The Rougon Macquart Novels
by Emile Zola





First published in 1877

English Translations:

There are numerous translations of this work, some of which are listed below.

The Assommoir(1884)
Published by Vizitelly &co and translated by E.A. Vizitelly(?)

Privately printed by T Werner Laurie translated by Arthur Symons

The Dram Shop(1951)
Published by Hamish Hamilton, London, translated by Gerard Hopkins

Published by Elek, London, translated by Arthur Symons

Published by Penguin, translated by Leonard Tancock

The Drinking Den(2003)
Published by Penguin Classics and translated by Robin Buss

My Translation:

My translation is the Penguin classics from 2003 which is readily available in any UK bookseller. It tries to capture some of the roughness of the original.

Film Versions:

starring Line Noro

directed by René Clément and starring Maria Schell


The book is set in Paris and is almost entirely confined to the area around the Rue de la Goutte d'Or. Many of the streets referred to are still in existence and can be found to the North of Gare du Nord in what is now an area with a strong North African presence. A map showing the location of the Rue de la Goutte d'Or and the path of the wedding walk can be found here.


Of the seven novels to date in this series this is the best. It is harrowing in terms of the subject matter but still creates great characters in great set pieces. The story is that of the rise and fall into poverty and drunkenness of Gervaise Coupeau(née Macquart), but it is painted on a much broader canvas, highlighting the terrible social condition that existed in Paris at the time. It is hard not to draw parallels with Dickens and London.
The book has a number of great set pieces. The wedding(see attached pictures that follows the walk undertaken by the Coupeau's), the Saint Day's feast marking the high point of Gervaise's life, the death of old Mme Coupeau and the final illness of Coupeau are fantastic in the detail they produce.

The Coupeau family tree can be found by clicking here.

My View:



Character List

Members of the Rougon Macquart Family






Other Characters