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As the master of naturalistic fiction, Émile Zola reigns supreme. His depictions of the lives of ordinary people subsumed by an indifferent society are as true and relevant today as when they were written in the late 19th century. A towering achievement within Zola’s extraordinary oeuvre, Germinal, based on a real event, was first published in 1885. Young migrant Étienne Lantier is forced to take a menial job at the Le Voreux mine and is soon horrified at the exploitation he and his fellow workers suffer. Impassioned and articulate in his rage, Étienne rises through the ranks to lead the miners in their desperate strike against ever-deteriorating conditions.

Zola’s contemporary, novelist J. K. Huysmans, called the book ‘a lament rising from the darkness of hell,’ and indeed Zola’s is a world on the brink of catastrophe. Human instinct – driven by hunger, cold, sexual desire – becomes the catalyst for violent action. The images are chilling and nightmarish, and yet a deep humanity shines through in Zola’s masterful storytelling and the finely drawn characters – the passionate Lantier; Catherine, the woman he loves, but who is tied to the brutal Chaval; Maheu, Catherine’s father and steadfast patriarch of the community; and the anarchist Souvarine, whose actions precipitate the tragic climax. Zola exposed the dark side of human nature, but also held on to the belief that out of despair, change could come. ‘Germinal’ was the name given to the month of April by the 1789 revolutionaries, convinced it marked a new beginning. More important for Zola was the fact that on 12 Germinal, Year III the people of Paris, starved and disillusioned, in turn rose up against the National Convention.

Germinal was attacked by many on the Right as a call to revolution, yet Zola’s overriding message is the human consequence of indifference, injustice and greed. His status as the leading French writer of his generation was demonstrated at his funeral on 12 October 1902, when 50,000 people followed his cortège through the streets of Paris. Swelling their ranks was a delegation of miners chanting ‘Germinal! Germinal!’

‘A long, blazing look into the abyss, one of the most moving and horrifying portrayals of social unrest in all world literature’

496 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1885

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About the author

Émile Zola

2,522 books3,632 followers
Émile François Zola was an influential French novelist, the most important example of the literary school of naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France.

More than half of Zola's novels were part of a set of 20 books collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. Unlike Balzac who in the midst of his literary career resynthesized his work into La Comédie Humaine, Zola from the start at the age of 28 had thought of the complete layout of the series. Set in France's Second Empire, the series traces the "environmental" influences of violence, alcohol and prostitution which became more prevalent during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution. The series examines two branches of a family: the respectable (that is, legitimate) Rougons and the disreputable (illegitimate) Macquarts for five generations.

As he described his plans for the series, "I want to portray, at the outset of a century of liberty and truth, a family that cannot restrain itself in its rush to possess all the good things that progress is making available and is derailed by its own momentum, the fatal convulsions that accompany the birth of a new world."

Although Zola and Cézanne were friends from childhood, they broke in later life over Zola's fictionalized depiction of Cézanne and the Bohemian life of painters in his novel L'Œuvre (The Masterpiece, 1886).

From 1877 with the publication of L'Assommoir, Émile Zola became wealthy, he was better paid than Victor Hugo, for example. He became a figurehead among the literary bourgeoisie and organized cultural dinners with Guy de Maupassant, Joris-Karl Huysmans and other writers at his luxurious villa in Medan near Paris after 1880. Germinal in 1885, then the three 'cities', Lourdes in 1894, Rome in 1896 and Paris in 1897, established Zola as a successful author.

The self-proclaimed leader of French naturalism, Zola's works inspired operas such as those of Gustave Charpentier, notably Louise in the 1890s. His works, inspired by the concepts of heredity (Claude Bernard), social manichaeism and idealistic socialism, resonate with those of Nadar, Manet and subsequently Flaubert.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
August 14, 2021
(Books 824 from 1001 books) - Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart #13), Émile Zola

Germinal was written between April 1884 and January 1885.

Often considered Zola's masterpiece and one of the most significant novels in the French tradition, the novel – an uncompromisingly harsh and realistic story of a coalminers' strike in northern France in the 1860's – has been published and translated in over one hundred countries and has additionally inspired five film adaptations and two television productions.

عنوان: «ژرمینال»؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ انتشاراتیها (امیرکبیر، نیلوفر، فرزان، گوتنبرگ، گلشائی) ادبیات فرانسه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژوئن سال 1977میلادی

عنوان: ژرمینال؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ مترجم: سروش حبیبی؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، کتابهای جیبی، چاپ اول 1356، چاپ دوم 1357؛ در 537ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نیلوفر، چاپ سوم 1384؛ در 552ص؛ چاپ چهارم 1386؛ شابک 9644482611؛ چاپ پنجم 1388؛ شابک9789644482648؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 19م

عنوان: ژرمینال؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ مترجم: نونا هجری؛ ویراستار م آزاده؛ تهران، فرزان، چاپ اول 1363، در 555ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، گوتنبرگ، 1386؛

عنوان: ژرمینال؛ نویسنده: امیل زولا؛ مترجم: ابوالفتوح امام؛ تهران، گلشائی، چاپ اول 1364، چاپ سوم 1369؛ در 515ص؛

داستان شورش و اعتصاب کارگران است؛ قیام حقوق بگیران، و جامعه ای که در یک چشم برهم زدن از هم میپاشد، مبارزه ی سرمایه و کار است؛ اهمیت «ژرمینال» در این است، که مهم‌ترین چالش سده ی بیستم میلادی را، به میدان اوراق داستان می‌کشاند؛ ماجراها در معدن زغال‌ سنگ، در شمال «فرانسه»، روی می‌دهند؛ «اِتین لانتیه»، به جرم سیلی‌ زدن به رئیس خود، از کار اخراج، سپس در معدن «وورو»، استخدام می‌شود؛ «اتین» در کار و زندگی دشوار معدنچیان، سهیم می‌شود؛ معدنجیانی که نسل به نسل، همچون برده‌، زندگانی کرده اند؛ «اتین» به سبب خوی عصیانگرش، با شرایط کار خویش، به مخالفت برمی‌خیزد؛ با رهبران «سوسیالیست»، ارتباط می‌گیرد، و مبارزه، با شرکت معادن را، سازمان می‌دهد، و اعتصاب را برمی‌انگیزد؛ معدنچیان پس از دو ماه و نیم مبارزه، از روی اجبار، دوباره کار خویش را از سر می‌گیرند، ولی باور دارند، که مبارزه، باز هم امکان‌پذیر است؛ مبارزه ی معدنچیان، ��ه مراحل بحرانی می‌رسد، سپاهیان به روی اعتصاب‌ کنندگان، تیراندازی می‌کنند، و کشته‌ های کارگران را بر جای می‌گذارند؛ در پایان کار، هرچند پیروزی از آن سرمایه‌ داران است، اما پیروزی آنها ظاهری است؛ «اتین»، در یک صبح بهاری، که یادآور دورانی نو است، به «پاریس» می‌رود؛ تا مبارزه ی تازه ای در پیش گیرد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 16/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 22/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Adina .
892 reviews3,554 followers
August 10, 2022
Who would have thought that I would find a novel about miners and strikes compelling? I surely didn’t but here I am awarding Germinal 5 full sparkling stars.

Germinal is the 1st novel I read by Emile Zola. It is part of the voluminous Les Rougon-Macquart series in which the authors tries to prove that character is inherited. Even though the series follows the destiny of Rougon-Macquart family through the ages, each novel can be read as a stand alone.

The novel begins with Etienne, a young man, travelling in the dark from village to village, searching for a job. He was fired from his previous employment due to a fight. Unfortunately, it is the 1860’ and the fate does not smile for the poor and needy. The French Economy is not doing well; the coal industry also suffers together with other sectors. One day, he meets Mr. Maheu who find him a low position in the coalmines of Le Voreux. Despite his quick temper, Etienne is a decent and hard working fellow. He quickly becomes a trusted worker in the mine and befriends Maheu’s large family, moving in with them. Etienne soon realises the dire conditions the miners are force to work in, for next to nothing. He starts to read more and begins to think more about the suffering of his pears. He tries to gather support from other miners, which ultimately leads to strike, violence and more suffering.

Germinal is a realist novel but it does not mean there isn’t poetry in the writing. There is a lot of tension, suffering, death, hurt, mistakes, heartbreak and violence but also beauty, joy, love, humour and hope. This novel made me feel all there is to feel so it goes to my favourite shelf.

