Emile Zola, L'Assommoir [The Dram Shop]

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error



appeared in serial form in 1876, Zola’s bold and uncensorious presentation of the seamier sides of working-class life caused an immediate outcry, and its author was held to be immoral, depraved, even pornographic. Henry Vizetelly, its first English translator, went to prison in 1889 for daring to translate it. Zola, however, saw his novel as “de la morale en action” [“morality in action”]. It appeared as a single volume in 1877, and was an immediate success — becoming the first best-seller of the nineteenth century. The novel tells the life-story of Gervaise Macquart, a young washer-woman from Provence, abandoned in Paris by her lover, with two sons and no money. Zola had earlier considered calling the novel “La Simple vie de Gervaise Macquart”, but…

3284 words

Citation: Minogue, Valerie . "L'Assommoir". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 May 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11315, accessed 22 April 2024.]

11315 L'Assommoir 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.