Nana

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Oxford University Press, 1992 - Fiction - 430 pages
18 Reviews
Nanaopens in 1867, the year of the World Fair, when Paris, thronged by a cosmopolitan elite, was a perfect target for Zola's scathing denunciation of hypocrisy and fin-de-siècle moral corruption. In this new translation, the fate of Nana--the Helen of Troy of the second Empire, and daughter of the laundress inL'Assommoir--is now rendered in racy, stylish English.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Smiler69 - LibraryThing

Nana is the ninth installment in the 20-volume Les Rougon-Macquart series, which I undertook to read in publication order a couple of years ago. In some ways, my appreciation for this novel has grown ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Miguelnunonave - LibraryThing

The story of a high-class courtesan, written with great humour and detail. The archetypal men destroyer. Zola is a master of social realism. It probably caused a stir in its time, though it feels quite inocuous nowadays. Read full review

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About the author (1992)

Zola was the spokesperson for the naturalist novel in France and the leader of a school that championed the infusion of literature with new scientific theories of human development drawn from Charles Darwin (see Vol. 5) and various social philosophers. The theoretical claims for such an approach, which are considered simplistic today, were outlined by Zola in his Le Roman Experimental (The Experimental Novel, 1880). He was the author of the series of 20 novels called The Rougon-Macquart, in which he attempted to trace scientifically the effects of heredity through five generations of the Rougon and Macquart families. Three of the outstanding volumes are L'Assommoir (1877), a study of alcoholism and the working class; Nana (1880), a story of a prostitute who is a femme fatale; and Germinal (1885), a study of a strike at a coal mine. All gave scope to Zola's gift for portraying crowds in turmoil. Today Zola's novels have been appreciated by critics for their epic scope and their visionary and mythical qualities. He continues to be immensely popular with French readers. His newspaper article "J'Accuse," written in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, launched Zola into the public limelight and made him the political conscience of his country.

Guy de Maupassant (1850--1893), after serving in the Franco-Prussian War, became close friends with Flaubert and his circle. He wrote hundreds of short stories as well as novels and verse. In his later years, he suffered from mental illness, and he died in an asylum.
Douglas Parmee has translated works by Flaubert, Zola, Maupassant, Baudelaire, and Chamfort, among others, including the NYRB Classic "The Child" by Jules Valles. He is a past winner of the Society of Authors Scott-Moncrieff Prize for French translation. A lifetime fellow of Queens College, Cambridge, he now lives in Australia.

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