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Germinal

ISBN-10: 0199536899
ISBN-13: 9780199536894
Edition: 2008
List price: $8.95 Buy it from $1.88
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Description: Zola's masterpiece of working life, Germinal (1885), exposes the inhuman conditions of miners in northern France in the 1860s. By Zola's death in 1902 it had come to symbolise the call for freedom from oppression so forcefully that the crowd which  More...

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Book details

List price: $8.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/1/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 576
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.100

Zola's masterpiece of working life, Germinal (1885), exposes the inhuman conditions of miners in northern France in the 1860s. By Zola's death in 1902 it had come to symbolise the call for freedom from oppression so forcefully that the crowd which gathered at his State funeral chanted'Germinal! Germinal!'.The central figure, Etienne Lantier, is an outsider who enters the community and eventually leads his fellow-miners in a strike protesting against pay-cuts - a strike which becomes a losing battle against starvation, repression, and sabotage. Yet despite all the violence and disillusion which rockthe mining community to its foundations, Lantier retains his belief in the ultimate germination of a new society, leading to a better world. Germinal is a dramatic novel of working life and everyday relationships, but it is also a complex novel of ideas, given fresh vigour and power in this new translation.

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, 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.

Peter Collier is the author (with David Horowitz) of The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty, which was nominated for the National Book Award, as well as The Kennedys: An American Drama, The Roosevelts: An American Saga, and other books. He lives in Nevada City, CA.

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