Authors: Emile Zola
THE DRINKING DEN
, born in Paris in 1840, was brought up at Aix-en-Provence in an atmosphere of struggling poverty after the death of his father in 1847. He was educated at the CollÃ¨ge Bourbon at Aix and then at the LycÃ©e Saint-Louis in Paris. After failing the
twice and taking menial clerical employment, he joined the newly founded publishing house Hanchette in 1862 and quickly rose to become head of publicity. Having published his first novel in 1865 he left Hanchette the following year to become a full-time journalist and writer.
appeared in 1867 and caused a scandal, to which he responded with his famous Preface to the novel's second edition in 1868 in which he laid claim to being a âNaturalist'. That same year he began work on a series of novels intended to trace scientifically the effects of heredity and environment in one family:
. This great cycle eventually contained twenty novels, which appeared between 1871 and 1893. In 1877 the seventh of these
The Drinking Den
), a study of alcoholism in working-class Paris, brought him abiding wealth and fame. On completion of the Rougon-Macquart series he began a new cycle of novels,
Les Trois Villes
Lourdes, Rome, Paris
(1894â8), a violent attack on the Church of Rome, which led to another cycle,
Les Quatre Ãvangiles
. While his later writing was less successful, he remained a celebrated figure on account of the Dreyfus case, in which his powerful interventions played an important part in redressing a heinous miscarriage of justice. His marriage in 1870 had remained childless, but his happy, public relationship in later life with Jeanne Rozerot, initially one of his domestic servants, brought him a son and a daughter. He died in mysterious circumstances 1902 the victim of an accident or murder.
is a writer and translator who works as a freelance journalist and as television critic for
The Times Educational Supplement
. He studied at the University of Paris, where he took a degree and doctorate in French literature. He is part-author of the article âFrench Literature' in
and has published critical studies of works by Vigny and Cocteau, and three books on European cinema,
The French through Their Films
French Film Noir
(1994). He has translated a number of other volumes for Penguin, including Zola's
Au Bonheur des Dames
Translated with an Introduction and Notes by
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi â 110 017, India
Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
First published 1876
This translation published 2000
Reprinted with corrections and new title 2003
Originally published as
The Dram Shop)
Translation and editorial matter copyright Â© Robin Buss, 2000, 2003
All rights reserved
The moral right of the translator has been asserted
Map by Nigel Andrews
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject
to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent,
re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's
prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in
which it is published and without a similar condition including this
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
2 April Emile Zola born in Paris, the son of an Italian engineer, Francesco Zola, and of FranÃ§oise-Emilie Aubert.
The family moves to Aix-en-Provence, which will become the town of âPlassans' in the Rougon-Macquart novels.
Francesco Zola dies, leaving the family nearly destitute.
The rule of King Louis-Philippe (the July Monarchy, which came to power in 1830) is overthrown and the Second Republic declared. Zola starts school. Karl Marx publishes
The Republic is dissolved after the
Zola is enrolled at the CollÃ¨ge Bourbon, in Aix, where he starts a close friendship with the painter Paul CÃ©zanne.
The family moves back to Paris and Zola is sent to the LycÃ©e Saint-Louis. His school career is undistinguished and he twice fails the
The start of a period of hardship as Zola tries to scrape a living together by various kinds of work, while engaging in his first serious literary endeavours, mainly as a poet. These years saw the height of the rebuilding programme undertaken by Baron Haussmann, Prefect of Paris from 1853 to 1869, which is reflected in several of Zola's novels, including
Zola joins the publisher Hachette, and in a few months becomes the firm's head of publicity.
Makes his dÃ©but as a journalist.
Zola's first literary work, the collection of short stories,
Publishes his first novel,
Leaves Hachette. From now on, he lives by his writing.
Zola develops the outline of his great novel-cycle,
The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War leads in September to the fall of the Second Empire. Napoleon III and Empress EugÃ©nie go into exile in England and the Third Republic is declared. Paris is besieged by Prussian forces.
Publication in book form of
Son Excellence EugÃ¨ne Rougon
The Drinking Den
Zola follows the harsh realism of
Zola's next book,
Mouret reappears in
La Joie de vivre
La BÃªte humaine
The final novel in the cycle,
New evidence in the case suggests that Dreyfus's conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice, inspired by anti-Semitism. Zola publishes three articles in
Zola's open letter,
Zola begins a series of four novels,
29 September Zola is asphyxiated by the fumes from the blocked chimney of his bedroom stove, perhaps by accident, perhaps (as is still widely believed) assassinated by anti-Dreyfusards. On 5 October his funeral in Paris is witnessed by a crowd of 50,000. His remains were transferred to the Pantheon in 1908.