I listened to the beautiful narration of Leighton Pugh. I am glad he narrator more of the author’s work so I can continue to have his voice in my head when I listen to Zola.
Profile Image for İntellecta.
199 reviews1,557 followers
February 15, 2021
The “Germinal” novel was published in 1885 and is considered the main work of Emile Zola. It describes the inhumane conditions in the mines of the French coal mining area of the 19th century.
The novel sheds light on the conflicts and lines of conflict that arise between capitalists and miners, but also between workers themselves, who disagree about how the terrible conditions can be overcome.
Germinal is considered one of Emile Zola's best works, the author's style and impressive representations are in the foreground. If you read the book, there is no way to remain a mere reader. But you literally feel like you go down to the mine with the workers, work with them, and as you go up the elevator, your eyes are blinded by the daylight.
All in all, this is a timeless book that shows man's inequality, its conflicts and beastly relapses in ruthless, pessimistic openness.
Profile Image for سـارا.
249 reviews240 followers
April 5, 2023
محشر بود محشر! خلق این فضا اونم اینقدر واقعی و عمیق قطعا شاهکاره. داستان چندتا توصیف بکر داره از فضاهای مختلف که میشه بارها خوندنشون و حسابی کیف کرد. و چه کرده سروش حبیبی که با قطعیت میگم یکی از بهترین ترجمه‌هاشه.
ژرمینال قصه‌ی انقلابه، تلاش مردم دردمندی که از زندگی خسته‌اند و دنبال تغییر میگردن دنبال چیزی که از منجلابی که توش گرفتارن نجاتشون بده. انقلاب‌ها اتفاق می‌افتند، آدم‌ها از دست میرن و ایده‌ها جایگزین میشن اما در واقعیت تغییری اتفاق نمی‌افته. با این حال این امیده که همیشه میل به موندن داره. شروع و پایان داستان و عبور شخصیت اصلی و تاثیر عجیبی که تو زندگی کوی کارگران معدن موسو میذاره کل فضای داستان و شکل میده. از نیمه‌ی کتاب به بعد نمیشه اتفاقات و پیش بینی کرد و این قدرت فوق‌العاده‌ی زولاست تو بیان روایت نابش از آدم‌ها، و توصیف‌ها، توصیف‌ها بی‌نظیرن...
ژرمینال یعنی جوانه زدن؛ مردم فرانسه تو تقویم انقلابی به ماه اول بهار میگن ژرمینال؛ یکی از قشنگ‌ترین و دوست داشتنی‌ترین کلماتی که تا به حال شنیدم.
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
February 3, 2018
Étienne Lantier - Claude, the painter's brother! Nana, the whore's brother! Jacques, the murderer's brother! Gervaise, the alcoholic's son!

I know this part of the Rougon-Macquart family tree better than any other, and each of the family members stands for a novel that sends a shiver down my spine - of reading delight and sorrowful mourning over the human condition. "Germinal" is a masterpiece in its own right, but one can't help thinking of the social background of the young man wandering up the street in a French mining town in the beginning of the novel. The tragic life experience he's already gathered, being the son of Gervaise Lantier/Coupeau, - who drinks herself into delirium in the poor parts of Paris, in L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop), whose daughter Nana ends up a prostitute, whose other son Claude commits suicide when failing to deliver The Masterpiece he strives for, whose third son is driven by murderous madness to commit unspeakable crimes.

Despite the family history, Étienne Lantier is a decent man, and a socially progressive thinker. In the mining society, he plunges into the life of a rising working class, bound to the mine, living under conditions that ultimately lead to strike, and more suffering. The mine itself is a protagonist: a scary modern monster, swallowing human beings alive, but spitting out most of them again, marked for life by the Hades of profitability.

I spent some childhood years in a small community close to a famous copper mine in Sweden, and one of the yearly school field trips led students down into the depth of the mine, on a guided tour around the maze of former mining activity. I will never forget the feeling of helpless panic when I first tried to imagine the unbearable heat close to the fires, the pain in the bodies crawling into the narrow paths, the physical exhaustion, the lack of air, the poisoned atmosphere, the darkness, the hunger...

Around the mine, now part of UNESCO world heritage, a small town grew, with modern features such as health care and well-organised administration. But above all, it was a living hell for the poor families trying to survive on minimum wages to fill the pockets of the owners, who strove to rise on the social ladder. Child labour is a crucial part of the story of Falu Rödfärg, a product deriving directly from the mining business which eventually resulted in a strong national identification with the Swedish red, wooden houses. Whenever I see one of the many red houses in the neighbourhood, I think of the paint that was produced as a by-product of the copper mining, and how it has become unconscious, but lasting evidence of early Swedish industrialism to this day.

So when I read "Germinal" for the first time, I had a vivid real-life experience to fall back upon, to empathise with the characters. When they went on strike, found sole pleasure in promiscuity, let anger take over their minds, I KNEW why. I still felt the cold, dark mountain closing in on me.

I have been to the copper mine several times as a grown-up, taking students and my own children down into the underworld, and now Zola's Étienne accompanies me every time, and I relive the dramatic scenes over and over - when he is trapped in the mine with Catherine. Hardly imaginable that a love story could have an uglier, darker setting, but it remains one of my favourite scenes in world literature.

As for the social question, despite its hopeful title, "Germinal" doesn't solve anything. The split between working masses and ownership is as wide as before when Étienne finally takes the road out of the small town again, after a dramatic showdown.

Gaskell tried to find a solution in the engaging power of individuals, linking the values of North and South in her masterpiece on social tension in England during the same era. Nothing of the kind is offered the characters in Zola's novel - and in a way, that might make it a more realistic attempt at showing the life conditions in 19th century industrial communities. A true working class revolution, according to Zola, would fail because of the revolutionaries' inevitable transformation into oppressors, should they happen to be successful:

"Oui, c'est votre idée, à vous tous, les ouvriers français, déterrer un trésor, pour le manger seul ensuite, dans un coin d'égoïsme et de fainéantise. Vous avez beau crier contre les riches, le courage vous manque de rendre aux pauvres l'argent que la fortune vous envoie... Jamais vous ne serez dignes du bonheur, tant que vous aurez quelque chose à vous, et que votre haine des bourgeois viendra uniquement de votre besoin enragé d'être des bourgeois à leur place."

This mirrors Albert Camus' reflections on rebellion and revolution in human history, L'homme révolté forever striving to take the role of his jailers, thus producing new cries for justice which will end up dethroning him in an eternal violent movement.

As a description of 19th century life, "Germinal" is unsurpassed in its earthly hell - no need for a metaphysical one at all!
Profile Image for Luís.
1,949 reviews615 followers
April 9, 2023
History had written by Emile Zola, who counted it working in a coal mine in France and describes a bloody strike that marks the beginning of the labor movement. It begins with Etienne, who arrives at the mine looking for a job and knows Bonnemort (GoodDeath), so-called because he survived mine accidents countless times. Etienne is very close to the Good Death family, where practically everyone works in the mine except the more minor children and the mother. Like most families in the area, she needs to care for them since the more people working, the more money to buy bread, the better cause wages are miserable. The working conditions at the mine are inhumane, a daily adventure having to go down to its depths. Etienne begins to incite the workers to strike, so they decide to make a reserve fund to not go hungry during the strike. It turns out that this money collected soon ends, and with the bosses threatening to lay off everyone and bring other workers there, some strikers begin to want to return to work so as not to starve, creating a situation of even more tension.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,258 followers
November 14, 2019
Emile Zola's acknowledged masterpiece written in 1885, the politics are dated as history has shown, his overemphasis on sex, research and common sense have refuted, this is the 19th century, not the 21st, (trying to sell more books ? "Nana," made the same error) his characters are more symbols than real human beings, with a quite melodramatic plot even, yet Germinal, is a superb novel, which will capture your total interest, the reader will learn much about little known aspects, the dangers , of coal mining in France, ( and the world) ... ironically all have closed now, because of cheap foreign competition...Etienne Lantier, is young, 21, a strong Frenchman, who has just lost his job as a mechanic, the intelligent man, hasn't discovered you don't curse your boss, if you want to keep a job, the too passionate, angry vagabond with a hair-trigger temper, is homeless and hungry , walking in the dark, roaming a coal mining district, near the border of Belgium, sleeping outdoors on the ground, no money , days pass he needs another job soon or starve to death, wondering how his life has come to this sad condition. At last after many rejections for employment, he gets work in the coal mine of Le Vereaux, thanks to the help of Vincent Maheu, a veteran in the industry, the father of seven, his family has been digging deep underground for coal, over a century and losing many members as a result of numerous accidents. They live, the miners in a small company village called Two Hundred and Forty, that's right no name just a number, after spending a short time in a boarding house he moves into Monsieur Maheu tiny home, with his old, sick father, feisty, still attractive wife, seven rambunctious children, a cozy ten people inside, too cozy, they need his salary to survive, ( now eleven) sleeping with others in an ancient bed , no privacy , can't afford that luxury, little to eat, not much heat for the cold winter months.. the poor, uneducated workers are exploited by the mining company. Etienne shortly eyes the pretty teenage daughter of Maheu, Catherine, she seems interested but a complication ensues , another admirer, the good looking brute Chaval, her first love... An infinite talk about a strike, is discussed everywhere , by the miners, below in holes, shafts, a half a mile under the surface, in taverns, in their houses, and walking back home, still Etienne, at first doesn't get involved, he's a new coal miner, learning quickly, though, a natural at it, becomes one of the best . Seeing the appalling situation in the mine, the filthy back breaking work, cramp, uneven black tunnels that go on forever, cave-ins, toxic gases, floods from underground water, the extreme high heat, a miserable low paying job, for what reason ? They die, yet no improvement for the workers... something must be done. His fiery Russian friend, Souvarene, who he met there, at the boarding house, is an anarchist, wanted for murderous crimes back home, fleeing Russia, says destroy, kill almost everything and everyone, begin again , a new , better world will rise. Lantier, starts believing ... he speaks, a great stir of excitement he brings to the miners ... it is called hope, a paradise on Earth soon , no more poverty... a real future, that promises the oppressed, prosperity...what can they lose...the workers will follow him..
Profile Image for Guille.
786 reviews1,753 followers
July 17, 2019

Germinal viene a ser Las uvas de la ira francesa. Ambas tienen como objetivo mostrar los efectos de un capitalismo salvaje, sin control ni limitaciones y en ambas el desenlace es descorazonador, aunque también las dos dejan al final esa semillita de esperanza tan necesaria y, quizás, tan contraproducente. Pero la obra de Zola tiene más caras que la novela americana.

