'Jean la Poste', Extract from Emile Zola, Le Naturalisme au Theatre
The classic status of Zola’s manifesto for dramatic Naturalism is beyond dispute, and a translation of one particular section — which outlines his theory – appears in almost every anglophone anthology devoted to Modern drama. Yet the second half of the book is much less well-known, the ‘Examples’, in which Zola analyses numerous categories of his contemporary theatre (tragedy, comedy, historical drama, patriotic drama, vaudeville, pantomime). This obscurity is perhaps a mark of the success of the revolution which Zola helped bring about: so many of these nineteenth-century genres and styles soon became obsolete. But in one of these sections, ‘Revivals’, Zola discusses a number of recent productions, and these include Jean la Poste, an adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s Arrah-na-Pogue.