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Émile Zola (1840–1902)

Autor(a) de Germinal

733+ Works 30,410 Membros 605 Críticas 134 Favorited
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About the Author

Zola was the spokesperson for the naturalist novel in France and the leader of a school that championed the infusion of literature with new scientific theories of human development drawn from Charles Darwin (see Vol. 5) and various social philosophers. The theoretical claims for such an approach, mostrar mais which are considered simplistic today, were outlined by Zola in his Le Roman Experimental (The Experimental Novel, 1880). He was the author of the series of 20 novels called The Rougon-Macquart, in which he attempted to trace scientifically the effects of heredity through five generations of the Rougon and Macquart families. Three of the outstanding volumes are L'Assommoir (1877), a study of alcoholism and the working class; Nana (1880), a story of a prostitute who is a femme fatale; and Germinal (1885), a study of a strike at a coal mine. All gave scope to Zola's gift for portraying crowds in turmoil. Today Zola's novels have been appreciated by critics for their epic scope and their visionary and mythical qualities. He continues to be immensely popular with French readers. His newspaper article "J'Accuse," written in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, launched Zola into the public limelight and made him the political conscience of his country. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos


Obras por Émile Zola

Germinal (1885) 5,228 exemplares
Nana (1880) 3,841 exemplares
Thérèse Raquin (1867) 3,073 exemplares
L'Assommoir (1876) 2,351 exemplares
The Ladies' Paradise (1883) 2,014 exemplares
The Beast Within (1890) 1,565 exemplares
The Belly of Paris (1873) 1,165 exemplares
The Masterpiece (1886) 911 exemplares
The Kill (1871) 906 exemplares
The Fortune of the Rougons (1871) 858 exemplares
The Debacle (1892) 790 exemplares
Earth (1887) 700 exemplares
Pot Luck (1882) 565 exemplares
Money (1891) 503 exemplares
The Dream (1888) 486 exemplares
The Sin of Father Mouret (1875) 468 exemplares
The Conquest of Plassans (1874) 365 exemplares
A Love Story (1878) 355 exemplares
His Excellency Eugène Rougon (1876) 314 exemplares
The Joy of Life (1884) 302 exemplares
Doctor Pascal (1893) 284 exemplares
The Dreyfus Affair: "J`Accuse" and Other Writings (1898) — Autor — 283 exemplares
Lourdes (1894) — Autor — 134 exemplares
Paris (1898) 120 exemplares
For a Night of Love (1878) 105 exemplares
Rome (1896) — Autor — 102 exemplares
Truth (1903) — Autor — 78 exemplares
Collected Works of Emile Zola (1928) 76 exemplares
Madeleine Férat (1868) 58 exemplares
The Works of Emile Zola (1928) 52 exemplares
Fruitfulness (1900) — Autor — 50 exemplares
De avonden te Médan (1880) — Autor — 49 exemplares
The Mysteries of Marseilles (1895) 44 exemplares
The Miller's Daughter (1880) 43 exemplares
Work [=Travail] (1901) 42 exemplares
The Flood (1880) 39 exemplares
El naturalismo (1901) 34 exemplares
