This month we release Germinal by Émile Zola, one of the most striking novels in the French tradition. Widely regarded as Zola’s masterpiece, the novel follows the lives of French coalminers in the 1860s and describes their working conditions in harsh and realistic terms – it is visceral, graphic and unrelenting. Its strong socialist principles and vivid accounts of the miners’ strikes meant that the novel became a key symbol in the workers’ fight against oppression. Leighton Pugh, who has updated the translation, gives us a wonderfully intelligent reading.
We are also releasing Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, the poem that set Lord Byron on his meteoric rise to fame in London society. Here read by Jamie Parker, it is a fascinating insight into one of the greatest poets in the English language: through four powerful cantos of Spenserian stanzas, the poem presents a unique glimpse into 19th-century Europe, disillusioned and ravaged by the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, while eerily echoing Byron’s own life.
New Releases – July 2015