En primer lugar, nos presenta a los trabajadores de una forma más realista; primero como a unos santos inocentes que besan la mano que les ahoga (también las mujeres que soportan no solo la mano de los patronos sino la de sus hombres, a los que, pese a los malos tratos, defienden y vuelven una y otra vez, como si la relación con ellos no pudiera ser de otra manera); y después, cómo la frustración, el hambre, el no tener nada y, por tanto, la ausencia de miedo a perder algo, prenden en ellos con una fuerza inesperada y brutal y los perros muerden la mano del amo, asombrado ante el hecho de que sus siervos, despreciando todo el esfuerzo dedicado a ellos, pudieran necesitar más de lo que tienen.

Pero la gran diferencia con la obra americana es que Zola también nos expone el otro lado del conflicto, el de los propietarios y su visión clasista, casi biológica, de la sociedad, en la que los trabajadores son una especie aparte, muy distinta de ellos mismos, con otras necesidades, otros deseos y aspiraciones, que solo necesitan el salario justo y necesario que les permita poder engendrar otra generación que asegure el mantenimiento del negocio.

Este párrafo, del administrador de la mina, es muy elocuente.
"¿Quién era el idiota que basaba la dicha de este mundo en el reparto de la riqueza? Esos visionarios de revolucionarios podían demoler la sociedad y reconstruir otra, y no conseguirán añadir un solo goce a la humanidad, ni le ahorrarán ningún dolor porque cada uno tuviese más pan y más arenques. Actuando de aquel modo, incluso ensancharán la desdicha terrenal, consiguiendo que un día hasta los perros aullasen de desespero cuando les hubieran sacado de la tranquila satisfacción de sus instintos, para contagiarles el insaciado sufrimiento de las pasiones. No, el bien residía en no ser, y, pues que había que existir, ser árbol, una simple piedra o, mejor aún, el grano de arena que no puede gemir bajo el pide de los transeúntes."
Zola no es benevolente con los santos inocentes, esos explotados que de una u otra manera veneran a su señor y son capaces de arrodillarse para perseguir la huella olfativa de la presa que persigue su amo para, una vez hallada, volver a por su terrón de azúcar. Y no es benevolente con los individualistas que son capaces de trepar a costa del sufrimiento de sus compañeros y, sin justificar la violencia indiscriminada, comprende la situación de aquellos para los que solo les quedan dos caminos y no aceptan la esclavitud que supone uno de ellos.

Gran novela, brutal y magnífica.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,496 reviews2,383 followers
October 13, 2022

Within the first few pages of Zola's striking masterpiece I was completely sucked into his vision of the poverty suffering and slave driven folk of the mining world. First published in 1885 it holds the power and importance for today. As we start with young unemployed railway worker Etienne Lantier wondering the cold and punishing landscape of northern France in search of work, and without a penny to his name is desperate to land just about anything that pays. After stumbling into a small mining community during the night he is pointed towards the Le Voreux mine who may have an opportunity for him, and after befriending the Maheu family where most of them are employees he soon discovers just what a hard life they truly live. The way Zola goes into detail of the daily routine for the miners is both powerfully compelling and squalidly heart wrenching, with shifts starting long before the break of dawn; men, women and children march off into the dark depths of the pits where the air is thick and stuffy and work exhausting, and in a matter of minutes most are black from head to toe with coal and sweating so much some of the weaker few can barely stand up. In the eyes of Etienne they are all buried like moles under the crushing weight of the earth with burning lungs and little pay for their efforts while owners and bosses reap the rewards with a fine and wealthy standard of living and no interest in those who help line their pockets. Over time Etienne sees this has got to stop, things just can not continue in this way, struggling to buy even the most basic food for survival; and things only get worse when the company offers a new pay system that will see them less off. Slowly Etienne starts to gather support from the workers for a strike, a strike that would see the numbers go from the few to the hundreds to the thousands and cause massive repercussions for the chaos and mindless actions that are about to unfold...

At well over five hundred pages, at no point was I ever going through a period - even brief - where I felt the narrative dropped off. Although the main theme running throughout is the lead up to the strike, beyond that there is so much more going on, with many others in the community studied in just as much of a way that you really feel for the whole village. Another thing to note that I couldn't quite believe is the amount of sexual tension between residents, as even in times of complete despair and hunger they seem to be at it like rabbits - in the bushes, behind buildings and abandoned barns. Generally, the women are treated appallingly, and there are those who lost their innocence without wanting it. I guess from their viewpoint they may be poor, starving and on the verge of death but sex is at least some joyful respite from their misery if only short lived. After Etienne eventually moves in with the Mateu family I knew this would be a problem as he always had feeling for the pale and hard working daughter Catherine, but she already had a brute and nasty man in Chavel, and the two would come to blows over her. The pity for workers is only escalated when you see the sort of meals the rich fat cat bosses indulge in while the miners try to to beg, steel, cheat and sell household items just for a loaf of bread, and in the case of the Mateu's their home is almost striped bare in the end, with not even a candle for warmth; old grandfather Bonnemort is left staring at the walls coughing up black phlegm from years in the pits while the rest of the family who's minds are shattered just see death as their escape clause.

But its the actions of the strike that I will truly never forget; things get out of hand pretty quickly as the marching horde of hell-bent miners go from mine to mine and cause utter carnage and maximum damage to the pits in a show of savagery. All control is lost and a blood lust of frenzy takes hold, even the women turn into crazed wild animals, this is no longer a strike but a violent wave of terror; the poor many against the wealthy few, and when the owner of a local shop meets a gruesome end they now realize that a boundary has been crossed and there is no going back. There is some calm after the storm before a tense and claustrophobic finale left me reeling. I went through just about every emotion one could go through from reading a novel, and I'd be surprised if I read a better 19th century classic for a long time to come. Germinal is an out-and-out masterpiece.
Profile Image for Banafsheh.
175 reviews125 followers
December 5, 2019

اگر میخواید بدونید ژرمینال چطور کتابیه فقط یه جواب دارم: به معنی واقعی کلمه شاهکار.
اگر میخواید بگم موقع خوندنش چه حسی داشتم فقط میتونم بگم: سرگشتگی.
و اگر میخواید بگم جای این کتاب بین خوانده‌های من کجاست جواب میدم: جزو فراموش‌نشدنی‌ترین‌هاست.

امیل زولا یک مجموعه بیست جلدی نوشته به نام روگن ماکار. توی این بیست کتاب سرنوشت چند نسل از یک خانواده رو در بستر تاریخ روایت میکنه و ژرمینال سیزدهمین کتاب این مجموعه است راجع به پسری به نام اتی‌ین که در معدن ذغال سنگ مشغول به کار میشه. ژرمینال در لغت یعنی جوانه زدن. اتی‌ین انقلاب رو جوانه میزنه.

از سبک نگارش زولا مهمترین وجه توصیفات خفنشه. انقدر که حس میکنی رفتی توی تاریکی معدن و واقعا داری ذغال استخراج میکنی. انقدر که طعم گرسنگی‌های طولانی رو میچشی. انقدر که وقتی تیر شلیک میشه بدنت میلرزه. اره همینقدر ملموس !!
اوایل کتاب زیاد جذبم نکرد. نمیدونم چون قلم زولا رو نمیشناختم یا چون جلدهای قبلی روگن ماکار رو نخونده بودم. خلاصه طول کشید تا رو دور افتادم ولی یک سوم پایانی کتاب کشنده است. نمیشه زمینش گذاشت و جوری تلخ و تکان دهنده است که حتی الان هم که دارم ازش مینویسم بغض کردم و چشمام تره. تلخی این کتاب سوای همه تلخی‌هاییه که تا اینجا خوندم. طمع و عطر این تلخی یه جور دیگه است.

نمیدونم شاید هم همزمانی خوندن این کتاب و آبان ۹۸ تلخیش رو برام صد چندان کرد. ولی خب ... ژرمینال یعنی جوانه زدن. شاید داریم جوانه میزنیم. شاید بهار بشه. شاید.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews496 followers
July 7, 2023
Germinal is one of the most moving novels written about the sufferings of the working class. Zola's undisguised sympathy for them flows abundantly throughout the novel, inviting the reader's sympathy for this unfortunate section of society, who are treated no better than animals by their superior brethren. Zola himself wrote that "This is one of those books you write for yourself, as an act of conscience". It's therefore clear that Germinal is Zola's need to raise awareness, invoke sympathy, and appease the urge to do something within his power to alleviate to some extent the suffering of the workers.

The title "Germinal" is derived from the seventh month of the Republican Calendar which was introduced following the 1789 Revolution. The name depicts germination and renewal, and the story takes a similar pattern accordingly. The two central subjects are the political struggle between the bourgeoisie and the working class and how the process of nature affects and shapes the lives of the workers.

