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L'ASSOMMOIR by Emile Zola

Translated by Leonard Tancock


'I wanted to depict the inevitable downfall of a working-class family in the polluted atmosphere of our urban areas', wrote Zola of 'L'Assommoir' (1877), which some critics rate the greatest of his Rougon-Macquart novels. In the result the book triumphantly surmounts the author's moral and social intentions to become, perhaps, the first 'classical tragedy' of working-class people living in the slums of a city - Paris. Vividly, without romantic illusion, Zola uses the coarse argot of the back-streets to plot the descent of the easy-going Gervaise through idleness, drunkenness, promiscuity, filth, and starvation to the grave. The effect is at once humorous and pathetic.


Soft-cover (423 pages)
Penguin Classics, 1985 reprint
Very good unmarked condition Please click here to ask a question
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  • Seller location: Kapiti, Wellington, NZ

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