L'Assommoir

By Émile Zola; Margaret R. Mauldon | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

IT requires an imaginative leap of a substantial kind to appreciate fully the impact of L'Assommoir on its nineteenth-century reading public. At first sight, it may not seem inevitable that this story of a woman's struggle for happiness in a workingclass district of Paris should have provoked so disproportionate a reaction. Yet both its subject and its treatment guaranteed the novel a succès de scandale. Its commercial success, indeed, persuaded Zola's generous publisher to offer the writer the revised contract ultimately responsible for his considerable wealth. More significant is the fact that the novel's appearance constituted a literary event in its own right.1 It initiated a long and passionate debate about the legitimate scope and formal procedures of modern literature. Only in this context can Zola's preface, dated 1 January 1877, be understood. For rather than being a mere editorial gesture, this statement (see pp. 3-4) is just one of the very great number of similar declarations he was forced to make in response to attacks (made during the prior serialization of the novel in the press) which tell us a great deal about the cultural and political climate in which he was working. From within that same polemical context, Zola would elaborate the theoretical principles of Naturalism, as a direct consequence of L'Assommoir's reception. Its notoriety encouraged readers to unearth Zola's earlier work. And its qualities, as well as its far-flung reverberations, marked the beginning of his reputation as the most important European writer of his generation. That such contemporary concerns now seem to us like a distant echo is as unsurprising as L'Assommoir's recent designation as a 'landmark of world literature'.2 Its 'classic' status, however, depends less on the wisdom of hindsight than on a recognition, sustained and enriched by more than a century of critical interpretation, that it is because it is the most

____________________
1
See, in a seriesignificantly entitled "Les Grands Evénements littéraires", Léon Deffoux, La Publication de L'Assommoir ( Paris: Malfère, 1931).
2
Through its inclusion in the series of that name; see David Baguley, Emile Zola: L'Assommoir ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

-vii-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
L'Assommoir
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on the Translation xlvii
  • Select Bibliography l
  • Chronology lii
  • Preface 3
  • Chapter I 5
  • Chapter II 34
  • Chapter V 126
  • Chapter VII 194
  • Explanatory Notes 441
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 457

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.