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Germinal (1885)

por Émile Zola

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Les Rougon-Macquart (13)

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4,496691,871 (4.14)1 / 442
The thirteenth novel in Amile Zolaas great Rougon-Macquart sequence, "Germinal" expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanityas capacity for compassion and hope. Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.… (mais)
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Inglês (56)  Francês (4)  Holandês (2)  Italiano (2)  Espanhol (2)  Alemão (1)  Hebraico (1)  Catalão (1)  Todas as línguas (69)
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This is just one book in Zola's 20-volume Rougons-Macquart cycle, his magnum opus which traces the fortunes of different branches of the same family throughout the great upheavals of 19th century France, but it got good reviews so it's the first one I read. Zola has a fantastic eye for detail in addition to his amusingly dated theories of congenital sin (the main character gets crazy when he's drunk just like his ancestors, and the other characters also have sins-of-the-father inheritances that prove something or other), and so his characters inhabit an incredibly entertaining world in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, where the protagonists battle through their love triangle while also caught in the grips of an epic coal strike. Germinal (named after a springtime month in the French Revolutionary Calendar that also signifies rebirth) reads a great deal like Upton Sinclair's masterpiece The Jungle, right down to the personal crises of the main character and the triumphalist political messaging at the end, but with French coal miners instead of Chicago meat-packers. I don't know if I'll ever track down all 19 of the rest of the series, but this was a great novel even in translation. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
In this work, Zola is much more of a journalist than a novelist. To write this book, he spent months with miners, living, working and witnessing their lives, and then wrote in the form of a novel. Brutal and critical, it shows without shame the terrible working conditions and daily life of men and women who live in a coal mine and claim improvements through a workers strike. Still Impactful and very current. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Feb 19, 2021 |
"Germinal" (1885) entrevera con la trama puramente novelesca la ambientación detallada del duro y peligroso mundo de la minería del carbón. La descripción de los rigores de la labor bajo tierra, de las condiciones inhumanas, de la rebelión de los mineros y de su brutal represión hace de esta obra uno de los más rotundos y vívidos alegatos nunca escritos en favor de los explotados y los oprimidos.
  varbes | Jan 31, 2021 |
"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. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
The initial stages of this book contrast the poverty, exploitation and moral laxity of thousands of mine workers with the complacency of the rich owners, setting the mood for the strike that takes place later.

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY

See the complete review here:

http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/335150/post
( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (64 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Zola, Émileautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Armiño, MauroTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Balzer, HansTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bannister, PhilipIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bartócz, IlonaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Becker, ColetteEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bittencourt, FranciscoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Buuren, Maarten vanEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Buvik, PerPosfácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Collier, PeterTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Ellis, HavelockTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Grant, Elliott M.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Jong, A.M. deTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lethbridge, RobertIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mahn, BertholdIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Minervini, ElisabettaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Montherlant, Henry deIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pearson, RogerTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pearson, RogerIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Roldanus, W.J.A.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sbarbaro, CamilloTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tancock, Leonard W.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Valenti, StefanoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wurmser, AndréPréfaceautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Dans la plaine rase, sous la nuit sans étoiles, d’une obscurité et d’une épaisseur d’encre, un homme suivait seul la grande route de Marchiennes à Montsou, dix kilomètres de pavé coupant tout droit, à travers les champs de betteraves.
[translation by Havelock Ellis, 1894] Over the open plain, beneath a starless sky as dark and thick as ink, a man walked alone along the highway from Marchiennes to Montsou, a straight paved road ten kilometers in length, intersecting the beetroot-fields.
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— Longtemps, ah ! oui !… Je n'avais pas huit ans, lorsque je suis descendu, tenez ! juste dans le Voreux, et j'en ai cinquante-huit, à cette heure. Calculez un peu… J'ai tout fait là-dedans, galibot d'abord, puis herscheur, quand j'ai eu la force de rouler, puis haveur pendant dix-huit ans. Ensuite, à cause de mes sacrées jambes, ils m'ont mis de la coupe à terre, remblayeur, raccommodeur, jusqu'au moment où il leur a fallu me sortir du fond, parce que le médecin disait que j'allais y rester. Alors, il y a cinq années de cela, ils m'ont fait charretier… Hein ? c'est joli, cinquante ans de mine, dont quarante-cinq au fond ! (I, i)
[translation by Havelock Ellis, 1894] "Long? I should think so. I was not eight when I went down into the Voreux and I am now fifty-eight. Reckon that up! I have been everything down there; at first trammer, then putter, when I had the strength to wheel, then pikeman for eighteen years. Then, because of my cursed legs, they put me into the earth cutting, to bank up and patch, until they had to bring me up, because the doctor said I should stay there for good. Then, after five years of that, they made me carman. Eh? that's fine--fifty years at the mine, forty-five down below."
D’une voix ardente, il parlait sans fin. C’était, brusquement, l’horizon fermé qui éclatait, une trouée de lumière s’ouvrait dans la vie sombre de ces pauvres gens. L’éternel recommencement de la misère, le travail de brute, ce destin de bétail qui donne sa laine et qu’on égorge, tout le malheur disparaissait, comme balayé par un grand coup de soleil ; et, sous un éblouissement de féerie, la justice descendait du ciel. Puisque le bon Dieu était mort, la justice allait assurer le bonheur des hommes, en faisant régner l’égalité et la fraternité. Une société nouvelle poussait en un jour, ainsi que dans les songes, une ville immense, d’une splendeur de mirage, où chaque citoyen vivait de sa tâche et prenait sa part des joies communes. Le vieux monde pourri était tombé en poudre, une humanité jeune, purgée de ses crimes, ne formait plus qu’un seul peuple de travailleurs, qui avait pour devise: à chacun suivant son mérite, et à chaque mérite suivant ses œuvres. Et, continuellement, ce rêve s’élargissait, s’embellissait, d’autant plus séducteur, qu’il montait plus haut dans l’impossible.
D’abord, la Maheude refusait d’entendre, prise d’une sourde épouvante. Non, non, c’était trop beau, on ne devait pas s’embarquer dans ces idées, car elles rendaient la vie abominable ensuite, et l’on aurait tout massacré alors, pour être heureux. Quand elle voyait luire les yeux de Maheu, troublé, conquis, elle s’inquiétait, elle criait, en interrompant Étienne : — N’écoute pas, mon homme ! Tu vois bien qu’il nous fait des contes… Est-ce que les bourgeois consentiront jamais à travailler comme nous ? (III, iii)
[translation by Havelock Ellis, 1894] With his enthusiastic voice he spoke on and on. The closed horizon was bursting out; a gap of light was opening in the sombre lives of these poor people. The eternal wretchedness, beginning over and over again, the brutalizing labour, the fate of a beast who gives his wool and has his throat cut, all the misfortune disappeared, as though swept away by a great flood of sunlight; and beneath the dazzling gleam of fairyland justice descended from heaven. Since the good God was dead, justice would assure the happiness of men, and equality and brotherhood would reign. A new society would spring up in a day just as in dreams, an immense town with the splendour of a mirage, in which each citizen lived by his work, and took his share in the common joys. The old rotten world had fallen to dust; a young humanity purged from its crimes formed but a single nation of workers, having for their motto: "To each according to his deserts, and to each desert according to its performance." And this dream grew continually larger and more beautiful and more seductive as it mounted higher in the impossible.
At first Maheude refused to listen, possessed by a deep dread. No, no, it was too beautiful; it would not do to embark upon these ideas, for they made life seem abominable afterwards, and one would have destroyed everything in the effort to be happy. When she saw Maheu's eyes shine, and that he was troubled and won over, she became restless, and exclaimed, interrupting Étienne:
"Don't listen, my man! You can see he's only telling us fairy-tales. Do you think the bourgeois would ever consent to work as we do?"
D'un élan, elle s'était pendue à lui, elle chercha sa bouche et y colla passionnément la sienne. Les ténèbres s'éclairèrent, elle revit le soleil, elle retrouva un rire calmé d'amoureuse. Lui, frémissant de la sentir ainsi contre sa chair, demie-nue sous la veste et la culotte en lambeaux, l'empoigna, dans un réveil de sa virilité. Et ce fut enfin leur nuit de noces, au fond de cette tombe, sur ce lit de boue, le besoin de ne pas mourir avant d'avoir eu leur bonheur, l'obstiné besoin de vivre, de faire de la vie une dernière fois. Ils s'aimèrent dans le désespoir de tout, dans la mort.
Ensuite, il n'y eut plus rien. Étienne était assis par terre, toujours dans le même coin, et il avait Catherine sur les genoux, couchée, immobile. Des heures, des heures s'écoulèrent. Il crut longtemps qu'elle dormait ; puis, il la toucha, elle était très froide, elle était morte. Pourtant, il ne remuait pas, de peur de la réveiller. L'idée qu'il l'avait eue femme le premier, et qu'elle pouvait être grosse, l'attendrissait. D'autres idées, l'envie de partir avec elle, la joie de ce qu'ils feraient tous les deux plus tard, revenaient par moments, mais si vagues, qu'elles semblaient effleurer à peine son front, comme le souffle même du sommeil. Il s'affaiblissait, il ne lui restait que la force d'un petit geste, un lent mouvement de la main, pour s'assurer qu'elle était bien là, ainsi qu'une enfant endormie, dans sa raideur glacée. Tout s'anéantissait, la nuit elle-même avait sombré, il n'était nulle part, hors de l'espace, hors du temps. Quelque chose tapait bien à côté de sa tête, des coups dont la violence se rapprochait ; mais il avait eu d'abord la paresse d'aller répondre, engourdi d'une fatigue immense ; et, à présent, il ne savait plus, il rêvait seulement qu'elle marchait devant lui et qu'il entendait le léger claquement de ses sabots. Deux jours se passèrent, elle n'avait pas remué, il la touchait de son geste machinal, rassuré de la sentir si tranquille.
Étienne ressentit une secousse. Des voix grondaient, des roches roulaient jusqu'à ses pieds. Quand il aperçut une lampe, il pleura. Ses yeux clignotants suivaient la lumière, il ne se lassait pas de la voir, en extase devant ce point rougeâtre qui tachait à peine les ténèbres. Mais des camarades l'emportaient, il les laissa introduire, entre ses dents serrés, des cuillerées de bouillon. Ce fut seulement dans la galerie de Réquillart qu'il reconnut quelqu'un, l'ingénieur Négrel, debout devant lui ; et ces deux hommes qui se méprisaient, l'ouvrier révolté, le chef sceptique, se jetèrent au cou l'un de l'autre, sanglotèrent à grands sanglots, dans le bouleversement profond de toute l'humanité qui était en eux. C'était une tristesse immense, la misère des générations, l'excès de douleur où peut tomber la vie.
Au jour, la Maheude, abattue près de Catherine morte, jeta un cri, puis un autre, puis un autre, de grandes plaintes très longues, incessantes. Plusieurs cadavres étaient déjà remontés et alignés par terre : Chaval que l'on crut assommé sous un éboulement, un galibot et deux haveurs également fracassés, le crâne vide de cervelle, le ventre gonflé d'eau. Des femmes, dans la foule, perdaient la raison, déchiraient leurs jupes, s'égratignaient la face. Lorsqu'on le sortit enfin, après l'avoir habitué aux lampes et nourri un peu, Étienne apparut décharné, les cheveux tout blancs ; et on s'écartait, on frémissait devant ce vieillard. La Maheude s'arrêta de crier, pour le regarder stupidement, de ses grands yeux fixes. (VII, v)
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The thirteenth novel in Amile Zolaas great Rougon-Macquart sequence, "Germinal" expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanityas capacity for compassion and hope. Etienne Lantier, an unemployed railway worker, is a clever but uneducated young man with a dangerous temper. Forced to take a back-breaking job at Le Voreux mine when he cannot get other work, he discovers that his fellow miners are ill, hungry, and in debt, unable to feed and clothe their families. When conditions in the mining community deteriorate even further, Lantier finds himself leading a strike that could mean starvation or salvation for all.

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