Les Rougon-Macquart, tome 2 (1961) 30 exemplares
Zola: Photographer (1979) 30 exemplares
Les Rougon-Macquart, tome v (1968) 29 exemplares
Claude's Confession (2010) 22 exemplares
Comment on meurt (1959) 21 exemplares
J'accuse (1998) 21 exemplares
Contes à Ninon (1898) 20 exemplares
Germinal (Lecture Facile) (1994) 19 exemplares
Four Short Stories By Emile Zola (2007) 19 exemplares
Ecrits sur l'art (1970) 17 exemplares
Carnets d'enquêtes (1986) 17 exemplares
Comment on se marie (1997) 13 exemplares
The Three Cities Trilogy (2008) 12 exemplares
Three Faces of Love (1968) 12 exemplares
Naïs Micoulin (1998) 12 exemplares
Émile Zola : Contes et Nouvelles (1976) 11 exemplares
Gesammelte Novellen (1976) 11 exemplares
Les coquillages de M. Chabre (1911) 11 exemplares
The debacle : part one (1982) 10 exemplares
La fête à Coqueville (1992) 10 exemplares
Nasil Ölünür (2019) 10 exemplares
Captain Burle (1882) 10 exemplares
Oeuvres complètes (2013) 10 exemplares
Nantas, suivi de "Madame Sourdis" (2004) 10 exemplares
A Dead Woman's Wish (1866) 9 exemplares
Trois Nouvelles naturalistes (2004) 9 exemplares
The Earth : part one (1887) 8 exemplares
The Earth : part two (1887) 8 exemplares
The debacle : part two (1982) 8 exemplares
6 verhalen (1981) 8 exemplares
Um eine Nacht der Liebe : Erzählungen (1878) — Autor — 8 exemplares
Madame Sourdis (2006) 7 exemplares
Germinal, et: L'Œuvre (1982) 7 exemplares
Piping Hot and Other Stories (1951) 7 exemplares
The Flood (Hesperus Classics) (2013) 7 exemplares
Correspondance (1982) 7 exemplares
Œuvres complètes (2011) 6 exemplares
Hayvanlasan Insan (2018) 6 exemplares
L'obra (2006) 6 exemplares
Les romanciers naturalistes (2017) 6 exemplares
Germinal (extraits) (1973) 6 exemplares
Lettres croisées: (1858-1887) (2016) — Autor — 5 exemplares
Le Roman naturaliste (1999) 5 exemplares
Avon Bedside Companion (1947) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares
Nouveaux Contes à Ninon (2019) 5 exemplares
Trois Nouvelles (1989) 5 exemplares
Romanzi vol. 1 (2010) 5 exemplares
Emile Zola (1961) 5 exemplares
Germinal : part two (1975) 5 exemplares
Edouard Manet (2012) 5 exemplares
Les Rougon-Macquart, tome 4 (2002) 4 exemplares
La ralea (1976) 4 exemplares
Fruitfulness : part two (1910) 4 exemplares
Yasama Sevinci (2013) 4 exemplares
Kuidas surrakse (2018) 4 exemplares
Contes Choisis (1974) 4 exemplares
Encre et le sang (1989) 4 exemplares
Loves' chase 4 exemplares
Lettres à Jeanne Rozerot, 1892-1902 (2004) — Autor — 4 exemplares
Rom: Band 1 3 exemplares
Germinal : part one (1975) 3 exemplares
Meistererzählungen (1982) 3 exemplares
Inimelajas : [romaan] (2013) 3 exemplares
Omnibus : De kroeg ; Liefde (1981) 3 exemplares
Nanà e l'ammazzatoio (2008) 3 exemplares
Contes à Ninon/Nouveaux contes à Ninon (2014) — Autor — 3 exemplares
Rom: Band 2 3 exemplares
Sobre el amor y la muerte (2007) 3 exemplares
L'Œuvre 2 exemplares
Nana (1989) 2 exemplares
Germinal. Tomo II (2009) 2 exemplares
Germinal. Tomo I (2009) 2 exemplares
Haita 2 exemplares
A Obra 2 exemplares
Enciclopedia del estudiante (2000) 2 exemplares
