Lettres inedites a Emile Zola

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  • Lettres indites Emile Zola by Henry Card; C. A. BurnsReview by: J. H. MatthewsThe Modern Language Review, Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1959), p. 434Published by: Modern Humanities Research AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3720936 .Accessed: 28/06/2014 14:11

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  • Lettres in4dites a Emile Zola. By HENRY CuARD. Edited by C. A. BURNS, with a preface by RENE DUMESNIL. Paris: Nizet. 1958. 428 pp.

    Dr Burns presents the unpublished letters of C6ard to Zola deposited at the Biblio- theque Nationale, together with a letter taken from the dossier of Le RBve, three from that of Pot-Bouille and seven letters belonging to private collections. His edition may therefore be regarded as definitive.

    The interest of these letters varies considerably: it is a measure of the editor's thoroughness that none of the material available has been omitted. In the main, the value of this collection, as the introduction points out, lies in that it (i) throws light on the character and talents of the author of Une Belle Journee; (ii) constitutes a 'journal litteraire' of the naturalist period from 1877 to 1893; (iii) permits us to appreciate what part Ceard played in supplying documentation for several Zola novels; (iv) enables us to follow the evolution of the friendship between the two writers. Stressing this last aspect, Dr Burns sees the 241 letters he offers as primarily a 'document humain' (p. 34).

    Although the introduction draws our attention (p. 23) to Ceard's contribution to Pot-Bouille, La Joie de Vivre, La Terre and Le Reve, no mention is made of what Nana owes to his collaboration, despite the fact that there is ample proof of Ceard's co-operation in letters like the macabre no. 40 and in the dossier of the novel itself. This evidently inadvertent omission seems to support the view that the editor makes less than might have been expected of Ceard's role in furnishing information during the preparatory stages of Zola's novels. Confining himself to presenting letters only, Dr Burns leaves out the notes which C6ard in some cases appended. Precise reference is made to the dossiers where these notes may be consulted (letters 34, 69, 171) and Auriant's La Veritable Histoire de Nana is mentioned, as is an article in which Dr Burns has discussed Zola's use of these documents (p. 100). But no opportunity is afforded the reader to judge for himself the extent to which Zola relied on Ceard's diligence. One cannot help thinking that, had it proved possible to find space, if only in an appendix (if necessary at the expense of trivial letters like nos. 41, 42 and 232), for the documentary notes which Zola valued and carefully preserved, the importance of this correspondence would have been even more apparent than Dr Burns's edition makes it.

    With exemplary patience and care, the editor has prepared comprehensive notes. These are both enlightening and almost invariably fully satisfying, without ever being burdensome. Their interest is often enhanced by apposite quotation from letters from Zola to C6ard, as yet unpublished, in the possession of Brown University, Rhode Island. Cross references are most complete and there is an index of names.

    Students of the naturalist period will be grateful to Dr Burns for this well- produced volume, worthy of its place besides Desprez's letters to Zola (Les Belles Lettres, 1952), Huysmans's letters to Zola (Droz, 1953), to Edmond de Goncourt (Nizet, 1956) and to Camille Lemonnier (Droz, 1957). . H. MATEW J. H. MATTHEWS LEICESTER

    Drama of the Group. A Study of Unanimism in the Plays of Jules Romains. By P. J. NORRISH. Cambridge: University Press. 1958. xi+ 171 pp. 25s.

    The title of this book might lead one to expect a thorough-going investigation into the validity of Unanimism as an approach to drama. In fact, forty-five pages out of the one hundred and sixty pages of text are devoted to an introduction which explains-as was doubtless quite necessary-what Unanimism is, or was; and Mr Norrish is thus left with just over a hundred pages in which to come to grips with the subject proper.

    Lettres in4dites a Emile Zola. By HENRY CuARD. Edited by C. A. BURNS, with a preface by RENE DUMESNIL. Paris: Nizet. 1958. 428 pp.

