In July 1898, Emile Zola was sentenced to a 3000 francs fine and a year’s imprisonment for libelling the French military court in his famous public letter ‘J’Accuse’, written in defence of Alfred Dreyfus. Rather than serve the sentence, he fled solo to south London where he stayed in hotels and lodgings being minded by his long-suffering translator, Ernest Vizetelly. Michael Rosen explores the political, literary, and personal tensions and overlaps in Zola’s life during his eleven month exile.
He follows in Zola’s footsteps and examines Zola’s literary trajectory at the end of his life. Anton Lesser and Harriet Walter are the voices of Emile and Alexandrine Zola.
11th January 2015 at 6.45pm, BBC Radio 3.
Producer Emma-Louise Williams
Presenter Michael Rosen
Executive Producer Jo Coombs