Le reve, la bete humaine (1991) 2 exemplares
O pagina de dragoste (2008) 2 exemplares
Germinal — Auteur illustré — 2 exemplares
Vaht (2008) 2 exemplares
Daamide õnn : [romaan] (1970) 2 exemplares
Romanzi 2 exemplares
El buen combate (1986) 2 exemplares
Combats pour la vérité (2002) 2 exemplares
Wszystko dla pań 2 exemplares
Lístek lásky 2 exemplares
Kertomuksia (2007) 2 exemplares
Meine Reise nach Rom (2014) 2 exemplares
Paraja — Autor — 2 exemplares
I Accuse! (2014) 2 exemplares
Дамское счастье (2005) 2 exemplares
Germinal Ciltli (2015) 2 exemplares
La Bête Humaine & L' Argent (1996) 2 exemplares
Bir Aşk Sayfası (2020) 2 exemplares
Nanà ; Teresa Raquin 2 exemplares
Pour Manet (1989) 2 exemplares
Oeuvres Complètes (2013) 2 exemplares
Itiraf (2014) 2 exemplares
Bête humaine(La) (2010) 2 exemplares
NANÁ / LA BESTIA HUMANA. (2000) 2 exemplares
Nana : 2. bindi (2012) 2 exemplares
Hulya (2001) 2 exemplares
Germinal : Extraits (2003) 2 exemplares
Aux champs (1995) 2 exemplares
Gercek 2 (2016) 2 exemplares
Drei Erzählungen (1984) 2 exemplares
Lettres à Alexandrine: (1876-1901) (2014) — Autor — 2 exemplares
Haita 2 exemplares
APARTMAN 1 2 exemplares
Shame 2 exemplares
Apartman (2013) 2 exemplares
Gercek 1 (2016) 2 exemplares
Cuentos completos (2017) 2 exemplares
NANA (Quick Reader 103) (1943) 2 exemplares
Racconti 2 exemplares
Urbeit 1 exemplar
Écrits sur la musique (2013) 1 exemplar
Fays of the Sea and Other Fantasies (2021) — Contribuidor — 1 exemplar
Párizs : regény 1 exemplar
The Gin Palace | Nana (1963) 1 exemplar
O paraíso das damas (2010) 1 exemplar
Fällan, vol II 1 exemplar
La tierra tomo 1 1 exemplar
Bucuria de a trăi 1 exemplar
La tierra tomo 2 1 exemplar
Faldgruben : Roman 1 exemplar
Čovjek zvijer 1 exemplar
Zola Emile 1 exemplar
BİR AŞK SAYFASI 2 (1990) 1 exemplar
BİR AŞK SAYFASI 1 (1990) 1 exemplar
Les Repoussoirs (2013) 1 exemplar
Zola's Werken 1 exemplar
Selections from EÌmile Zola (1905) 1 exemplar
Sapnis : [romāns] (1992) 1 exemplar
Prapadul 1 exemplar
Texts for Art 1 exemplar
Fällan, vol. I 1 exemplar
Rome, vol. 2 1 exemplar
Nana, et: Pot-Bouille (1996) 1 exemplar
Taccuini (1987) 1 exemplar
Escritos sobre Manet (2010) 1 exemplar
Los vecinos (1985) 1 exemplar
Rome, vol 1. 1 exemplar
Cuentos crueles (2004) 1 exemplar
Un bagno — Autor — 1 exemplar
Literatura y dinero (2020) 1 exemplar
Germinal (2010) — Auteur illustré — 1 exemplar
Racconti scelti 1 exemplar
Νανά 1 exemplar
Ζερμινάλ 1 exemplar
Madame Sourdis 1 exemplar
Racconti a Ninetta 1 exemplar
Como se morre 1 exemplar
La taberna (1975) 1 exemplar
Saloanele mele 1 exemplar
MAIS MICOULIN 1 exemplar
Nana : 1. bindi 1 exemplar
Κατηγορώ 1 exemplar
Kod ženskog raja 1 exemplar
Oeuvres complètes. Tome 1 (2002) 1 exemplar
Tereza Raken (2010) 1 exemplar
O regabofe 1 exemplar
Miserias Humanas 1 exemplar
ז'רבאז 1 exemplar
Erinnerungen 1 exemplar
Maloe Sobranie Sochinenij (2010) 1 exemplar
Moteru laime 1 exemplar
Moteru laime II 1 exemplar
Du roman (1989) 1 exemplar
Face aux romantiques (1999) 1 exemplar
Werke (1982) 1 exemplar
Radość życia 1 exemplar
