Therese Raquin is the title of a vel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) by the French writer Emile Zola. The vel was originally published in serial format in the journal L'Artiste and in book format in December of the same year. Therese Raquin tells the story of a young woman, unhappily married to her first cousin by an overbearing aunt who may seem to be well-intentioned but in many ways is deeply selfish. Therese's husband, Camille, is sickly and egocentric, and when the opportunity arises, Therese enters into a turbulent and sordidly passionate affair with one of Camille's friends, Laurent. In his preface, Zola explains that his goal in this vel was to study temperaments and t characters and he compares the vel to a scientific study. Because of this detached and scientific approach, Therese Raquin is considered an example of Naturalism.
Emile Edouard Charles Antoine Zola; 2 April 1840 - 29 September 1902) was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'accuse.