To write his novel, Zola has chosen a section of the workers who face the greatest danger above all others of the working class, and who, according to him, suffer the most, who are unappreciated with no returned reward for the great sacrifice they make daily. They are the colliers. Being a naturalist writer, Zola describes the poor living conditions of these workers who live in cramped, gloomy, dirty, and unhygienic spaces that can barely be called "houses". "Living on top of another" is Zola's phrase to describe the condition. They had no privacy, living together like a herd of animals. Zola did his research meticulously before writing the novel, personally visiting a mining district, and first-hand witnessing the working conditions of coal pits and the living conditions of the mining villages so that no one can accuse him of exaggeration.

The novel flows on how the Capital exploited labour. While the workers drowned in poverty, generations threatened with malnourishment, the bourgeoise was fattening themselves with idle indulgence. Even when an industrial crisis occurs, it was from the workers that the loss was recovered. The unjust of it was sickening. And the lack of education among the working class, part passively submitting to unjust exploitation, and part engaging in revolutionary actions driven by half-understood ideas, made the workers' cause for justice suffer.

In the novel, the protagonist, Etienne, is a misguided socialist. Being self-educated, his understanding of socialistic idealism is sketchy. His effort to lead the workers prematurely to win their rights without a correct understanding as to what their "proper rights" are, embracing a fantastic impractical ideal, brings a disastrous calamity damaging the workers' cause. Zola demonstrates quite clearly in the novel the danger of guiding an uneducated lot, for their zeal can be destructive bordering on anarchy. The anarchist Souvarine sees the socialist views and actions as nonsense, for they believe total destruction is the only way to a new beginning. Both Etienne and Souvarine are extremists in their ends. Only Rasseneur is the calm mind who advocates for moderate negotiation as the suitable method of approach to win workers' rights. Zola is not judgemental, but he points out the dangers and defects of anarchy and socialist fanaticism. It's not clear what his personal views are, but I thought I could trace a preference for a moderate approach.

When reading this novel, another beloved classic constantly passed through my mind. Germinal has a lot of similarities with Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. Although the North and South depicts the struggles of Cotton Mill workers, and in Germinal, it was Colliers, the working and living conditions, poverty, and lack of education demonstrate a similarity between the two. The strike, the disastrous consequence of its failure, and the importation of workers to replace the ones on strike give both storylines a kinship. The difference I observed was only in Zola's writing. Unlike Elizabeth Gaskell, Zola writes his story with vigour and boldness; there is no screening of undesirable facts.

Zola's writing in Germinal is beautiful and evocative. The actions are dramatized so that the reader feels their tension. With his magical writing, Zola binds the readers tightly to his story and takes them through the up and down journey of its characters. Boldly, realistically, and with power, he presents his story as a nonjudgmental observer. Zola doesn't impose on us his perspectives. Rather, he submits his facts for others' judgment. This quality of writing makes Zola more attractive.

Germinal is only my second novel by Emile Zola and the first in the Rougon-Macquart series. Reading Zola isn't easy. His stories are distressing. Nevertheless, he speaks the truth about a bygone era in France that I want to know about.

More of my reviews can be found at http://piyangiejay.com/
Profile Image for Amin.
376 reviews338 followers
November 2, 2022
ساده بگویم، امیل زولا می‌خوانی و کارل مارکس را میفهمی

در ژرمینال پا به پای اتی‌ئن پیش میروی و در معادنی که خود زولا برای فهم ماجرا قدم برداشت پای می گذاری و با هر قدم ردپای از خودبیگانگی کارگر با کار خویش، قد علم کردن سرمایه در برابر کار کارگر بعنوان کار بیگانه شده با مالک سرمایه و معضلات مالکیتی را که مارکس از آنها دم میزند می‌فهمی و می‌بینی

ژرمینال اثر بزرگی است. بزرگی از تک تک صحنه‌های داستان و نمایش زنده و خیره کننده شخصیت‌ها پیش چشم مخاطب پیداست. چقدر راحت می توان آن را همچو فیلمی در مخیله‌ای پرکار تصور کرد که تک تک صحنه ها را برای خودش باز می‌آفریند و پا به پای تمام از دست رفته‌ها می‌گرید و احساس همزیستی می‌کند. به اینها اضافه کنید دیدگاه جبرگرایانه و اندکی موروثی را که زولا در قبال گناهکاران ماجرا دارد. یعنی معدن مانند ماشینی همه حتی مالکان را هم می‌بلعد

باز هم مارکس را می بینیم که انگار از حنجره زولا حیوانی شدن انسانهایی با گوشت و پوست را فریاد می زند و می گوید اینها بیش از این‌ها می توانستند باشند، اما به حال و روزی وادارشان کرده‌اید که تنها با حداقلی از دستمزد باید زنده نگه‌شان داشت تا چرخ ماشین را به جریان بیندازند

و ژرمینال بزرگ ترین اثری است که معنی فهم هر اثر فکری و ادبی در زمینه اقتصادی و سیاسی و اجتماعی خاص خودش را می‌فهماند. برای من دست نوشته‌های اقتصادی فلسفی مارکس را با تمام دور بودنشان از اوضاع امروز جهان معنا می‌کند، چرا که با خواندن این اثر واضح میشود که هر دو نویسنده خوش فکر چیزی را دیده اند که در منتهای هنر قلم توانسته این گونه نمایانده شود و البته که کار سترگی است.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
509 reviews90 followers
November 2, 2022
خودم رمان ژرمینال رو تموم کردم و دارم گرسنگی رو هم میخونم که آخراشه، دوستام دارن از چوبک میخونن، موزیکایی که گوش میدیم همش درباره مبارزه، مرگ و انتقامه، اخباری که می‌شنویم تلخ و سیاهن و دنیا جوری داره پیش میره که انگار جز غم هیچ چشم اندازی نیست. من میگم آره اتفاقا الان باید همین کتابا رو بخونیم، نباید کاممون شیرین بشه. باید درد بکشیم که درد رو بفهمیم، تو یجور من یجور دیگه.
دقیقا توی مرحله ای از زندگی هستیم که کارگرای معدن این رمان زیر زمین محبوس بودن. امید داریم اما نداریم، همو داریم اما نداریم، مثل سگ ترسیدیم اما جلو میریم، از هم میپرسیم حالا باید چکار کنیم؟ هیچ جوابی براش نداریم. کاش از اون بیرون مارو هم صدامون بزنن. کاش ایمان رو از دست ندید/ ندیم.
این کتاب درباره اعتصاب کارگرای معدنه، الان  می‌فهمم کار کردن توی معدن تا چه حد وحشتناک و سخته. الان باور میکنم که سخت ترین کار جهان کار توی معدنه، هرکی خودشو با اینا مقایسه کنه گه خورده. سخت کوش ترین کارگرا، فقیر ترین و ستم دیده ترین قشر این افرادن و ظاهرا باشرف ترین هاش هم توی معدن طلای ایران کار می کنن. آره خدا جون، تو باید انتقام فرودستان رو بگیری، چون اگه تو نگیری یه خدای دیگه پیدا میشه که بگیره!
من اونقدر خوشبخت بودم که نسخه ای بوک طاقچه و کتاب صوتی فیدیبو این کتاب رو از دو دوست خفنم هدیه گرفتم. و اینقدر عاشقش شدم که رفت توی فهرست کتاب هایی که میخوام باهام دفن شون کنید . (البته نسخه الکترونیکی رو نمیشه باهام دفن کنن :(( ) به هرکسی که این کتاب رو نخونده پیشنهاد میکنم حتما و بخصوص توی این روزا بخونید . مرسی ❤❤
Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,051 reviews4,122 followers
October 30, 2011
This novel is about as grim and horrendous as literature gets. Instead of ranting about the history of human suffering at various pitches of bowel-plopping rage, let me take a more facetious route. Let me instead discuss various mining experiences lived out on the Sega Mega Drive. Remember Mega Bomberman? Those who do will remember the mine level.


This level was pivotal in the game, since here a remote-controlled power-up was available which was crucial for facing down the final boss, whose beardy metamorphoses proved impossible without both a back-up life and a self-detonator. The problem was using the detonator hastily, as an ill-timed whack of the C button would invariably blow up the hero, who had a hard enough time dodging bombs. The mining level itself involved negotiating the terrain on a little blue cart and threats from crazed red baddies, stumbling around the scorching hellhole with startled eyes, running into bombs like kamikaze hearts.


Then there was Lava Reef Zone, on Sonic & Knuckles. The presence of fire and darkness usually indicated the impending doom of Robotnik and his enormous egg-shaped earth-conquering moustachiopod. Since the introduction of fire-proof TVs, leaping onto scorching lava wasn’t a great concern for Sonic. This level involved spinning down into an underground mine, where giant crushers and ledges threatened his pretty blue head.


And there was Scrap Brain Zone. A factory filled with trap-flaps, flame pipes and crushers, its backdrop a bleak brown silhouette of chimneys and skyscrapers. The foes being caterpillars who died by careful bops to the head and little bomb-men in metal helmets who blew up when you ran past. The challenges were all mechanical—spinning ledges, squishing ledges, vanishing ledges. A holy wine cup with black grapes shooting electricity from both sides, razors looming over sluggish conveyor belts. Some of the most terrifying moments of my childhood happened on this level. Fact.