Zdobycz 1 exemplar
W matni 1 exemplar
Pieniądz 1 exemplar
Kuchenne schody 1 exemplar
Dzieło 1 exemplar
Marzenie 1 exemplar
Ziemia 1 exemplar
Kartka miłości 1 exemplar
Klęska 1 exemplar
Wszystko dla pań (1992) 1 exemplar
Nouvelles naturalistes (2012) 1 exemplar
GERMINAL Easton Press (1992) 1 exemplar
Acuso... Livro 1 1 exemplar
La jauría: 89 (Minus) (2022) 1 exemplar
Les mystères de Marseille (2021) 1 exemplar
La disfatta 1 exemplar
Terēza Rakēna 1 exemplar
Döl Bereketi (2020) 1 exemplar
Le naturalisme au théâtre (2002) 1 exemplar
La reve: extraits 1 exemplar
La Fiesta De Coqueville (2011) 1 exemplar
Nos Auteurs 1 exemplar
Nouvelle Campagne 1 exemplar
Pinigai 1 exemplar
Obra Selectas II 1 exemplar
O Simplório 1 exemplar
Gerçek I-II 1 exemplar
Toprak I-II 1 exemplar
Emek I-II 1 exemplar
Obras Inmortales 1 exemplar
Vida en común 1 exemplar
La Tierra 1 exemplar
Obras Selectas I 1 exemplar
Obras selectas (2002) 1 exemplar
Emek(2 Cilt Takim) (1996) 1 exemplar
Diario romano 1 exemplar
A suplica 1 exemplar
Nouvelles réalistes (2010) 1 exemplar
Restless House 1 exemplar
The Kill 1 exemplar
La reve 1 exemplar
Trbuh Pariza (2003) 1 exemplar
Země = (La terre) 1 exemplar
Práce 1 exemplar
Emile Zola: Die Beute (1965) 1 exemplar
De kopstoot: roman (2020) 1 exemplar
Ἡ Νανά 1 exemplar
Die Erde Bd. 1 1 exemplar
Die Erde Bd. 2 1 exemplar
℗La ℗Terre 1 exemplar
Pieniądz 1 exemplar
Pariisi koht : [romaan] (2002) 1 exemplar
Dietro la facciata 1 exemplar
Capt. Burle | Nana 1 exemplar
Savage Paris 1 exemplar
Zest for life 1 exemplar
Lesson in love 1 exemplar
Zmogus zveris 1 exemplar
Blood, Sex and Money: BBC Radio 4 Drama (2019) — Rougon-Macquart series author — 1 exemplar
Frugtbarhed 1 exemplar
Germinal [VHS] 1 exemplar
Gerçek 1 exemplar
Dreyfus Olayı 1 exemplar
PLASSANS PAPAZI (2021) 1 exemplar
TAZI PAYI (2020) 1 exemplar
YIKILIS (2018) 1 exemplar
ROUGON'LARIN YUKSELISI (2020) 1 exemplar
De ondergan 1 exemplar
Kod ženskog raja 1 exemplar
Yaşama Sevinci 1 exemplar
Nana by Emile Zola 1 exemplar
The Joy of Life (2018) 1 exemplar
Truth (2017) 1 exemplar
Germinal tome 1 et 2 (1926) 1 exemplar
Človek zver 1 exemplar
Nouvelles roses (2013) 1 exemplar
Romanzi (2015) 1 exemplar
APARTMAN 2 1 exemplar
APARTMAN 3 1 exemplar
The Invisible Man 1 exemplar
I grandi romanzi (2013) 1 exemplar
Parisian Sketches 1 exemplar
Do romance (1995) 1 exemplar
1900 1 exemplar
Gerard de Nerval 1 exemplar
Erzählungen — Autor — 1 exemplar
Sidoine e Médéric (2004) 1 exemplar
Lettres de Paris 1 exemplar
Théâtre 1 exemplar
Pieniądz 1 exemplar
Klęska 1 exemplar
Zdobycz 1 exemplar
Brzuch Paryża 1 exemplar
W matni 1 exemplar
Bestia ludzka 1 exemplar
Kartka miłości 1 exemplar
Kuchenne schody 1 exemplar
Wszystko dla pań 1 exemplar
Radość życia 1 exemplar
Germinal. T. 2 1 exemplar
Germinal. T. 1 1 exemplar
Chleb i węgiel 1 exemplar
Ziemia 1 exemplar
SLOM 1 exemplar
Žerminal 1 exemplar
Η ταβέρνα 1 exemplar
Shpartallimi 1 exemplar
Krytyka miłości 1 exemplar
Ana 1 exemplar
Dzieła wybrane 1 exemplar
Dzieło 1 exemplar
Vérité 1 exemplar
Prawda. T. 2 1 exemplar
Prawda. T. 1 1 exemplar

