Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower classes in nineteenth-century Paris. Zola's dispassionate dissection of the motivations of his characters, mere `human beasts' who kill in order to satisfy their lust, is much more than an atmospheric Second Empire period-piece. Many readers were scandalized by an approach to character-drawing which seemed to undermine not only the moral values of a deeply conservative society, but also the whole code of psychological description on which the realist novel was based.
Together with the important `Preface to the Second Edition' in which Zola defended himself against charges of immorality, Therese Raquin stands as a key early manifesto of the French Naturalist movement, of which Zola was the founding father. Even today, this novel has lost none of its power to shock.
This new translation is based on the second edition of 1868. The Introduction situates the novel in the context of Naturalism, medicine, and the scientific ideas of Zola's day.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classicshas made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
'Andrew Rothwell captures the tone of Th`rése Raquin, reproducing its meodramatic overstatements, accumulations and repetitions faithfully, yet at the same time his text is inventive and abounds in felicitous touches ... there is a thought-provoking discussion of the text's narrative structure, its symbolic and metaphorical patterns and the ways in which the author's exchanges with Manet and the Impressionists coloured his descriptions.'
Joy Newton, University of Glasgow, French Studies, Vol. 47, Part 3
'Three Classic tales of sexual passion, perversion, and corruption have been added to the rapidly increasing World's Classics collection, whose repertoire of nineteenth-century French novels is now impressive. The price and format of these volumes make them an obvious choice for the reader approaching them in translation, the more so since each is accompanied by a helpful general introduction ... the reader is likely to get better vaqlue here than from
other translations currently in print.'
Timothy Unwin, University of Western Australia, MLR, 89./2, 1994