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The Ladies' Paradise (BBC tie-in) (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Émile Zola , Brian Nelson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Oct 2012 Oxford World's Classics
The Ladies' Paradise is a compelling story of ambition and love set against the backdrop of the spectacular rise of the department store in 1860s Paris. Octave Mouret is a business genius who transforms a modest draper's shop into a hugely successful retail enterprise, masterfully exploiting the desires of his female customers and ruining small competitors along the way. Through the eyes of trainee salesgirl Denise we see the inner workings of the store and the relations and intrigues among the staff, human dramas played out alongside the relentless pursuit of commercial supremacy. Now adapted for BBC Television and given a British setting in The Paradise, Zola's novel is a masterly portrayal of life in the bustling, gossipy world of the best department store in town. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; BBC tie-in edition (4 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199675961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199675968
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Brian Nelson's lively translation of Au Bonheur des Dames, which was inspired by the revolutionary "Bon Marche" department store, reminds us that this was a ground-breaking book about a seismic shift in social behaviour and gender roles: the first shopping-and-striving epic. Boyd Tonkin, The Independent i

About the Author

Brian Nelson is an Emeritus Professor of French Studies and Translation at Monash University, Melbourne. He is the author or editor of twelve books on aspects of modern French and European culture, including The Cambridge Companion to Emile Zola, and he has translated four other Zola novels for the Oxford World's Classics series.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favourite 5 Oct 2012
If you are currently watching The Paradise [DVD] on tv (which so far two episodes have been shown) you will have seen that the story was adapted from Zola's great novel. I should point out that it is a bit misleading, and it would have been much better to say inspired by the book. Anyway, you have been warned, the period drama is to a certain extent fluffy and a bit glamorous, however the real story as presented here, Au Bonheur des Dames, isn't like that. Even if you can't stand the period drama, you may find that you are going to love this story.

For me I think this is now the third copy of this story that I have owned; I started my working life in an old building, that was a department store, you still had the tiny rooms in the attics where the female staff resided years beforehand, whereas the junior men slept under counters on the shop floor. With that background it was inevitable that I would lap this book up. Also I should point out that this is the eleventh novel in the 'Rougon-Macquart Cycle' being the sequel to Pot Luck (Pot-Bouille) (Oxford World's Classics), but this is a fully enclosed novel, so don't worry if you have never read any of the other books, or even if this is the first Zola novel that you have ever read.

The actual story works in two ways as such, you have the owner of The Ladies' Paradise, Octave Mouret who is a great womanizer and even preys on his female staff becoming smitten with Denise Baudu, one of his staff. Denise has come to Paris hoping to stay with her uncle as she has her two younger brothers to try and support.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ladies Paradise 8 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The television series made me curious to read the original story of The Ladies Paradise. If you have ever been an impulse buyer or a shopaholic, then you should read this book. It so clearly describes the business of selling! Emile Zola writes vividly of the beauty and glamour of the store and the consequent demise of the independent retailers. Swamped by the advantages The ladies Paradise can offer to the customer, using high turnover and low prices as a means to gain enormous profits overall, they cannot compete. All this is told through the captivating love story that develops between the extraordinary shop assistant Denise and Mouret, the owner of The ladies Paradise.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic revived by the catching new BBC series 12 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed reading Emile Zola's novels. The new BBC series Paradise, which I have been enjoying watching, reminded to read Zola's novels again. It is an curious look into lives of newly created middle classes that being born by the industrial revolution and birth of retail marketing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 9 Nov 2012
By Libby6
Bought this as I love the TV.
It is different to the TV but I have read it several times.
It has different characters and quickly Moray likes Denise and has no Katherine in it.
I would recommend it to anyone!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not a comment about the work, its an exellent novel already reviewed many times over the years.

This particular product is printed on very poor trnasparent paper and the typeset is too samll to read comfortably.

I would recommend you spend a bit more on a better quality publication otherwise you may be distracted by the poor quality of the material
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece 2 Aug 2013
By Alenka
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I realy pity all people who criticize this book and I would like to ask them: What was before, a novel or a TV series? Who adapted who? People who prefer sugar coated Tv emissions to reading good book quit after few chapters. Of course, you should be concentrated and not party somewhere else. I do not understand Mrs. Kate who complained about too many French names. Does she read only boks of English origin? What about me, who is neither English nor French and have to read English version as I do not have a translation in my language? How many foreign names do I meet when I read French, English, German... novels! I do not want to humiliate anyone, but such criticism simply raised my pressure.

My regards to all Zola admirers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies ' Paradise 10 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent novel as expected from an internationally renowned author. The depiction of the shopping experience in the 19th century is superb, the characterisation and storylines riveting. I was very sorry when I reached the end of the book.
The story is different to the TV dramatisation but is as enjoyable and allows the reader to explore the characters in greater depth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ladies Paradise 31 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nice good feel book to read. It keeps the reader engaged thought out the events of the story. It's a great addition to all the classic books in someones collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ladies' Paradise
I bought this as I wanted to read the original text and enjoyed it very much. As many other reviewers have stated, do not purchase this if you are expecting to read about the... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Laura J
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as seen on TV!
Don't expect this to be the story of "The Paradise" TV series.It does broadly follow the outline but is much more detailed with characters more fleshed out. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Valerie J Lynch
4.0 out of 5 stars My husband liked this book
Bought my husband this book for Xmas. He read it whilst undergoing treatment in hospital. He liked it. It was a good distraction for him. Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. W. Barratt
5.0 out of 5 stars ladies paradise
an excellent translation of a fascinating novel by emile zola. His writing is always graphic. this one gives a good idea of early department store.
Published 3 months ago by Dr P M Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars the Paradise
Quite different from the TV show but excellent none the less. I honestly do not know which I prefer so I will say I adore them both. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Biddy429
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books ever!
I bought this book after watching the first series of the BBC's "The Paradise." I then read a review on here saying it was quite different from the TV series and not much of a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jammee
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I am reading this book at the moment and it is very different from the tv show but just as good.
Published 3 months ago by cherrybee
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad I read it but...
It's interpretation by the bbc is very different. I still don't know what is going to happen on the tv series, the book had a happy ending, I'm not convinced the series will!
Published 4 months ago by MJG
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ladies Paradise by Smile Zola
This is the book that The Paradise television series is based on, although I have to say it is very very loosely based! Read more
Published 4 months ago by P. A. Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly good!
I enjoyed the BBC series based on the book, and decided to purchase the the itself. It differs very much from the TV series, but that does not matter, it is also very enjoyable.
Published 6 months ago by marketa dvoracek-novak
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