But about Germinal? Imagine the amount of times Sonic gets crushed by gamers the world over, then transfer that to human lives, and you have the sorry state of 1800s French mining. For more info read my forthcoming book Zola the Hedgehog: When Rocks Fall On Top of People.
Profile Image for Gautam.
128 reviews241 followers
November 9, 2016
“I am little concerned with beauty or perfection. I don't care for the great centuries. All I care about is life, struggle, intensity.”- Emile Zola

Let me draw a scene for you. I appreciate your patience as I am going to write it as vividly as possible.

The lady on the chair is well past her prime- 40 maybe- with her youthful rosiness and smooth, taut skin beginning to give away under the suffocating reality in which she and her family are haplessly ensconced. The room in which she sits is tiny, but has a peculiar nordic cleanness about it which shows that this woman is scrupulous over cleanliness though persecuted perpetually and mercilessly by poverty, which is evident from her overused frayed dress, narrow room, rickety oak furniture and drab posters that adorned the murky walls. The lady on the chair sits pensively at the table, with her chin propped by her scrawny hands, worn by constant toiling. Minutes before, she had turned all the drawers longingly inside-out in half-fury half-despair but couldn’t find a crumb of bread or a handful of vermicelli, not even a farthing. Her husband and her 3 elder children-she has seven- are bound to come soon from their 10 hours-work down the mine; her other children- who have to wait several years before going under the mine- are too little to work which augments the agony of feeding five extra mouths including herself, the mother (her doctor advised her not to go down the mine anymore because of her bad lung). In her befuddled head, which is swarming with multiplicity of half-formed, incongruous thoughts, she condemned herself for not having borne the non-working kids much earlier, so that they too could have worked and earned bread for the family; she still condemned the stars for not giving her triplet-sons instead of the triplet-girls which god had bestowed on her with a sardonic grin. She envied her neighbor who has all her six sons working, “how lucky she is!” .Suddenly, as if she was back to her senses, she shuddered convulsively, as her mind, which has been brimming with harrowing thoughts and disturbing reminiscences, proffered her another bit of memory to chew on: she remembered when the grocer next street asked her to send her eldest daughter to collect the groceries when she asked credit. “That abominable vile old man, who might as well be her grandpa’s age”, she lamented. She herself was willing to go to the grocer as payment, but the years of impoverishment, drudgery and misery have drained away her youthful vigor and form, as she looked herself at the cracked mirror hung on the opposite wall. As the woman sat in limp despair-unable to cry or beat her breasts- stunned by her immense agony, and as the dastardly thoughts about tomorrow and future revolved around her buzzing head like a vulture hovering over a carcass, Emile Zola kept writing…

“Wage earning is a new form of slavery. The mine should belong to the miner,
as the sea does to the fisherman,
and as the land does to the farmer… Make no mistake!
The mine is your property, it belongs to all of you,
for you have paidfor it for over a century with blood and starvation”

While the family of this symbolic lady on the chair drudged in the bowels of earth, hacking away at coal seam, choked by coal dust and unbearable heat, coughing up black phlegm and plagued by hunger and poverty; and while the bourgeois pit owners luxuriously enjoyed their idle life off miners’ sweat and blood, stuffing up their bellies with everything the earth has to offer and ostentatiously traveling in beautiful carriages, Emile Zola kept writing..

“The miners are waking from their slumbers in the depths of the
earth and starting to germinate like seeds sown in the soil; and one
morning you would how they would spring up from the earth
in the middle of the fields in broad daylight; yes, they would grow up to be real men,
an army of men fighting to restore justice.”

When Emile Zola passed away in 1902, a throng of several thousand workers lined the streets, chanting “Germinal, Germinal”, with their heads held high up, eyes brimming with emotion, bidding farewell to their great hero- the defender of justice and equality. Zola, the founder of naturalist movement, had written a score of novels in his series Les Rougon-Macquart, which tells the story of a family and its socio-economic impact in the era under Napoleon III.

Germinal is not entirely a political novel or a polemic aimed at defenestrating capitalism though it gives such an impression, nor is it an exaggerated melodrama aimed at hacking away at the hearts of the readers, nor is it a protracted tale of the 19th century miners during the epoch of economic slump. Germinal, in my opinion, is life as close as it gets; it is a book that proffers the vision of poverty, hunger, despair, life & soul through the magnifying lens of Zola’s writing. But germinal isn’t entirely apolitical as well; it has all the revolutionary reverberations that are bound to cascade in a community where ‘Justice’ isn’t served, and where persecuted people raise their voice against the depredations of the iniquitous system in which they are inextricably enmeshed. For the miners, ’Justice’, which is the sperm of the whole theme of this novel, is the word or epiphany, as it seems, that cracks open the dark vaults of subjugation and oppression, to reveal the dazzling, blinding vision of an angelic land, where everyone earns equal and are treated equal, where everything belongs to everyone, and where there are no poverty or hunger or misery. Germinal, the book, its theme, is a living soul, which has a heart that beats synchronically with the beats of the downtrodden people, which has a mouth that speaks for them, which has an arm with an uplifted index finger that guides them and admonishes them, and which showers them a benevolent gaze and a protective smile. According to Zola, the poverty and destitution of the miners are bestowed upon them by nature- they cannot do anything about it- and they are all invariably born into this slump, as their fathers and forefathers were all miners, whose impoverished life was the only inheritance they bequeath to their offspring. Generations of subjugation and unwavering circumstance of their harrowing milieu and life, the constant persecution of the capitalist mine-owners who constantly encumber their life by chiseling off their paltry salary on petty terms, thereby filling their own coffers at the expense of the blood, sweat and tears of the miners, who toil away their inane lives inorder to satiate, partially atleast, the growling cries of hunger.

”Why should some people be so wretched and others so rich?
Why should the former be trampled underfoot by the latter,
with no hope of ever taking their places?”

A painting of the colliers by De Neuville:

A painting of the colliers by De Neuville

Emile Zola had taken 10 months to finish this seminal work of naturalism, taking a trip down the working mine at Denain in Valenciennes, and when the novel was finally published under the title ‘Germinal’, which was the seventh month in the revolutionary calendar that France followed from 1793 to 1805, it was immensely received and eventually became a towering work in the realm of literature and naturalism. Zola’s prose has a deep, sensational tone immured in it, and each word and each sentence has an aroma of living warmth, the psyche of the miners and the pathos of their harrowing milieu are nestled snuggly in the lulling clasps of the prose, but when their psyche is agitated by injustice, it quickly changes, without a forewarning, into a threatening serpent ready to spew venom with unrelenting vehemence at the first start.

“There’s only one thing that warms my heart,
and that is the thought that we are going to sweep away these bourgeois.”

Etienne Lantier- the symbolic protagonist of the novel- reaches Montsou after weeks of aimless wandering and unyielding hunger, and takes up the work as a collier, not out of choice but due to the exigency of the hunger pang. In his initial days as a miner, Etienne’s mind and conscience began to ache seeing his fellow wretched miners, who all invariably became resigned to their fate of living & dying like cattle, and his indignation accrued gradually upon witnessing the grave injustice and inhumane ignorance the rich cast on them; and, Etienne, who considers himself learned, begins to feel an upper-hand over these miners, and gradually find in himself the pre-ordained power to fight for Justice. Energized by the journals on Socialism and other political books, Etienne, in whose psyche the first seeds of revolution were sown, convinces the crowd to rise above the traditional resignation of miners, and goads them to the flower-strewn world of ‘justice and equality’.( Etienne, moreover, is a symbol of nonchalance in the face of despair and defeat, finding optimism even in the darkest of hours). Now the germination of these seeds of revolution is just a matter of time: a disturbance or a unanimous outcry against an unjustifiable act can arouse the slumbering beast in the hearts of these docile, resigned creatures who have until now suppressed their innermost turmoil in the catacombs of their vacuous souls . All they needed was a voice, firm with conviction and direction, to guide them to a path of revolution, where their debilitating lives are purged of misery, and a new realm of happiness precipitated in front of their weary,dreamy eyes. Etienne, as if pre-ordained by the high-heavens, gives the cogwheels a push to set it moving, and the machinery of revolution slowly revved to a full life.

“Since they had been shown the promised land of justice,
they were ready to suffer on the road to universal happiness.
Hunger went to their heads, and, in their
wretched hallucinating eyes, the flat, dull horizon
had never seemed to open up to such a vast and infinite perspective.
When their eyes blurred with fatigue, they could see their ideal city
of their dreams beyond the horizon, but now somehow close and real;
there all men were brothers, in a golden age where
meals and labors were shared equal”

A picture of the 1906 miners’ strike which came in a magazine:
 A picture of the 1906 miners’ strike which came in a magazine:

One of my well-read friends had once said that though this Novel is a powerful one, the characterization fell flat, and this notion was embedded in my mind as I started reading. As pages rolled by, I was immersed into the ebb and flow of the story, dissolved in the luscious prose, my breathing pace naturally attuning itself to the crest and trough of the novel, and as I turned the last page of the novel, I closed the book and slumped into my bed, as I always do, to meditate upon what I have gone through. See, what my friend said was true. But what he said was also wrong. The characters-Etienne Lantier, Souvarine, Rassenneur, Maheu, La Maheude, the pit owners, Catherine, Chaval etc- they were all symbolic instruments used by Zola as a means to write this story of miners and the inhumane conditions they were in, and concomitantly, he was not telling the story of these people, he was telling the tale of everyone who hacked away their lives in the suffocating mines, which according to Zola is a’ ravenous monster’ who engulfs the poor miners as they go inside. So while you read this novel, the characters may appear like silhouettes against the blinding, dazzling light of the storyline, but that doesn’t mean the novel is short of emotions: there is love, bestial sex, betrayal, snobbery, egoism, optimism, adrenalin-surge and what not.