Associated Works

Critical Theory Since Plato (1971) — Contribuidor, algumas edições393 exemplares
A Documentary History of Art, Volume 3 (1966) — Contribuidor — 152 exemplares
The Penguin Book of Horror Stories (1984) — Contribuidor — 138 exemplares
The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories (1984) — Contribuidor — 122 exemplares
Paris Tales (2004) — Contribuidor — 107 exemplares
French Short Stories (1998) — Contribuidor — 83 exemplares
Horror Stories: Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson (2014) — Contribuidor — 43 exemplares
The Vintage Book of Classic Crime (1993) — Contribuidor — 33 exemplares
Great French Short Novels (1952) — Contribuidor — 31 exemplares
Erotic Tales of the Victorian Age (1998) — Contribuidor — 30 exemplares
Sexuality and Masquerade: The Dedalus Book of Sexual Ambiguity (1996) — Contribuidor — 30 exemplares
Vingt et un contes (1934) — Contribuidor — 28 exemplares
La Bête Humaine [1938 film] (1938) — Original novel — 27 exemplares
The World's Greatest Books Volume 08 Fiction (1910) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares
The Book Lovers (1976) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares
Thirst [2009 film] (2010) — Original book — 24 exemplares
The Body and the Dream - French Erotic Fiction 1464-1900 (1983) — Contribuidor — 21 exemplares
The World of Law, Volume II : The Law as Literature (1960) — Contribuidor — 21 exemplares
Zola (1952) — Contribuidor — 20 exemplares
The Masterpiece Library of Short Stories Volumes 3 & 4 (1900) — Contribuidor — 17 exemplares
Germinal [1993 film] (1993) — Original novel — 17 exemplares
L'assommoir, Zola (1994) — Contribuidor — 15 exemplares
Great Short Stories Volume 3: Romance and Adventure (1906) — Contribuidor — 14 exemplares
Favourite Scary Stories from Graveside Al (1996) — Contribuidor — 11 exemplares
Favorite Animal Stories (1987) — Contribuidor — 11 exemplares
Germinal Zola (1970) — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares
Thérèse Raquin [1953 film] (1953) — Original book — 10 exemplares
International Short Stories French (Volume 3) (2010) — Contribuidor — 7 exemplares
Favourite Sea Stories from Seaside Al (1996) — Contribuidor — 7 exemplares
Great Love Scenes from Famous Novels (1943) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares
Profil D'Une Oeuvre: Zola (French Edition) (1982) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares
Profil d'une oeuvre : La bête humaine, Zola (1999) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares
Profil bac - zola : germinal (1999) — Contribuidor — 4 exemplares
Profil d'une œuvre. Germinal, Zola (1991) — Contribuidor — 4 exemplares
Nana [1926 film] — Based on the novel by — 3 exemplares
Le livre Terre humaine (1993) — Contribuidor — 3 exemplares
French short stories (1933) — Contribuidor — 2 exemplares
Profil d'une oeuvre : Thérèse Raquin, Emile Zola (1999) — Contribuidor — 2 exemplares
Emile Zola Germinal (1984) — Contribuidor — 1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum



