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.