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Autograph Letter Signed ("Emile Zola"), to George Moore about the translation of "A Mummer's Wife"
Paris, 14 avril [18]86. 2 pages. 8vo. Bifolium. Old folds, fine. 2 pages. 8vo. Zola to his disciple George Moore, regarding "A Mummer's Wife" A fine letter from Zola to his disciple, the Irish novelist George Moore, informing him that work has begun on the translation into French of his novel, "A Mummer's Wife," a landmark work of English naturalism. Zola notes that he that he is waiting for it to be completed before writing his preface, and comments on the nature of translation, among other things. In part: ... "On travaille á votre "Femme d'un cabotin" chez Charpentier. On en est à peu près au tiers de la composition, et j'attends qu'on me donne le tout, pour le lire et pour me mettre à votre préface. Il parait que la traduction n'est guère bonne; mais c'est le sort commun. Ne vous impatientez donc pas. Je ne vous oublie point...." [They are working on your "Mummer's Wife" at Charpentier. Almost a third has been done and I await its completion to read it and commence your preface. It seems the translation is hardly a good one, but that is the common fate. Do not get impatient then, I do not forget you....] The French translation was published as "Femme d'un cabotin" in Le Voltaire from July-October 1886, then in book form by Charpentier in 1888-- without a preface by Zola, however. Due to certain remarks made by Moore in his "Confessions d'un jeune Anglais," also published in 1886, Zola told Moore that it was no longer possible for him to write the preface. (Their friendship survived the episode; for Moore's account of their meeting on the subject, see his "My Impressions of Zola," in the English Illustrated Magazine, volume 11, pp 480 ff.) Zola's impact on Moore was profound. "While still living in Paris, a vital factor in [Moore's] decision to turn to literature had been his meeting with Zola, whose 'disciple' he soon became, with the avowed intention of introducing the French writer's 'naturalism' to England. In Moore's first realistic novel, the three-volume A Modern Lover (1883) ... he translated into an English setting the French art scene he had known so well. The book met with scant commercial success, partly due to the reluctance of the circulating libraries adequately to stock it. To circumvent such censorship, he persuaded Zola's English publisher, Henry Vizetelly, to issue his next book, A Mummer's Wife (1885), in an inexpensive one-volume format. It was the first truly 'naturalistic' novel with an English background, dealing as it did with alcoholism and the tawdry side of the theatrical world. Reviews were mixed, but it was generally agreed that a new and distinctive, if somewhat abrasive, voice had arrived on the London literary scene" (ODNB). Moore also wrote the preface to the English editions of Zola's Pot-Bouille (Piping Hot! 1885) and La Curée (The Rush for the Spoil, 1886).
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2017-10-08           Check availability:      Biblio    

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