Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson is Emeritus Professor of French Studies and Translation Studies at Monash University. He is a past President of AALITRA (the Australian Association for Literary Translation), and the author or editor of twelve books on aspects of modern French and European culture, including The Cambridge Companion to Emile Zola (2007). In addition, he has translated and edited Zola's The Ladies' Paradise, Pot Luck, The Kill, The Belly of Paris, and The Fortune of the Rougons for Oxford World's Classics. He was awarded the 2015 NSW Premier's Prize for Translation. His latest publication is The Cambridge Introduction to French Literature (2015).

'Émile Zola' by Brian Nelson

August 2005, no. 273 01 August 2005
'Émile Zola' by Brian Nelson
Unlike Flaubert, the ‘hermit of Croisset’, who turned away from his age in an attitude of ironic detachment, Émile Zola (1840–1902) embraced his century in a way no French writer had done since Balzac. Zola’s ambition was to emulate Balzac by writing a comprehensive history of contemporary society. Through the fortunes of his Rougon-Macquart family, he examined methodically the social, se ... (read more)

Brian Nelson reviews 'Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du mal' by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Jan Owen

January-February 2016, no. 378 21 December 2015
Brian Nelson reviews 'Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du mal' by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Jan Owen
The Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal, 1857) is the most celebrated and most influential collection of verse in the history of modern French poetry. Its author, Charles Baudelaire (1821–67), is seen as the embodiment of a sensibility we regard as 'modern'. T.S. Eliot called him 'the greatest exemplar of modern poetry in any language'. Baudelaire's modernism is based on the experience of city l ... (read more)

'The divine stenographer: Victor Hugo and the glory of narrative' by Brian Nelson

July–August 2011, no. 333 29 June 2011
For many of his contemporaries, Victor Hugo (1802–85) was the most important literary figure of the nineteenth century. He was considered the greatest French poet; he became the leader of the Romantic movement with the staging of his anti-classical play Hernani (1830); and he wrote monumental, hugely popular novels. He was also an iconic political figure. He played an active part in the 1848 Rev ... (read more)