Even though Thérèse Raquin (1867) is not Zola’s first novel (La Confession de Claude [Claude’s Confession] was written two years earlier in 1865), it is usually regarded as his first masterpiece and a worthy precursor to the famous twenty-volume cycle of Les Rougon-Macquart: Histoire naturelle et sociale d’une famille sous le Second Empire [The Rougon-Macquart: A Social and Natural History of a Family Under the Second Empire] (1871-1893). In this novel of adulterous sex, murder, remorse and madness, Zola first applies to telling effect his newly-acquired naturalist theories, as he claims in his preface to the second …
Dousteyssier-Khoze, Catherine. "Thérèse Raquin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 June 2008; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11307, accessed 27 April 2015.]