Germinal (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 22 Oct 2003
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"["Germinal"] made me realize that when books are considered 'classics, ' most of the time they're actually very readable and exciting." --Daniel Radcliffe
["Germinal"] made me realize that when books are considered classics, most of the time they re actually very readable and exciting. Daniel Radcliffe
[Germinal] made me realize that when books are considered classics, most of the time they re actually very readable and exciting. Daniel Radcliffe
" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Emile Zola (1840-1902) was the leading figure in the French school of naturalistic fiction. His principal work, Les Rougon-Macquart, is a panorama of mid-19th century French life, in a cycle of 20 novels which Zola wrote over a period of 22 years.
Roger Pearson is professor of French at the University of Oxford. He is the author of critical works on Voltaire, Stendhal and Mallarmé and has translated Voltaire, Zola and Maupassant.
Top customer reviews
Thus begins Emile Zola's masterpiece; written with passion wrung from his soul by the poignancy of human endeavour against impossible odds. The bravery the miners show in facing up to hunger and danger frequently moves the reader to tears. This is not the degrading crime ridden poverty of Dickens' London, but more Tennyson's `honest poverty, bare to the bone.' It's 4am on a typical morning. The Maheu family from Village Two Hundred and Forty are getting ready for their shift; Maheu and his children, Zacherie 21, Catherine 15, and Jeanlin 11. Although suffering from the debilitating effects of hunger they're buoyant and exchanging ribald jests with each other. Below, far from the shaft and little hope of escape in an emergency, the men hew coal while the children wheel it away down long tunnels; tunnels barely allowing room to stand. They work semi naked in oppressive heat, choked by dust, soaked by water cascading from overhead (for the menacing underground sea known as the Torrent is eternally trying to break through), at risk from rock falls and the insidious firedamp. All for wages depressed to subsistence level. Poor little Catherine evokes the most sympathy as, `more sinned against than sinning', she stoically stands up to abuse that goes from bad to worse.
Zola explores in graphic detail the miners' lives and loves, and set against vivid portrayal of the insatiable mine as it gorges on its diet of human flesh, the narrative unwinds in steady acelleration towards the cataclysmic finale.
Apart from the miners stand the mine owner, (some mysterious power far away that nobody knows how to contact), shareholders Gregoire, manager M. Hennebeau, engineer Paul Negrel his nephew, and M. Deneulin a small entrepreneur who owns Jean- Bart, the mine adjacent to Le Voreux. Zola deals objectively with relations between labour and capital, although showing his contempt for the naïve attitude of the Hennebeau and Gregoire daughters. Not all the miners are good. Nor are all the capitalists bad. For when Lantier, moved by the appalling conditions incites a strike, hunger degenerates into famine. Bands of miners roam the area pleading for bread. Saboteurs attack the mines heedlessly ignoring the danger they're exposing their comrades to; until a wanton act destroys the mine completely. Deneulin, a reasonably benign employer for the times, is ruined when his own mine is sabotaged, and Negrel turns out to be a hero.
The strike fails and Lantier loses his influence. But there is hope, for as he leaves on a Spring day by the road he arrived on, he senses his comrades toiling away beneath his feet, wresting the coal from the depths of the earth; 'a black army of vengeance' that one day will rise and have its way. As the seeds rise from the earth--- Germinal!
Harrowing the novel may be. It will haunt you. It will tear at your heart. And you will want to read it again.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews