The end of the world is nigh

I have long regarded Penguin Classics as one of the great civilising forces of the modern world. It is with some dismay, therefore, that I found today this post from Penguin Classics on my Facebook page:

2 April, 1840: Birthdate of French naturalist author Émile Zola. Penguin Classics publishes many of his fictions, plus his history of the Franco-Prussian War, The Debacle.

Zola’s only purely historical work, this realistic, detailed, and accurate account of France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War is a grim testament to the human horrors of war.

And this post is a grim testament to the unashamed ignorance of PR bods busy promoting works they neither know nor care about. I’m not, admittedly, the greatest expert on the works of Zola, but The Debacle (La Débâcle) was certainly a novel the last time I read it.

If even Penguin Classics no longer care about classic literature, then the end of the world really is nigh.

7 responses to this post.

  1. J’accuse, peut-être?


  2. I suppose you could call it a historical novel since it has fictional characters involved in a real historical event, but “purely historical work”!


    • Yes, I agree it’s a historical novel. But it is by no stretch of the imagination a “history of the Franco-Prussian War”!

      Penguin Classics have a wonderful catalogue, but it only ever publicises a small handful of its most popular titles. And now it seems they can’t even do that right! It’s very sad…


  3. I have incidentally, put a link to this post on the Penguin Classics Facebook page.


  4. Last time I checked, Zola wasn’t an historian. (and as far as I know, The Rougon-Macquart had a purpose which didn’t agree with the objectivity expected from a historian)

    PS: I love your rants, please don’t stop.


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