‘La Bête humaine’ Cover Images

La Bête humaine was first published in 1890 and has been translated as The Beast Within, The Beast in Man etc. but often retains the French title.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘La Terre’ Cover Images

La Terre was first published in 1887 and has been translated as The Earth and The Soil.

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“L’Œuvre” Cover Images

L’Œuvre was first published in 1886 and has been translated as The Masterpiece.

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‘Three Faces of Love’ – a short story collection by Émile Zola

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Three Faces of Love is a short story collection consisting of the three stories ‘For One Night of Love’, ‘Round Trip’ and ‘Winkles for Monsieur Chabre’.

The two longer stories in this collection are also in other collections that I have reviewed. ‘For One Night of Love’ (Pour une nuit d’amour) is in the collection ‘For a Night of Love’ and is reviewed here. ‘Winkles for Monsieur Chabre’ (Les coquillages de Monsieur Chabre) is in the 1984 collection, The Attack on the Mill and Other Stories and is reviewed here where it has the slightly different title of ‘Shellfish for Monsieur Chabre’.

So I bought this collection recently just to get the ten page story ‘Round Trip’ (Voyage Circulaire), which I hadn’t heard of before, and so I could scan the cover for this site’s post of Lurid, Gaudy or Tasteless Covers. The cover is a classic ’60s/’70s cover using sex to sell the book. The first story certainly has a bit of sado-masochistic sex (as well as rape and murder) between Thérèse de Marsanne and Colombel and was probably the justification for the cover design. I can’t help but feel that many readers would have been disappointed when they came to read it though; unless of course they were already a fan of Zola’s work.

There is an informative introduction to this volume. After covering the obligatory biographical details the translator, Roland Grant, gives quite a few details about the stories included. Turgenev helped arrange a contract between Zola and the editors of the Russian periodical, Vyestnik Evropy (The European Herald), such that Zola contributed articles and stories from 1874 to 1880. Pour une nuit d’amour subsequently appeared in a 1882 collection which Grant describes:

The title page has a medallion drawing in pale blue of Thérèse de Marsanne riding on Colombel’s back and plying her whip on that youth’s masochistic shoulders. There is a pink frontispiece portrait of the imperious and heavy-browed heroine.

I guess the editors of that edition had the same idea as the editors of the 1969 collection.

Grant states that ‘Round Trip’ (Voyage Circulaire) was originally published posthumously in the 1929 collection Madame Sourdis. (He also mentions a short story collection by Vizetelly called ‘A Soldier’s Honour’ that I’ve never heard of before.) ‘Round Trip’ is only ten pages long and is quite a humorous tale about the newly-weds, Lucien Bérard and Hortense Larivière who can’t get a moment alone because of Hortense’s mother. Her shop was part of Hortense’s dowry but the mother still lives there and doesn’t approve of the couple kissing in the shop or making any noise at all (the walls are paper thin). The couple manage to organise a two-week railway holiday covering some towns in Normandy much to the mother’s disapproval. But when they’re on the train they still face stern looks of passengers when they try to hold hands and they have to put up with paper thin walls in the hotel rooms. They’re also bored to death with looking around historic buildings during the day. They eventually alight from the train in the middle of nowhere, find an old cottage to rent (with thick walls) and throw away their guidebook – they have a wonderful time! Hortense’s mother however, thinks it was a waste of time as they returned with no more knowledge of the historic buildings of Normandy than when they left.

Three Faces of Love (1969, Sphere Books Ltd, translated by Roland Grant).

‘La Joie de vivre’ Cover Images

La Joie de vivre was first published in 1884 and has been translated as The Joy of Life and Zest for Life.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘L’Argent’ Cover Images

L’Argent was first published in 1891 and has been translated as Money by Vizetelly and more recently by Valerie Minogue for Oxford University Press.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘Une page d’amour’ Cover Images

Une page d’amour was first published in 1878 and has been translated as A Love Episode, A Love Affair and A Page of Love.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘Son Excellence Eugène Rougon’ Cover Images

Son Excellence Eugène Rougon was first published in 1876 and has been translated as His Excellency and His Excellency Eugène Rougon.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘La Fortune des Rougon’ Cover Images

La Fortune des Rougon was the first book in the Rougon-Macquart series and was published in 1871.

For images of other covers please look on the Images page.

‘For a Night of Love’ by Émile Zola

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For a Night of Love is a short story collection consisting of three stories by Émile Zola. It was first published by Hesperus Press in 2002 and the translations are by Andrew Brown, who also translated the Hesperus Books version of The Dream.

The three stories are For a Night of Love, Nantas and Fasting. For a Night of Love (Pour une nuit d’amour) was originally published in the Russian periodical Vestnik Evropy (European Messenger) in 1876 and subsequently in L’Echo universel in 1877. Nantas was also published in Vestnik Evropy, in 1878. Fasting (Le Jeûne) was first published in 1870.

I hadn’t previously heard of any of these stories, which is exciting, but makes me wonder just how many other stories by Zola are out there that we don’t know about. Many of the stories in the collection The Attack on the Mill and Other Stories first appeared in Vestnik Evropy as well as the stories here.

The first story in the collection is For a Night of Love and begins by describing the life of loner, Julien Michon, who lives in a first-floor flat in an unnamed town (ok it’s called P***). He’s shy, large and feels ugly; he works as a copy clerk in the local post office and although his life is uneventful he’s relatively happy. If he gets bored he plays tunes on his flute, usually late at night when everyone is asleep. Opposite his flat is a large building occupied by the elderly and wealthy Marsannes whom he rarely sees. He discovers that the Marsannes have a daughter, Thérèse, who grew up with Colombel, who also works at the post office and enjoys teasing Julien. Anyway, one night whilst playing his flute he notices a girl at the window opposite, this girl is Thérèse and he falls in love with her and watches her from his window whenever possible; at some point Thérèse becomes aware that Julien is there but ignores him. One night, however, she opens her window, obviously distraught, she sees Julien at his window and blows him a kiss and summons him to ‘come’. I’m not going to reveal any more of the plot but there are similarities with another story by Zola about a Thérèse. In this story Thérèse is a bit of a sadist and is not as pure as she first appears.

The second story, Nantas, is set in Paris; the eponymous hero lives in a narrow attic room and has come from Marseilles to seek his fortune in Paris. It’s not going well but he comforts himself with his favourite phrase, ‘I’m really strong’. Unfortunately his savings have virtually run out and when he returns to his flat he’s seriously contemplating suicide but even this is difficult when you have no money. He watches the sun set and falls asleep only to be woken by a visitor, Mlle Chuin, who says that she has a proposition for him; he’s expecting and hoping for a job offer but she offers him a marriage to a young, rich girl, who is pregnant by a married man. It doesn’t take Nantas long to accept the offer. When he meets Mlle Flavie and her father a deal is made but Flavie has no interest in Nantas and their marriage just seems like another one of Nantas’s business arrangements. You’ll have to read the story yourself to find out what happens but I must admit it’s a bit predictable – brilliantly told though, and definitely worth reading.

The last story, Fasting is only a few pages long and is one of Zola’s gentle gibes at the hypocrisies of the priesthood. A baroness is in church listening to an impassioned sermon on fasting by the curate. She’s enjoying listening to him, even though she’s having trouble staying awake, but he’s reeling off his sermon in order to get away for a concert and meal with a countess. It’s a slight tale but quite a humorous one for Zola.

I’m on a bit of roll with Zola’s short stories so I’ll have to check out the two ‘Ninon’ collections next.