  • The first modern translation for more than fifty years and the first critical edition of A Love Story, the eighth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series.
  • Excellent new translation by Helen Constantine, well known for her editions of Paris Tales (OUP, 2004) and French Tales (OUP, 2008) and translations of Zola, Gautier, and Balzac for Penguin and Oxford World's Classics.
  • Intoduction and notes by Brian Nelson, the distinguished translator of many Zola editions for Oxford World's Classics including The Fortune of the Rougons and The Ladies' Paradise
  • A fascinating study in sexual psychology and sexual politics that brings into question Zola's attitudes towards adultery and bourgeois marriage
  • Includes an up-to-date bibliography, chronology of the author, and helpful explanatory notes

'Everything revolved around their love. They were constantly bathed in a passion that they carried with them, around them, as though it were the only air they could breathe.'
Hélène Grandjean, an attractive young widow, lives a secluded life in Paris with her only child, Jeanne. Jeanne is a delicate and nervous girl who jealously guards her mother's affections. When Jeanne falls ill, she is attended by Dr Deberle, whose growing admiration for Hélène gradually turns into mutual passion. Deberle's wife Juliette, meanwhile, flirts with a shallow admirer, and Hélène, intent on preventing her adultery, precipitates a crisis whose consequences are far-reaching. Jeanne realizes she has a rival for Hélène's devotion in the doctor, and begins to exercise a tyrannous hold over her mother.
The eighth novel in Zola's celebrated Rougon-Macquart series, A Love Story is an intense psychological and nuanced portrayal of love's different guises. Zola's study extends most notably to the city of Paris itself, whose shifting moods reflect Hélène's emotional turmoil in passages of extraordinary lyrical description.


Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Emile Zola
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Émile Zola
Helen Constantine and Edited by Brian Nelson, Emeritus Professor, Monash University
Helen Constantine was Head of Modern Languages at Bartholomew School near Oxford before retiring from teaching in 2000. She is now a full-time translator and editor. From 2003-2012 she was co-editor of the international magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. She has published four volumes of translated stories, Paris TalesParis Metro TalesFrench Tales, and Paris Steet Tales. Her translations include The Conquest of Plassans by Zola, and Flaubert's A Sentimental Education for Oxford World's Classics.
Brian Nelson is Emeritus Professor (French Studies and Translation Studies) at Monash University, Melbourne, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has been editor of the Australian Journal of French Studies since 2002. His publications include The Cambridge Companion to Zola (CUP, 20017), Zola and the Bourgeoisie (Palgrave Macmillan, 1983), and translations of EarthThe Fortune of the RougonsThe Belly of ParisThe KillPot Luck, and The Ladies' Paradise for Oxford World's Classics. He was awarded the New South Wales Premier's Prize for Translation in 2015. His most recent critical work is The Cambridge Introduction to French Literature (CUP, 2015).

Shortlisted for the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize​

"A Love Story was such a joy to read... This is the type of book I would like to leisurely read while sitting in a Paris café, maybe that is how I will re-read A Love Story." - Michael Kitto, Knowledge Lost
"There's so much to love and admire about this novel, which has rarely appeared in an English translation." - Harriet Devine, Shiny New Books

Product details

ISBN : 9780198728641

Emile Zola; Brian Nelson; Helen Constantine
320 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Oct 2017
Oxford World's Classics
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A Love Story

A Love Story

A Love Story