First Generation Reception of the Novels of Emile Zola in Britain and America

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This study is a chronological investigation of Émile Zola and his work. Its primary purpose is to provide a scholarly tool in order to facilitate research in identifying diverse British and American responses to Zola as an innovative and controversial French novelist, and to recognize the phenomenal increase of popularity Zola gained in the English-speaking world during the final quarter of the nineteenth century. Its secondary purpose is to point out Zola’s position in literature as one of the most important nineteenth-century novelists ranking him along with Balzac, Flaubert, the Goncourts, Stendhal, Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Turgenev. This is accomplished by providing: a chronological listing of translated material from 1878 to 1902 which serves as a source for directing readers to editions of Zola’s work; an annotated listing of books about Zola’s life and works; a listing of articles from various literary journals representing the criticism of Zola’s work; and a chronology of the life and works of Émile Zola.


“In the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century Émile Zola held an important place among French authors whose work had been translated into English . . . Like all great writers, Zola's fortune has waxed and waned. This exhaustive study admirably chronicles the early years of that fortune.” – (from the Foreword) Professor G. Ross Roy, University of South Carolina

“Dr. Byrd has compiled a book that is not only a first in the area but also a combined discussion by an expert level of authors reflecting on the caliber of writing by Zola. This makes the book an excellent research tool as well as an insightful exposé in its own right.” – Hanáa Raouf Dornik, Benedict College

"Dr. Alma Byrd has provided not only a thorough review of the criticism of Zola and his work in the late nineteenth century but also an insightful view of the literary scene of the period as it was reflected in the opinion and prejudices of its critics. Her book is a mirror to the pre-modern recent past when writers such as Zola were catalysts for the transition to modernity in Europe and America." Dr. Richard Williams, Assoc. Professor of Spanish and English, Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

Table of Contents

Preface by G. Ross Roy
Introductory Essay
1. Checklist of English Translations Highlighting Zola’s Novels, Short Stories, and Critical Writings
2. Books Noting Zola’s Authorship and Literary Accomplishments 1889-1899
3. Articles and Periodical Reflecting Zola’s Degree of Literacy Achievements 1877-1902
4. Chronology – A Convenient Reference of Zola’s Life and Activities Including Posthumous Publications 1840-1963
Bibliography – Newspapers, Books, Journals, of Secondary Sources

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