Germinal (Penguin Classics)

( 7 )

Overview

The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s 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 ...

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Overview

The thirteenth novel in Émile Zola’s great Rougon-Macquart sequence, Germinal expresses outrage at the exploitation of the many by the few, but also shows humanity’s 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.

  • New translation
  • Includes introduction, suggestions for further reading, filmography, chronology, explanatory notes, and glossary
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Germinal] made me realize that when books are considered ‘classics,’ most of the time they’re actually very readable and exciting.” —Daniel Radcliffe
 
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140447422
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/25/2004
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 419,072
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 7.77 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Émile 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    AMAZING!

    Very easily the best book I've ever read. That said, it's not a particularly easy and light read. There are some very heavy, hard hitting themes that I had to keep putting the book down-- it was too much. The book can get a bit melodramatic, but at the core it never loses any of its grittiness. The Leonard Tancock translation is also probably the best of any; though it does have its slight problems, I think Tancock has very subtle nuances that really add to the story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Recommended 100%

    This book is incredibly engrossing, and I have never been filled with so much suspense.

    Emile Zola was able to produce a phenomenal storyline which provides the reader with an excellent perception of what life would have been like for a coal-miner in the 19th century. Although the story focuses in particular on one struggling family, you are also given a broad scope of the small mining village in which they live.

    When reading this book be prepared to become completely enmeshed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    SEPTEMBER 2008 BY A MAN WHO LOVES READING

    Here we are in the midst of a minning community<BR/>in 19th century France. Zola has the reader<BR/>engulfed in a rather difficult way of life.<BR/>Considering an upsetting intruder into beguiling<BR/>the inhabitants into a devasting wirlwind.<BR/>It was a pleasure to be treated to this<BR/>masterwork.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2006

    No Better French Novel

    As an aspiring author of regional fiction ('Suomalaiset: People of the Marsh' ISBN 0972005064)who was raised on liberal politics amidst the boom and bust of Minnesota's iron mines and timber industry, 'Germinal's' featured protagonist, Etienne Lantier, strikes a chord with me. There is much about the American labor movement and the plight of American workers to be found in Etienne's story. Though conditions in our factories, mines, and in our forests have markedly improved since the days of children working the coal fields of West Virginia and the iron mines of the Mesabi Iron Range, Zola's prose and his social observations about wealth, capital, and the exploitation of the common man by those in power rings true in 21st century America. A beautifully translated work, succinctly direct, wonderfully cast, with prose that makes you sigh. One of my ten all time favorite novels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2006

    A powerfull Work

    This is a brilliant story of life through the eyes of an 19th century French coal miner. This book gives insight into the lives of people who came before us, it also plays on the subtleties of human nature and character. This is a profound take on love life and power. It plays on what we are and the society that we live in. This work transends time and even gives insight into the times we live in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2000

    One of the most powerful novels ever written

    Zola's description of the coal mine as seen from the distance will haunt you, as will those describing life underground. There are moments of humor and touching scenes of first love contrasted with brutal scenes of hunger and revenge. When Emile Zola died, those lining the streets where his coffin passed chanted, 'Germinal, Germinal.' Everyone should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2000

    Interesting, but not extremely entertaining!

    Sitting in the 21st century one cannot give a comprehensive view of every aspect of the novel. Let us take the very detailed explaination of the mining machinary of the 19th Century;surely one is bored with the same, and at the same time but admire the tenacity of the writer in obtaining the relevant information in such precise detail. But surely mining conditions and the exploitation of workers(children) in the 3rd world continous in the same way (or worse), as amply described in the book. Indeed, the book makes a fascinating reading, very much applicable in 3rd world countries like India , China etc.

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