Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-19th century French life, in a cycle of 20 novels which Zola wrote over a period of 22 years. Robin Buss is a translator and journalist. He has translated a number of works for Penguin Classics, including works by Dumas and Sartre.
The Drinking Denby Emile Zola, Robin Buss (Translator)
Previously published as L'assommoir (The Dram Shop), Emile Zola's The Drinking Den is an unflinching study of a desperate young woman struggling against the ravages of vice. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the French with an introduction by Robin Buss. Abandoned by her lover and left to bring up their two children alone, Gervaise Macquart has to fight to earn an honest living. When she accepts the marriage proposal of Monsieur Coupeau, it seems as though she is on the path to a decent, respectable life at last. But with her husband's drinking and the unexpected appearance of a figure from her past, Gervaise's plans begin to unravel tragically. The Drinking Den caused a sensation when it was first published, with its gritty depiction of the poverty and squalor, slums and drinking houses of the Parisian underclass. The seventh novel in Zola's great Rougon-Macquart cycle, it was the work that made his reputation. And, in his moving portrayal of Gervaise's struggle for happiness, Zola created one of the most sympathetic heroines in nineteenth-century literature. Robin Buss's translation renders Zola's street argot into clear, contemporary English. This edition also includes an introduction discussing Zola's Naturalistic method, with maps of Paris, Zola's preface responding to his critics, notes, a chronology and further reading. Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-19th century French life, in a cycle of 20 novels which Zola wrote over a period of 22 years, including Au Bonheur des Dames (1883), The Beast Within (1890), Nana (1880), and The Drinking Den (1877). If you enjoyed The Drinking Den, you might like Zola's The Beast Within, also available in Penguin Classics.
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'L'Assommoir' translated into 'The Drinking Den' is the seventh novel in Emile Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart cycle, and one of the most popular in the 20 book series. The story begins with Gervaise Macquart in a slum neighborhood prior to her husband abandoning her and their two small offspring. Poverty stricken Gervaise dreams of owning her own washing business and leading a comfortable life with her two children. Eventually events take another turn and things could not look better. As her friends and family become jealous, havoc starts to wreak on the washerwoman; and as life is not always constant things once again take a turn for the worst and soon Gervaise finds herself in another battle with poverty. A favorite book! (Although this is the seventh book in the Les Rougon-Macquart cycle it is not necessary to read them in order.)