The Assommoir (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198828563

Émile Zola; Brian Nelson; Robert Lethbridge
528 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Sep 2021
Oxford World's Classics
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  • A new translation of this classic novel by Brian Nelson, the formidable translator of many Zola editions for Oxford World's Classics including The Fortune of the Rougons, The Ladies' Paradise, His Excellency Eugène Rougon, The Belly of Paris, and The Kill
  • Achieves the challenging task of rendering Zola's slang into contemporary English
  • Includes an up-to-date bibliography, chronology of the author, and helpful explanatory notes

'in this life, even if you don't ask for much you still end up with bugger all!'
In a run-down quarter of Paris, Gervaise Macquart struggles to earn a living and support her family. She earns a pittance washing other people's dirty clothes in the local washhouse, and dreams of having her own laundry. But in order to start her business she must incur debt, and her feckless husband cannot resist the lure of the Assommoir, the local bar that supplies all the working men with cheap spirits and absinthe. As her money troubles grow, so Gervaise's life begins to spiral out of control, and she is trapped in a vicious web of want and neglect.
The Assommoir is a pivotal novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series. In it he lays bare the terrible poverty of the Parisian underclass, living in overcrowded tenements, addicted to drink, a world of squalor, and casual violence. It contains some of Zola's most powerful and graphic writing, unforgettable portrayals of individuals and their environment, and the fine line between self-respect and ruin.


Translator's Note
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Émile Zola

Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Émile Zola
Brian Nelson and Edited by Robert Lethbridge
Brian Nelson is Emeritus Professor (French Studies and Translation Studies) at Monash University, Melbourne, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. His publications include Zola: A Very Short Introduction, The Cambridge Introduction to French Literature, The Cambridge Companion to Zola, Zola and the Bourgeoisie, and translations of Zola's His Excellency Eugène Rougon, Earth (with Julie Rose), The Fortune of the Rougons, The Belly of Paris, The Kill, Pot Luck and The Ladies' Paradise. He has also translated Swann in Love by Marcel Proust. He was awarded the New South Wales Premier's Prize for Translation in 2015.
Robert Lethbridge is Emeritus Honorary Professor of nineteenth-century French Literature at Cambridge University and Professor Emeritus of French Language and Literature at the University of London. He was formerly Master of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

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