Publication details [#5687]

Publication type
Article in Special issue
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Person as a subject


This paper is an introduction to four aspects of Victorian censorship in the National Vigilance Association, circulating libraries, the courts, and bowdlerism and their impact en the translation of Zola's novels. In France, scandal ensured success, and the literary value of Zola's works was hotly debated by the press, but Zola was never taken to courts over his writings. On the contrary, in England, established literary circles held the Victorian translations of his novels in contempt and the National Vigilance Association, supported by the moralist Stead, launched a campaign to censor the translations. Henry Vizetelly, the editor of these translations, was required to appear two times before the courts to defend them, and both times he lost his case. Not only did he have to pay a fine and spend three months in prison, but Nana, Piping Hot! and The Soil were banned, even though these three translations had been bowdlerized by the translators and the editor prior to their initial publication. It becomes clear that Zola's interest in social reform and the intended readership lower and middle classes motivated the official opposition to these translations in England.
Source : Abstract in journal