Germinal by Émile Zola & Roger Pearson
(Penguin Classics)

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Its description of the idealist Étienne and his love interest, Catherine, and of their struggles and dreams of a better life, makes this an enchanting read. You’re transported back into one of the battlegrounds of the Industrial Revolution...
-NY Times

Synopsis

Considered by Andr Gide to be one of the ten greatest novels in the French language, Germinal is a brutal depiction of the poverty and wretchedness of a mining community in northern France under the second empire. At the centre of the novel is Etienne Lantier, a handsome 21 year-old mechanic, intelligent but with little education and a dangerous predisposition to murderous, alcoholic rage. Germinal tells the parallel story of Etienne's refusal to accept what he appears destined to become, and of the miners' difficult decision to strike in order to fight for a better standard of life.
 

About Émile Zola & Roger Pearson

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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-nineteenth century French life in a cycle of twenty novels which Zola wrote over a period of twenty-two years. Roger Pearson is professor of French at the University of Oxford and fellow and tutor in French at The Queen’s College, Oxford.
 
Published January 29, 2004 by Penguin. 596 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Action & Adventure, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Germinal
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF on Jul 09 2011

Its description of the idealist Étienne and his love interest, Catherine, and of their struggles and dreams of a better life, makes this an enchanting read. You’re transported back into one of the battlegrounds of the Industrial Revolution...

Read Full Review of Germinal (Penguin Classics) | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ruth Scurr on Jun 19 2010

Emile Zola's monumental Germinal was published in 1885...Germinal was a trailblazing fiction, set in the 1860s in a mining community in northern France.

Read Full Review of Germinal (Penguin Classics) | See more reviews from Guardian

Helium

Above average
Reviewed by Theo Alexander on Jan 12 2012

Germinal is a painfully realistic story circulating around a miners’ strike in Northern France. It was written between 1884 and 1885, and marks what is possibly Zola’s greatest novel.

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Reader Rating for Germinal
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