    Dr Burns presents the unpublished letters of C6ard to Zola deposited at the Biblio- theque Nationale, together with a letter taken from the dossier of Le RBve, three from that of Pot-Bouille and seven letters belonging to private collections. His edition may therefore be regarded as definitive.

    The interest of these letters varies considerably: it is a measure of the editor's thoroughness that none of the material available has been omitted. In the main, the value of this collection, as the introduction points out, lies in that it (i) throws light on the character and talents of the author of Une Belle Journee; (ii) constitutes a 'journal litteraire' of the naturalist period from 1877 to 1893; (iii) permits us to appreciate what part Ceard played in supplying documentation for several Zola novels; (iv) enables us to follow the evolution of the friendship between the two writers. Stressing this last aspect, Dr Burns sees the 241 letters he offers as primarily a 'document humain' (p. 34).

    Although the introduction draws our attention (p. 23) to Ceard's contribution to Pot-Bouille, La Joie de Vivre, La Terre and Le Reve, no mention is made of what Nana owes to his collaboration, despite the fact that there is ample proof of Ceard's co-operation in letters like the macabre no. 40 and in the dossier of the novel itself. This evidently inadvertent omission seems to support the view that the editor makes less than might have been expected of Ceard's role in furnishing information during the preparatory stages of Zola's novels. Confining himself to presenting letters only, Dr Burns leaves out the notes which C6ard in some cases appended. Precise reference is made to the dossiers where these notes may be consulted (letters 34, 69, 171) and Auriant's La Veritable Histoire de Nana is mentioned, as is an article in which Dr Burns has discussed Zola's use of these documents (p. 100). But no opportunity is afforded the reader to judge for himself the extent to which Zola relied on Ceard's diligence. One cannot help thinking that, had it proved possible to find space, if only in an appendix (if necessary at the expense of trivial letters like nos. 41, 42 and 232), for the documentary notes which Zola valued and carefully preserved, the importance of this correspondence would have been even more apparent than Dr Burns's edition makes it.

    With exemplary patience and care, the editor has prepared comprehensive notes. These are both enlightening and almost invariably fully satisfying, without ever being burdensome. Their interest is often enhanced by apposite quotation from letters from Zola to C6ard, as yet unpublished, in the possession of Brown University, Rhode Island. Cross references are most complete and there is an index of names.

    Students of the naturalist period will be grateful to Dr Burns for this well- produced volume, worthy of its place besides Desprez's letters to Zola (Les Belles Lettres, 1952), Huysmans's letters to Zola (Droz, 1953), to Edmond de Goncourt (Nizet, 1956) and to Camille Lemonnier (Droz, 1957). . H. MATEW J. H. MATTHEWS LEICESTER

    Drama of the Group. A Study of Unanimism in the Plays of Jules Romains. By P. J. NORRISH. Cambridge: University Press. 1958. xi+ 171 pp. 25s.

    The title of this book might lead one to expect a thorough-going investigation into the validity of Unanimism as an approach to drama. In fact, forty-five pages out of the one hundred and sixty pages of text are devoted to an introduction which explains-as was doubtless quite necessary-what Unanimism is, or was; and Mr Norrish is thus left with just over a hundred pages in which to come to grips with the subject proper.

    Reviews Reviews 434 434

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    Article Contentsp.434

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Modern Language Review, Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1959), pp. 321-480Front MatterEdward Phillips's "Compendiosa Enumeratio Poetarum" [pp.321-328]George Meredith's "Austrian Poets": A Newly Identified Review Essay with Translations [pp.329-336]The Abbe Bergier: An Eighteenth-Century Catholic Apologist [pp.337-350]Cide Hamete Benengeli: His Significance for "Don Quijote" [pp.351-357]Genre Painting and the German Tragedy of Common Life [pp.358-367]Some Unpublished Shakespeare Notes of Ludwig Tieck [pp.368-377]Unicorn and Narcissus: A Study of Three of Rilke's "Sonette an Orpheus" [pp.378-383]Divine Love as the Unifying Principle in Vondel's "Lucifer" [pp.384-390]Miscellaneous