MacLehose Press is to publish a new book to tie in with a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of author Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle of novels, which led to the downfall of Zola’s British publisher.
Associate publisher Katharina Bielenberg bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Zola and the Victorians: Censorship in the Age of Hypocrisy by Eileen Horne from Sophie Lambert at Conville & Walsh.
MacLehose Press said: “In his time, Zola made his British contemporaries look positively pastoral; much of his work is considered shocking and transgressive even now. But it was his English publisher who bore the brunt of the Victorians' moral outrage at Zola's “realistic” depictions of striking miners, society courtesans and priapic, feuding farmers.
“Seventy years before Lady Chatterley’s Lover broke the back of British censorship, Henry Vizetelly's commitment to publishing Zola, and to the nascent principle of free speech, not only landed him in the dock and thereafter in prison, but brought ruin to the publishing house he had founded. Meanwhile, Zola was going from strength to strength, establishing his reputation as a literary legend and falling in love with a girl half his age.”
Bielenberg said: “Eileen Horne’s exuberant and brilliantly researched “tableau vivant” offers a fascinating insight into the mores that informed publishing and bookselling at that time. Eileen has brought key figures vividly to life in her book, written with great empathy, wit and passion. It will become the perfect companion to the great feast of his work on the radio this autumn.”
BBC Radio 4 will begin dramatising Zola’s novels on 14th November for a week, with another series of plays to be aired in March 2016.
MacLehose Press will publish Zola and the Victorians on 12th November 2015 as a £16.99 hardback.