Cover image for Thérèse Raquin
Thérèse Raquin
Zola, Émile, 1840-1902.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Thérèse Raquin. English
Publication Information:
London, England ; New York, N.Y., USA : Penguin Books, [1962]

Physical Description:
255 pages ; 20 cm.
General Note:
"Preface to the second edition (1868)": p. 21-[27].
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



One of Zola's most famous realistic novels, Therese Raquin is a clinically observed, sinister tale of adultery and murder among the lower classes in nineteenth-century Parisian society. Zola's shocking tale dispassionately dissects the motivations of his characters--mere "human beasts," whokill in order to satisfy their lust--and stands as a key manifesto of the French Naturalist movement, of which the author was the founding father.

Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)



In a dingy apartment on the Passage du Pont-Neuf in Paris, Thérèse Raquin is trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille. The numbing tedium of her life is suddenly shattered when she embarks on a turbulent affair with her husband's earthy friend, Laurent. But their passion for each other soon compels the lovers to commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Thérèse Raquin caused a scandal when it appeared in 1867 and brought its twenty seven-year-old author a notoriety that followed him throughout his life. Zola's novel is not only an uninhibited portrayal of adultery, madness, and ghostly revenge but also a devastating exploration of the darkest aspects of human existence. ÉMILE ZOLAwas born in Paris in 1840 and raised in a poor family at Aix-en-Provence. He published many masterworks, but is perhaps most famous for his incredible series of novels, Les Rougon-Macquart, one of the chief monuments of the French Naturalist Movement, which sets out to reveal scientifically the effects of heredity and environment on one family. By modern standards, TRACI SVENDSGAARDlives a simple life in Southern Oregon. In addition to a 25-year voice over career, Traci and her husband Lars host "The Retro Lounge" at JPR in Ashland. Narrating audio books is a dream come true. Excerpted from Therese Raquin by Emile Zola All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

The Background to ThTrFse Raquin
Science and Literature Progress and Positivism
The Realistic Imagination
The Birth of Naturalism ThTrFse Raquin
Narrative and Myth Plot
Narration Character Symbol and Image
Myth Conclusion
Notes to Introduction
PrTface de la DeuxiFme +dition ThTrFse Raquin
Notes to Text