A tale of two Nanas em George Macy devotees (Setembro 9)
Germinal by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Setembro 2018)
Mad on Zola, all right em Mad on Zola (Janeiro 2015)
Emile Zola - Resources and General Discussion em Author Theme Reads (Março 2014)
The Beast Within by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Fevereiro 2014)
The Ladies' Paradise by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Agosto 2013)
The Kill by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Agosto 2013)
The Belly of Paris by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Julho 2013)
L'Assommoir by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Julho 2013)
The Conquest of Plassans by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Maio 2013)
Nana by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Maio 2013)
Abbe Mouret's Sin by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Abril 2013)
His Excellency Eugene Rougon by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Janeiro 2013)
The Fortune of the Rougons by Zola em Author Theme Reads (Janeiro 2013)


Big, sprawling, heartbreaking - only the French can do Zola right.
JulieStielstra | Nov 11, 2023 |
"When you're young you think that you're going to be happy later on, there are things you look forward to; and then you keep finding you're as hard up as ever, you stay bogged down in poverty... I don't blame anyone for it, but there are times when I feel sick at the injustice of it all."

In the thirteenth novel of Zola's staggering Rougon-Macquart cycle, we are reunited with Étienne Lantier, brother of Nana and son of Gervaise, the pathetic heroine of L'Assommoir (neither of which is required reading here, although the latter is my favourite of the cycle thus far). Étienne, impoverished and unemployed, finds himself at the coal mines of Le Voreux, where he attempts to radicalise the miners and their families into a strike to protect their working conditions.

By now, Zola was at the peak of his powers. Buoyed by a fear that he would reach death or senility before the planned end of his great series of novels, the author found himself writing with a renewed vigour. While he has previously explored the lives of the working classes in L'Assommoir, this was to be a novel about active resistance, as opposed to the "passive" poverty of the former. Although Étienne has dreams for a great socialist state, most of the miners are fighting not for revolution but to hang on to their existing (barbarous) conditions in the face of new restrictions imposed by management. Living in the factory town - with the cookie-cutter name of Village Two Hundred and Forty - entire generations trudge each morning to the mines, children being enrolled as soon as they are able, with the oldies transitioning to above-ground work once the back-breaking labour becomes too much. Their life is one of 'knowing their place', like the heartbreaking - and richly symbolic - horses, Bataille and Trompette, who have served their entire adult lives hundreds of metres below ground, clinging to some atavistic memory of sunlight. And always in the background, the mine of Le Voreux "crouching like a vicious beast of prey, snorting louder and longer, as if choking on its painful digestion of human flesh".

I read the final chapters of the novel during the early stages of the 2020 global pandemic, which was an interesting parallel to stories of families scraping to get by, pantries exhausted of resources as the strike drags on, vacillating between the two great human urges of kindness to others and self-preservation. Zola chooses a different narrative tone for each of his novels, and here his narrator is scrupulously fair. This is not the same voice that moralised on Nana or gossiped about the sex lives of the characters in Pot-Luck. This is Zola the social anatomist, asking the reader to decide from the evidence alone whether the current system is a fair one. The ownership class are either cautiously sympathetic, too removed to be aware of the reality of the situation, or pitying... but appreciative of the hierarchical nature of society ("Doubtless they were brutes", says one such with compassion, "but they were illiterate starving brutes"). The peasant mob is too easily spurred on by their hunger and oppression to commit acts of grotesque violence (the single most stomach-churning scene in the series thus far occurs, but I'm not going to repeat it here). And the extreme radicals whom Étienne admires are - like the advocates of social reform in any modern era - all too easily caricatured by the media and the bourgeois to appear as ungrateful or even spiteful.

