Emile Zola


Zola, Emile. Germinal. 1885. Translated by Peter Collier. Oxford, EN: Oxford University Press, 2008. Paperback: 9780199536894.


“Zola’s masterpiece of working life, Germinal (1885) exposes the inhuman conditions of French miners in the 1860s. The central figure, Etienne Lantier, is an outsider who enters the community and eventually leads his fellow-miners in a strike against pay-cuts which becomes a losing battle against starvation, repression, and sabotage. Yet despite the violence and disillusion which rock the mining community to it 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, sexual desire, and everyday relationships, but it is also a complex novel of ideas, given fresh vigour and power in this new translation.”

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