In submitting to the English reader this translation of M. Emile Zola's latest work - the twentieth and concluding volume of the Eougon-Macquart series of novels - I wish first of all to tender on my own account a few words of explanation. Circumstances have constrained me to omit from this English version of 'Doctor Pascal' certain passages which will be found in the French original. These passages, however, are not numerous, and I do not think that their omission will in any wise prevent the reader from understanding the drift of M. Zola's narrative. I may add that the suppressions in question have been made with the authors cordial consent.
In the course of his work the illustrious novelist, as is his wont, touches upon many philosophical and social subjects. He considers - and for my own part I believe rightly - that much of the present-day vice and degradation of the human species is due to hereditary influence. He regards the criminal with compassion rather than abhorrence, considering as he does that the majority of human beings are not free agents, but are influenced in varying degrees by one or another ancestral taint which environment may modify, mitigate, or aggravate. Further, he points out in the present volume, as in the whole series of his works, the baleful influence which the abuse of strong drink exercises, both mentally and physically, on the human organism. No temperance reformer in any country has ever portrayed and denounced the vice of drunkenness so vehemently as the author of 'L'Assommoir' and 'Doctor Pascal.' Whatever view may be taken of some of his writings, it must be conceded by everyone that he has done all he could do to make men sober.