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This is a new edition of Germinal, originally published in 1895 by Leonard Smithers for The Lutetian Society, of London, translated by Havelock Ellis. Part of Adeptio's Unforgettable Classic Series, this is not a facsimile reprint. Obvious typographical errors have been carefully corrected and the entire text has been reset and redesigned by Adeptio Editions to enhance readability, while respecting the original edition. The eBook edition was designed in an elegant style and set to take full advantage of the readers' features.

Germinal, a bleak but nevertheless fascinatingly realistic and intriguing novel, tells the story of a coal-mining community in mid-nineteenth-century France. The main protagonist is a young man, Étienne Lantier, who arrives at the fictional town of Montsou, in northern France, near the Belgium border, looking for a job. He finds work as a miner, having to labor long hours under miserable conditions. Passionate about socialism, and seeing the hopeless lives of his fellow miners -- having to put up with reduced wages, harsh working conditions, and hunger -- he ends up leading them to a violent strike.

Thanks to Leonard Smithers (1861-1907) -- a London publisher associated with the Decadent movement -- and his Lutetian Society -- a secret literary society -- translators such as Havelock Ellis were able to provide British readers with translations of some of Émile Zola's controversial novels, aiming at expanding the cultural horizons of the few lucky readers who had access to them. Considered by the overwhelming majority of critics as the best translator of Zola's Germinal, Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) was a social activist, a physician and a psychologist, whose best-known works concern sexuality and criminology. In 1890 he published The Criminal, a remarkable work on criminal anthropology. In 1897, he co-authored, with John Addington Symonds, Sexual Inversion, the first medical text in English about homosexuality, another of his masterpieces. In 1898 he wrote Affirmations, which contains essays on Nietzsche, Casanova, Zola, Huysmans, and St. Francis.

About the Author:

Émile-Édouard-Charles-Antoine Zola (1840-1902) was a journalist, a novelist, a playwright, and a political activist. He was one of the most influential French novelists of the 19th century and the founder of the literary and theatrical school of naturalism. Zola was a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

During his youth in the south of France, Zola befriended Paul Cézanne, his schoolmate and future renowned Post-Impressionist painter -- best known for his incredibly varied painting style that influenced 20th century abstract art.

Zola's first book, Contes à Ninon (Stories for Ninon), was a collection of short stories dedicated to his imaginary childhood love, Ninon. He published his debut novel in 1865, La Confession de Claude, an autobiographical work that chronicled a man falling in love with a sex worker. The book drew the attention of the public as well as of the police, and it was banned in the social circles, causing Zola to lose his job.

Zola went on to write Thérèse Raquin (1867), his first major novel, which delves into intrigue, adultery, and murder; and the dark love story Madeleine Férat (1868), his last novel before he started his masterful Rougon-Macquart 20-novel series.

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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: April 9, 2017
  • Text-to-Speech: Disabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • File Size: 2,305 KB

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