Zola had depicted the life of these common-place miners in an extraordinarily moving way: for instance, the eldest daughter of La Maheude, Catherine, who is 15, but her sexual maturity is getting delayed due to the burdening work at mines; the bestiality of the youths who find solace only in laying girls on their arse and making them mothers at a very early age; the harrowing account of a horse named Bataille, who was dragged down to the mine when it was still a jaunty baby colt and its irrepressible longing for basking in the radiant sunshine and taking in the scent of fresh verdure; the cattle-like promiscuity of people who were huddled together in a small room, like Catherine and her lodger Etienne who were forced to sleep side by side; the catastrophic prospects like fire-damp explosion and rock falls in mines; miners extinguishing their fury over diminishing salary, which was already paltry, through unrestrained inebriation leaving their families to starve.

“Ofcourse, you got your daily bread, you did eat,
but so little that it was only just enough to keep you
alive so you could enjoy being half starved, piling up
debts and hounded remorselessly as if you had stolen
every mouthful you ate. When Sunday came round you
were so tired that you slept all day. Life’s only pleasures
were getting drunk or giving your wife a baby; and even
then the booze gave you a beer belly and the baby would
grow up and wouldn’t give a damn for you.
No, too true, life was not a bowl of cherries.”

“Blow the candle out, I don't need to see what my thoughts look like.”- Germinal

I never knew why I read Zola; maybe its because the book had drawn me to it by some force which my humble mind cannot comprehend. I had been absent in GR for long, and it might have a taken a book like this to finally absorb me back to the place I know I cherish the most. I assert that there are some books that can shake you off torpidity and pull you again into the magical world of words and thoughts, and it is only a matter of time before you will find the book according to your taste that can impart you once again, the elixir of happiness and contentment.

“Nothing is ever final, you only need a bit of happiness
to be able to start all over again”- Emile Zola, Germinal.

Emile Zola

I’m glad I’m back.

5 stars on 5!

Profile Image for Shahab Samani.
130 reviews39 followers
July 5, 2020
این کتاب را در شرایطی خواندم که تحت فشار کاری شدیدی قرار دارم. شرکتی که من در آن کار می‌کنم یکی از بزرگ‌ترین تولیدکنندهای مواد شوینده در کشور است. به تبع شیوع کرونا، فشار کاری برای ما بسیار بیشتر شد، و فروش و سود برای شرکت چند برابر. ساعات کار طولانی همراه با استرس بیماری و از دست رفتن سلامتی، و دارایی‌های اندکی که در این روزها مدام ارزش خود را بیشتر از دست می‌دهند و همه‌ی چیزهایی که خودتان بهتر می‌دانید. نمی‌خواهم تجربه‌ی خودم و خودمان را در این روزها مثلا با تجربه کارگران معدن دیروز و امروز مقایسه کنم. به هیچ وجه. اما امیدوارم، کسی از امیدها، رویاها و سگ‌ دو زدن‌های نسل ما هم بنویسد.
تیرماه 99
Profile Image for Ali Karimnejad.
313 reviews166 followers
July 15, 2021

ا"متوجه نیستید آقای زولا؟! {کارگران بهم می‌خندند} کسی اسب رو بالا نمی‌فرسته! اسب زمانی که یک کرّه است و می‌شه از کانال ردش کرد پایین آورده می‌شه. اسب همین جا بزرگ می‌شه و بعد از یکی دو سال که بیناییش رو کامل از دست داد اونقدر ذغال‌ها رو بار می‌کشه تا زمانی که همینجا می‌میره و همین پایین هم دفن می‌شه..."ا

بخشی از یادداشت‌های زولا در بازدید از معدن"دینا" پیش از نوشته شدن کتاب ژرمینال

شاید بنظرمون بیاد که وجود بالقوه این حد از ظلم و ددمنشی در انسان، پست‌ترین خصلت این جانوره. با اینحال خصلتی از این وحشت‌آورتر هم درون ما هست. میل جنون‌آمیز جانور انسان به زنده موندن و تحمل این مظالم. و زمانی که به تاریخ خوب نگاه کنیم، متوجه می‌شیم که عمده جنایات تاریخ بشر، ترکیبی از هر دو اینهاست. بهمین خاطره که حفظ موازنه قدرت در یک جامعه مهم‌ترین و اساسی‌ترین چیزه. چه بسیار تفکرات و ایده‌ئولوژی‌هایی که با انکار یا نادیده‌گرفتن یکی از این دو خصلت ذاتی بشر، چیزی جز ظلم و رنج بیشتر برای انسان‌ها به ارمغان نیاوردن

حیات حیوانی تحمیل شده بر کارگران معدن ذغال‌سنگ فرانسه در خلال سال‌های 1860، بخش کوچکی از تاریخ بلند به بردگی کشیده شدن انسان توسط همنوع خودشه که به زیبایی در کتاب ژرمینال تجلی پیدا کرده و قطعا جزو ماندگارترین آثار ادبیه. نه از این جهت که در پایان کتاب، جوانه‌زنی (معنای لغوی ژرمینال) مجدد رو پیش‌بینی می‌کنه بلکه بخاطر زبان صادقانه‌ای که در تمام کتاب اختیار می‌کنه و به این خاطر که به جای اینکه توضیح‌دهنده باشه، صرفا توصیف کننده کنندست و در پایان شما رو با افکار و احساسات مغشوش از اونچه که خوندی تنها می‌ذاره

به واقع اونقدر بیان این کتاب شیواست که آدم تنگی نفس کارگران معدنی که در عمق 300 متری زمین دولا شده در لای دالان‌های باریک می‌خزن، با خاک ذغالی که به همه تن خیس از عرقشون چسبیده و تنشون رو چسبناک کرده؛ و هن‌وهن هل دادن ارابه‌های ذغال‌سنگ روی ریل‌ها، ایستگاه به ایستگاه، تا رسیدن به سطح زمین، همه رو با تمام وجودش حس می‌کنه. با اینحال حس منی که با شکم سیر روی مبل یا پشت میز، این‌ها رو توی کتاب می‌خونم کجا و تجربه زندگی هر روزه این‌ها با شکم گرسنه کجا؟!ا

حتما و قطعا خوندن این کتاب کمک شایان توجهی به درک بهتر ما از شدت نابرابری و اختلاف طبقاتی در اون‌ ایام و انگیزه‌های جنبش‌های سوسیالیستی و آنارشیستی که نیمه دوم قرن نوزدهم و ابتدای قرن بیستم رخ دادن خواهد کرد. چنانکه کمابیش اشاره‌هایی به اون‌ها طی کتاب می‌شه. با این همه و بشخصه، در عین انزجار و تنفر از چنین رنج و دردی که توسط عده‌ای بر عده دیگه تحمیل می‌شه، همچنان و جدا معتقدم کوبیدن و از نو ساختن، احمقانه‌ترین کاره و اونچه که لازمه، قوانین بیشتر و حقوق انسانی بیشتره، نه یک آرمان و هویت جدید
Profile Image for Keyhan Mosavvar.
56 reviews60 followers
April 19, 2022
کتاب ژرمینال شاهکار امیل زولاست.
یکی از بهترین کتاب هایی که تاحالا خوندم.

کتاب پر از تاریکی، رنج و درد است به گونه ای که در طی خواندن کتاب حتی لبخند کوچکی به لبانتون تو نمیاد. قدری با جزئیات کامل داستان نوشته شده که خودتون رو میتونین کنار کارگران بگذارید و با اون ها رنج و گرسنگی بکشید و در اعماق معدن کار کنید.

اتین شخصیت اصلی کتاب در محل کار قبلی خود، کارفرما را به باد کتک گرفته و ناچار می‌شود به طور کلی آن ناحیه از کشور را پشت سر بگذارد و به جایی برود که کسی او را نمی‌شناسد. در مسیر به یک معدن زغال می رسد و در آنجا مشغول به کار می‌شود.‌ و پس از مدتی زندگی بین کارگران معدن ، مدیران معدن حقوق هارا کم می‌کنند که از این قسمت کتاب مشکل اساسی شروع می‌شود ....

Profile Image for StefanP.
148 reviews80 followers
March 10, 2021

Dok si mlad umišljaš da će ti sreća svanuti, svačemu se nadaš; a onda nevolja sve iznova i iznova započinje i zauvijek si zatvoren u njoj...Nikome ja zla ne želim, ali biva katkad da me ta nepravda uzbunjuje.

Jednom kada Etjen Lantjer ošamari nadređenog, dobija otkaz i započinje svoj skitnički život na par dana. Bez novca i hljeba, jedva pronalazi posao u rudiniku. Od tada kreće njegov novi život s porodicom Mae i ostalim radnicima.