In short, there is no way to win. Accepting the status quo is an implicit death-knell for oneself and one's children and grandchildren. Politely asking for more is a humiliating and fruitless task. Pushing for it, demanding it, taking it by force is considered the act of brutes - and indeed, often is barbaric in its execution. (Zola's refusal to sugar-coat the lives and intentions of the poor, just as the rich, is especially remarkable - contrast with his contemporary, Charles Dickens.) Germinal is not without hope, but it is a distant hope, a plea for an awakening. This is a novel of ideas, at heart, although Zola's delight in crowd scenes, dissection of character, and "spirit of place" remain on show. Most of his novels have at least one great set-piece, and here it is the final 100 pages, in which a great catastrophe is recounted in excruciating detail. (As always, the author had spent some brief time at an actual coal mine to understand the intricacies of the field.)

There is an additional note for modern readers, which we should keep in mind. Although set in the mid-1860s (the peak of Second Empire France), this was being written in 1884, the year in which trade unions were finally legalised in what was now the Republic of France. Zola was reflecting on the importance of a movement, although many of the outrageous practices chronicled herein still continued, in France as in other countries. And I would be remiss not to mention a translation: go for a modern one. I read Peter Collier's, as I am devoted to the Oxford series, but what's important is to avoid anything older than the 1970s. You will be inevitably faced with cuts, extreme censorship, or just archaic prose. Avoid it!

Subjectively, Germinal easily sits within my Top Five of Zola's series but from an objective standpoint, it is perhaps the most important.
… (mais)
therebelprince | 76 outras críticas | Oct 24, 2023 |
"Sin ought to be an exquisite thing, my dear."

A scathing indictment of Paris during the rise of the Second Empire, Zola here centres his novel around a man driven by power and a woman driven by insatiable desires with a refusal to self-analyse (shades of His Excellency Eugene Rougon). The gorgeous descriptions, running multiple pages at a time, of palatial estates springing up across the city create a banquet so rich it spoils. Zola consciously overwhelms our senses as he examines how the twinned greed of Saccard and Renee exemplifies the grotesque abundance that characterised this era. (Strange, in a way, to imagine him writing this in the period immediately following the Empire.)

As usual with Zola, symbolism is rich and plentiful. The houses are decorated in images of life: fruit and flowers and plants, but which are made of stone, images only of the nature from which they are removed. (At book's end, one character will weep "at not having listened to the voices of the trees".) The "kill" referred to in the novel's title is that which is killed by dogs during a hunt. For each of the main characters, there is a desire to claim that kill - whether it be pleasure, power, money, or something else entirely - but such a goal requires a great sacrifice of one's self.

Zola's obsession with the idea that characteristics and traits are passed down perhaps becomes a bit of a distraction during this novel, especially with the son Maxime who displays worrying (read: bisexual or at least epicene) traits which one feels that the author disdains. And his evident desire to write a novel of the moment, one set in a world with which contemporary readers were familiar, means this novel stretches the brain a little more than, say, The Fortune of the Rougons where only a few footnotes are required to assist with the powerful atmosphere. Here, one gets the sense that the supporting characters are all strongly recognisable types or even direct references - roman a clef - that do not resonate 150 years on.

But that's the dismissive part out of the way. This is an engaging chapter in the ongoing Rougon-Macquart series. The best part is that there was plenty of symbolism even without the author. The boulevards that went up and the complete reconstruction of Paris under the Second Empire were directly political acts. (In Zola, perhaps everything is political.) As Brian Nelson notes in his excellent introduction for the recent Oxford World's Classics edition, they were acts of power - ripping through districts of the poor or disenfranchised, and creating easy avenues for troops to be deployed in the event of an uprising. They were also very much acts of capitalism, both in the way the rich fattened themselves on the spoils, and also in the Paris they created, so much better prepared for the age of "gold and flesh" Zola reflects upon.

