The Conquest of Plassans
The Conquest of Plassans
  • The first modern translation for more than fifty years and the first critical edition of The Conquest of Plassans, the fourth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series.
  • Features members of the Rougon-Macquart family first introduced in The Fortune of the Rougons (OWC, 2012), and others, such as Octave Mouret, who will reappear in later novels including The Ladies' Paradise.
  • A fascinating study of French provincial life and the power struggles between clergy and local government, involving political intrigue, corruption, vote-rigging, financial scandal, and other topical issues.
  • Excellent new translation by Helen Constantine, well known for her editions of Paris Tales (OUP, 2004) and French Tales (OUP, 2008) and translations of Gautier and Balzac for Penguin and Oxford World's Classics.
  • Fascinating introduction and helpful notes by Man Booker Prize nominated novelist and poet Patrick McGuinness.

'Abbé Faujas has arrived!'
The arrival of Abbé Faujas in the provincial town of Plassans has profound consequences for the community, and for the family of François Mouret in particular. Faujas and his mother come to lodge with François, his wife Marthe, and their three children, and Marthe quickly falls under the influence of the priest. Ambitious and unscrupulous, Faujas gradually infiltrates into all quarters of the town, intent on political as well as religious conquest. Intrigue, slander, and insinuation tear the townsfolk apart, creating suspicion and distrust, and driving the Mourets to ever more extreme actions.
The fourth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart sequence, The Conquest of Plassans returns to the fictional Provençal town from which the family sprang in The Fortune of the Rougons. In one of the most psychological of his novels, Zola links small-town politics to the greater political and national dramas of the Second Empire.


Émile Zola

Helen Constantine and Patrick McGuinness, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of Oxford
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. Her translations include Paris Tales (OUP, 2004), French Tales (OUP, 2008), Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons (Penguin, 2007), Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin (Penguin, 2005), Balzac, The Wild Ass's Skin (OUP, 2012). From 2003-12 she was co-editor of the international magazine Modern Poetry in Translation.
Patrick McGuinness is a poet and novelist whose first novel, The First Hundred Days was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. He has translated Mallarmé, edited the works of Marcel Schwob, and written about Huysmans and other French authors. His poetry collections include The Canals of Mars and Jilted City (both Carcanet).

"This translation of a pivotal text in Zolas larger history of the Second Empire continues an ongoing effort to bring to light the naturalist novelists less-known work to anglophone readers and scholarship. Helen Constantines translation is accompanied by an insightful critical introduction written by Patrick McGuinness, as well as rather pithy explanatory notes that help to situate the narratives drama within the context of the Second Empire and the complex web of political intrigue taking place outside the world of Plassans." - Meredith Lehman, University of Texas, Modern Language Review

"There's so much more going on here, and the novel is so worth reading, for its wonderful view of French provincial life, its extraordinary characters both low-life and high-life, its satire and its tragedy. So, well done to OUP for commissioning these new translations, this one excellently done by Helen Constantine. Highly recommended." - Harriet Devine, Shiny New Books


ISBN : 9780199664788

Emile Zola; Helen Constantine
352 ページ
129 x 197 mm
Oxford World's Classics





The Conquest of Plassans

The Conquest of Plassans

The Conquest of Plassans