U procvatu kapitalizma agresivnosti, industrijskog napretka i Darvinove teorije prirodne selekcije (ne bih sada navodio svoje mišljenje o njoj) ne može da se prenebregne činjenica da će izrasti jedna neman koja će svojim čeljustima da melje sve ono ljudsko i iz njih isisa životne sokove. Rudnik Vore je jedna takva neman. Pisac ne ukrašava svakodnenicu radnika. Njihovo jutarnje buđenje je uz kafu koja se pravi tako što se voda naspe u to malo toza što je ostalo. Hrane je sve manje a nagon za preživljavanjem sve veći. Zapanjujući je podatak da postoji porodica koja decenijama radi u rudniku. Bestijalnost i napetost koja narasta u tami rudnika je sve veća kako roman odmiče. Pored toga što je roman prožet ljubavnom pričom (čitaj Etjena i Katarine), ona se bavi čovjekom i njegovom transformacijom usljed eksploatatorskog rada i gladi, kao i spremnosti na hrabrost i požrtvovanje. Čitalac će moći da uoči Etjenov preobražaj od ulaska pa sve do konačnog napuštanja jame. I ako je u to vrijeme roman sigurno imao svoju veličnu, mislim da ni danas ne gubi nešto od nje, naprotiv.
Profile Image for Zahra Mahboubi.
41 reviews52 followers
October 23, 2022
یک شاهکار فراموش‌نشدنی!
ژرمینال، شاهکار امیل زولا، سیزدهمین کتاب از مجموعه‌ی بیست جلدی روگن ماکار است، مجموعه‌ی روگن ماکار درباره‌ی سرگذشت خانواده‌ی روگن ماکار طی نسل‌های مختلف است.
شخصیت اصلی کتاب ژرمینال پسری‌ست جوان به اسم اتی‌ین؛ اتی‌ین که از کار قبلی خودش اخراج شده، به دنبال کار وارد معدن وورو می‌شه. شرایط کار در معدن سخت و طاقت‌فرساست، کاری که هر روز از حوالی ۴ صبح در ۵۵۴ متری از زیرِ زمین شروع میشه و تا بعدازظهر ادامه داره، بدون رعایت ایمنی و حداقل‌های بهداشتی کارگران.
معدنچیان علی‌رغم این‌که از سنین کم، چه دختر و چه پسر، شروع به کار ��ردن میکنن، از حداقل‌های زندگی محرومن. با این‌که اکثر اعضای خانواده کار میکنن، باز هم به سختی میتونن شکم خودشونو سیر کنن، و تنها دغدغه‌شون در این شرایط زنده موندنه...
داستان اصلی کتاب از وقتی شروع میشه که دستمزد کارگران بنابر دلایلی باز هم کمتر میشه، کارگران با این دستمزد دیگه حتی توانایی سیر کردن شکم خودشون و خونواده‌شون رو ندارن، از اینجاست که اعتصاب کارگران شروع به جوانه زدن میکنه. اعتصابی که ناگزير به خشونت و سرکوب شدید منتهی میشه...

ژرمینال در تقویم انقلابی فرانسه به ماه اول فصل بهار اشاره داره و به معنی جوانه زدنه. در عین‌حال ریشه کلمه، ژرمن، کلمه‌ای لاتین به معنای "بذر"ه. بذر امید به آینده‌ای بهتر برای معدنچیان... بذر اتفاقاتی که نسل‌های آینده میوه اون رو خواهند چید.

در بسیاری از منابع گفته شده که زولا برای نوشتن این کتاب به مدت شش ماه به‌صورت ناشناس در بین معدنچیان کار کرده و از نزدیک شاهد زندگی اون‌ها بوده، درواقع به همین دلیله که ژرمینال یکی از معروفترین آثار در زمینه ناتورالیسمه.
و همچنین به همین دلیله که توصیفات زولا در این کتاب از زندگی معدنچیان اینهمه زنده و جون‌داره، کارگران وارد معدن میشن و شما تاریکی رو حس می‌کنید، کارگران سردشون میشه و شما می‌لرزید، کارگران گرسنه‌شون میشه و معده شماست که درد میگیره...

ژرمینال کتابیه که باعث میشه افکار جدیدی تو ذهنتون جوونه بزنه، باعث میشه با خودتون فکر کنید، به اینکه راه چاره چیه؟ خشونت؟ اصلاح تدریجی؟ اینکه آیا یک روز این جنبش‌های کارگری، این اعتصابات، این خون‌های به‌ناحق ریخته‌شده به نتیجه می‌رسن؟ به اینکه آیا یک روز این بذرها و جوانه‌ها میوه خواهند داد یا نه؟

حرف در مورد این کتاب زیاده، به نظر من توصیه اینجور کتاب‌ها به شوخی شبیهه، یک شاهکار منتظر شماست، همین.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
921 reviews979 followers
June 29, 2017
Three things:

1. Zola's writing of abuse and domestic violence is breathtakingly modern;

2. Poor old horse; and

3. This novel contains a scene in which someone tears a dead man's dick off and parades it around on a stick.
Profile Image for Graham.
1,259 reviews62 followers
December 12, 2008
GERMINAL - what can I say? I studied this book at university and my whole degree course was worth the time and effort just for introducing me to the author. GERMINAL now stands as my favourite book of all time, an intense masterpiece of fiction.

The basic storyline is a miner's strike. It doesn't sound too good or too detailed, but it's all here: politics, chaos, social realism, a love story, an action story, heroes and villains, the good and the bad. Yes, it is melodramatic, but I guess I like melodrama. I laughed, I cried, I couldn't believe the stuff that was unfolding.

Although the story is undoubtedly tragic and depressing, I felt lifted after I read it. It's one of the few novels that have left me with a different perception of the world after reading. It made me realise that literature can be fun, damn it, without being dry and boring!
Profile Image for Foad Ansari.
244 reviews37 followers
January 17, 2023
یک شاهکار ادبی بی نظیر در حد بینوایان ویکتور هوگو, هر کتابخوانی باید حتما این کتاب رو بخونه. داستان در مورد کارگران معادن زغال سنگ در فرانسه است و زندگی مشقت بار آنها با قلم بی نظیر امیل زولا به تصویر کشیده شده است.
خوشحالم که قبل از مردن یک شاهکار ادبی دیگر رو خوندم. پیش به سوی دن آرام نوشته ی شولوخف .
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,566 reviews1,894 followers
April 21, 2020
Zola had a very structured technique for the industrial production of novels, he would decide on where the action would take place and who the principal characters would be Les Rougon-Macquart gave him a family tree and a glorious mess of hereditary tendencies and illnesses to work within, the setting would be interrogated thoroughly and mined out. In researching Germinal Zola visited a coal mine and was intrigued by the big strong horses working underground - how, he asked, did the mine company get the big horse down the narrow lift shaft? The answer, inevitably, is the cruel one, little foals go in, but don't come out. That reality is the undercoat to the novel that Zola stamps into being - to mix metaphors horribly in a tragic mining accident of writing .

A man arrives and finds work in a mining village in Northern France during the time of the French 2nd Empire. The existence of the miners is hard, they sleep in the beds in shifts, youngsters make love where they can, families struggle with every penny to keep body and soul together. Even the countryside comes across as bare and bleak.

The mine manager observes the youngsters having sex where-ever they can in the countryside with a certain jealousy. Despite their lack of sexual inhibitions the mining families are desperate and envious of the comforts and security they imagine the professional class above them enjoys.

Then there is a strike and things really start to get bad. Nobody was happy before, nor will anybody be afterwards. Thank goodness we can read this in the glorious times of the fifth Republic and that structural inequalities no longer exist, and Liberty, equality and fraternity constitute the basic realities of all lives and no foals are lowered down mine shafts.

This is part of Zola's major series showing the influences of hereditary and environment, however it can be read and enjoyed as a free standing novel.

One of the problems though about setting novels in the recent past is that with the end of Empire is that it can be argued that Zola sought to spice them up with sensationalist acts of violence and sex then again, these are novels - not reportage despite Zola's writing technique.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,500 followers
September 17, 2018
Zola likes it exciting. He's a pioneer of realism - in this 1885 landmark, among others, he insists on showing the world how it is, filthy and broken and sick. He calls this naturalism, and what he means is that the world shapes the person. Underground in the coal mines where this book is set, a grinding world produces grinding people. (And is he just a tiny bit overexcited about the idea of poor people having casual sex? Maybe.)

It's as dark as its subject; Zola's naturalism was "a new method of writing which aimed to go beyond realism to a point where no state of the human condition was too sordid for consideration." And he did wallow in it. For all that he's wrenching literature forward, he's got no problem at all with the old Romantic plot contrivances and melodramas. Dude's read his Victor Hugo is what I'm saying. It's emotional and even manipulative stuff, like Uncle Tom's Cabin for socialism. There's a dying horse in here that's...what is it with the horses in socialist novels?

Top Two Sad Allegorical Horses
2. Bataille from this book
1. Boxer from Animal Farm

He's like the French Thomas Hardy: he's realistic but cinematic, and he's a massive fucking bummer. Muckier than Hardy, though. There are body fluids here.

It all works because while Zola's horse is allegorical, his people are real: he hasn't forgotten to make them breathe, which is what political writers tend to forget. Etienne's rise as a leader is carefully displayed, his eager overpromises and his slow wisdom. Zola suggests that if you make a lot of easy promises, your rise and fall will both be abrupt. (I hope he's right.)

