Émile Zola

Germinal, by Émile Zola - click to see full size image

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Germinal is the thirteenth novel in Émile Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart series and is considered a masterpiece in literature. Set in France in the 1860's, Germinal is the story of a coalminer's strike, and particularly of it's central character, Etienne Lantier, a young migrant worker who gets a job pushing carts down the pit. A socialist at heart, Etienne reads a lot of literature about the working class and hangs around with a Russian anarchist called Souvarine. Told against a backdrop of extreme poverty, the lives and working conditions of the miners begins to worsen until they reach a breaking point and call a strike. By this time Etienne is a respected member of the community and is chosen to be the leader of the striker's movement. Encouraged into violence by Souvarine, the miners resist until their poverty leads them to vicious rioting, eventually leading to confrontations with the police and the army. Zola researched the novel in part by actually going down a working coal pit. Germinal has been published and translated in over a hundred countries, and inspired film and television adaptations.

№ 13 in the Les Rougon-Macquart series.

This book has 178,261 words, 306 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1885. This is a translation by Havelock Ellis.

Production notes: This edition of Germinal was published by Global Grey on the 1st July 2021, and updated on the 3rd May 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Strike' by Stanislaw Lentz.

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