Fun fun.
… (mais)
therebelprince | 17 outras críticas | Oct 24, 2023 |
"Hélène cast her eyes slowly round the drawing room. In this worthy company, amongst this bourgeoisie which seemed so respectable, were there then only guilty women?"

After the sensational success of his grimy 1877 novel [b:L'Assommoir|92967|L'Assommoir|Émile Zola|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1309282204l/92967._SY75_.jpg|741363], Zola threw his audience for a loop with the eighth in his Rougon-Macquart cycle. From the broken streets of Paris, we find ourselves in Passy, at the time an independent commune overlooking the capital, in the life of Hélène Grandjean, distant cousin to L'Assommoir's tortured Gervaise. And what a difference a gene makes. Hélène is a quietly independent widow, living with her daughter Jeanne in a house overlooking the city of Paris. Hers is a quiet life, interrupted only by her maid's modest love affair and a regular Tuesday dinner with her priest and his brother. (Hélène's life is so insular, we don't even leave her street until halfway through the novel!)

What unravels Hélène's existence is falling in love with the rather handsome, and rather married, doctor next door. It's a flirtation that may never be consummated, and exists almost entirely in knowing looks and outwardly polite conversations. Building over many months, the platonic affair between Hélène and Henri comes to an emotional climax when two fuses are lit: one, the temptations of Henri's socialite wife, and the other, the poor health of young Jeanne.

A Love Story (perhaps more accurately A Page of Love) was one of Zola's favourite titles, both for its irony (can darting looks across a picnic be considered "love"?) and for its many applications in the story. There is young love, unrequited love, maternal love, and so on. And it feels in many ways out of sync with the previous books in its series. They have for the most part been fierce, angry studies of class and society. The closest analogue has been The Sin of Abbe Mouret which was a similarly focused psychological study, although that one lent itself to fantasy, whereas A Love Story is constantly naturalistic - except in its key setpieces, as below. Although this book has been translated and adapted, it feels like one of the least known in the series, and I think that's understandable. Very little happens here. The author is almost testing himself, to see if he can create a study centering entirely around one person's mind, and the complexities of a relationship that barely even warrants a kiss until the novel's climax. And, in this sense, it feels out of step in a series that is ostensibly telling "the history of the French Second Empire" - until we recall that Zola also (perhaps primarily) wanted to tell the story of a single family, and the way that their genes and emotions (largely pseudoscience now) were passed on, and transmuted between generations.

While I wouldn't include A Love Story on my top recommendations to a new Zola reader, I think it is a delicately-woven, beautifully told story. It's probably an example of a book that would have worked better originally when it was being serialised, then as a novel to be read in one sitting, but there's a lot to love here. As always, Zola imbues every character with nuance and sharp descriptive insight. He intimately tracks Hélène's psychological journey in ways that make her feel a completely lived personage, even if she is neither as ambitious as Eugène Rougon, driven as Florent Quenu, self-deceiving as Gervaise Macquart, or zealous as Marthe Rougon.

Most famously, of course, are Zola's luminous descriptions of Paris. Each of the novel's five parts closes with a languid description of the city as seen from the Grandjeans' windows, recounting perhaps the Impressionist paintings that Zola's contemporaries, including his boyhood friend and fellow artistic revolutionary Cezanne, were creating during his lifetime. The descriptions are glorious for their historical detail, for the showcasing of Zola's ability to create entire worlds out of one setting, and vary his descriptive powers many times over, like the individual shades and tinges created from a painter's palette. They're also the only moments where the novel flirts with non-naturalism, as it becomes clear that the different views of Paris (during a storm, darkened at night, glistening with the blood-red gold of sunset) draw us into the emotional turmoil of our central character and, later, her daughter.

A sad little lesson. I wonder if we will meet Hélène again on our journey, and what others will make of her. For now, she can return to the familial tapestry the author has created, to be found again at - we hope - some more fortuitous moment in life.
… (mais)
therebelprince | 7 outras críticas | Oct 24, 2023 |


AP Lit (1)
Europe (3)
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