It's thoroughly researched and perfectly understood. You see it particularly in Deneulin, the small mine operator who's destroyed by the strike and swallowed by a larger corporation. Zola's showing how labor's natural enemy, and the only foe strong enough to defeat it, is mammoth business; the battle between capital and labor becomes an arms race.

And it works so well because Zola has no fear of vivid, over-the-top scenes. There's a lot of room for it here - a coal mine is a juicy place for a story, with all its creaking and dripping and squeezing. But Zola can grip you with something as simple as an old man sitting and staring straight ahead in an empty room, twitching only enough to spit tar from his lungs into a plate in front of him. The plate is buried in it, just a heap of oozing black muck. It's dark.

The three top dogs are Collier, the old-school standard who's said to be functional but uninspired; Tancock, which my friend Hesper calls "a wild ride"; and 2004's Pearson, which I read and very much liked. In our discussion of translations below, Hesper mentions that Tancock says "fuck," which made me want to read his - I like a wild fuckin' ride, yay? - but it turns out that Pearson says "fuck" himself, so if your major criterion is the saying or not saying of "fuck," the world is your oyster.
Profile Image for E. G..
1,112 reviews684 followers
June 18, 2017
Note on the Translation
Select Bibliography
Chronology of Émile Zola
Plan of Montsou and surrounding areas


Explanatory Notes
Profile Image for fคrຊคຖ.tຖ.
263 reviews63 followers
August 4, 2021
خیلی خوشحالم که یک شاهکار دیگه خوندم
کلیدواژه: کارگر، معدن زغال‌سنگ، فقر،‌ گرسنگی، اعتصاب، تحول، عشق، مرگ
Profile Image for Carmo.
667 reviews472 followers
December 13, 2015
Tivesse Gustave Doré criado gravuras para Germinal, como criou para o Inferno de Dante, e não haveria grande diferença entre os dois casos.
Tê-las-ia feito nos mesmos tons lúgubres, cinzentos e tristes, mas em vez dos demónios, das serpentes e das chamas, seria a cobiça humana, a fome e a miséria a ilustrá-las. Aqui as almas ainda habitam os corpos e descem ao inferno das minas, com fome, a tiritar de frio ou a suar de calor, exaustos, doentes, sem esperança, tratados como bichos e que só como bichos são capazes de responder.
Diz-se que Zolá, antes de escrever este livro, terá trabalhado numa mina, convivido de perto com os mineiros e sentido na pele o trabalho árduo e as condições de miséria em que estes viviam. Faz todo o sentido, a maneira implacável como descreveu o inferno de Voreux, vai para lá de toda a imaginação. O relato das condições de vida nas habitações onde viviam, (ou sobreviviam) como gado, chafurdando na lama e na porcaria, comendo restos nojentos, praticando uma promiscuidade assumida, a parir e criar filhos como animais para futura fonte de trabalho, é de um realismo brutal.
Germinal é um grito de revolta dos necessitados e explorados trabalhadores das minas, contra um patronato impiedoso. Uma luta de classes que seria o preludio das grandes revoluções do séc. XX. Lamentavelmente, tantos anos se passaram e tanto continua por fazer.
Germinal lê- se num sufoco da primeira à última página, e, não foi a primeira vez que um livro me deixou de coração pequenininho com um relato que envolve animais. Não me levem a mal, sofri com a lástima de todas as personagens, mas este excerto em particular partiu-me o coração.
Os cavalos utilizados nas minas, uma vez que desciam às profundezas, só saiam de lá quando morriam.

«Era o Trombeta, com efeito. Desde que para ali fora, nunca se pudera aclimatar. Andava triste, sem gosto ao trabalho, como que torturado palas saudades da luz. Em vão o Batalha, o decano da mina, o esfregava amigavelmente com as costelas, lhe mordia o pescoço para lhe incutir um pouco de resignação dos seus dez anos de vala. Aqueles afagos redobravam a sua melancolia, todo o seu pêlo tremia sob as confidências do camarada envelhecido nas trevas; e, ambos, de cada vez que se encontravam juntos, pareciam lamentar-se, o velho de já nem sequer se lembrar, o novo de se não poder esquecer. Na cavalariça, vizinhos de manjedoura, viviam de cabeça baixa, assoprando-se às narinas um do outro, trocando o contínuo sonho de luz do dia, visões de ervas verdes, de estradas brancas de claridades amarelas, ao infinito. Depois, quando o Trombeta, alagado em suor, agonizava na sua cama de palha, o Batalha pusera-se a farejá-lo desesperadamente, fungando como se soluçasse. Sentia-o arrefecer; a mina arrebatava-lhe a sua derradeira alegria, aquele amigo caído lá de cima, fresco de bons aromas, que lhe recordavam a sua mocidade ao ar livre. E tinha quebrado a arreata relinchando de medo, ao ver que o outro já se não mexia.»
Profile Image for Soheil Khorsand.
325 reviews198 followers
June 18, 2022
من برای تماشای سیاهیِ غصه‌هام شمع نمی‌خوام.

گفتار اندر ستایش دوست
از این تریبون لازم می‌دانم از سنای‌ عزیز، که با هدیه‌ی این کتاب باارزش موجبات آشنایی من با قلم زولا را فراهم کرد، تشکر کنم و از راه دور دستش را به گرمی بفشارم.

گفتار اندر توصیف کتاب
ژرمینال، رمانی‌ست شاهکار با تم انقلاب. انقلابی با قیام کارگران معدن علیه ثروتمندانی که هیچ درکی از شرایط کار و زندگی کارگرانی که در معدن به دنیا می‌آیند، در معدن زندگی می‌کنند و نهایتا در معدن جان می‌دهند بی‌آن‌که معنای سعادت و زندگی را فهمیده باشند.
ژرمینال قیام مردمی‌ست که «ژاک تیبو» مخلوق «روژه مارتن دو گار» در شاهکارش «خانواده تیبو» به دنبال تحقق آن بود. قیامی که همانند سایر قیام‌ها می‌تواند به انقلاب ختم شود و یا در کسری از ثانیه از هم پاشیده شود!
ژرمینال رویاروییِ سیاهیِ زندگی با رویاهای رنگینِ زندگی در سعادت و عدالت است، اما آیا بشر به آن دست خواهد یافت؟! آیا این مردمانِ سیاه‌سرشت زندگی خود را رنگین خواهند کرد؟...
پیشنهاد می‌کنم به جای این‌که منتظر پاسخ از من باشید، این رمان با ارزش را بخوانید.

گفتار اندر توصیف امیل زولا
او یک نویسنده‌ی فرانسوی‌ست که برخلاف «پروست» وراجی نمی‌کند و بر خلاف «بالزاک» با توصیف‌هایش با روح و روان خواننده بازی نمی‌کند، داستانش را طوفانی آغاز، با توصیف‌های به اندازه‌اش به آن شاخ و برگ داد و صدالبته بی‌نظیر به آنان پرداخت و نهایتا با سرعتی به داستانش خاتمه داد که روند داستانش سقوط نکند.

گفتار اندر ستایش سروش حبیبی
من از بت ساختن بدم می‌آید، اما همیشه «سروش حبیبی» را تحسین کرده‌ام و وقتی کتابی که به دنبال آن بودم را ترجمه کرده بود بدون درنگ انتخابش کرده و خواهم کرد. اگر ایشان نبود این تعداد آثار ارزشمند در اختیار ما با این کیفیت قرار نمی‌گرفت. بابت ترجمه‌ی روانی که سروش‌خان حبیبی به ما هدیه داده لازم دانستم از ایشان قدردانی نمایم.

نقل‌قول نامه
"من برای تماشای سیاهیِ غصه‌هام شمع نمی‌خوام."

"وقتی آدم زورش نمی‌رسه، باید هوای کارشو داشته باشه و چاک دهنشو ببنده!"

"خوبی مرگ اینه که آدم دیگه گشنگی نمی‌کشه"

"زمین خیلی خشک شده، به خون احتیاج داره."

"هر جور بحث و استدلالی درباره‌ی آینده، جنایته چون مانع نابودیِ قطعی می‌شه و جلوی سیرِ انقلاب رو می‌گیره."

"هیچی بهتر ازتنهایی نیست. آدم وقتی تنهاست با کسی اختلاف نداره!"

"دو نفر می‌تونن با هم اختلاف عقیده داشته باشن ولی به هم احترام بذارن."

"وقتی امید نباشه زندگی سیاهه!"

"می‌دونین، بدی کار اون وقتی‌ست که آدم تو دلش می‌گه اینه که هست و عوضم نمی‌شه... آدم وقتی جوونه خیال می‌کنه نوبت خوشبختی هم می‌رسه. دلش پر امیده، اما بعد بدبختی رو بدبختی می‌آد. آدم وسط مصیبت گیر می‌کنه."

بدون هرگونه لطف، محبت و ارفاق پنج ستاره برای کتاب منظور و ضمن قرار دادنش در لیست محبوب‌ترین کتاب‌هایی که خوانده‌ام، خواندن آن را به تمام دوستانم پیشنه��د می‌کنم.

بیست و هشتم خردادماه یک‌هزار و چهارصد و یک
Profile Image for Mohamadreza Moshfeghi.
83 reviews22 followers
May 1, 2022
حکایت امید و روزنه ی نور در قعر ظلمت و سیاهی وفقر...
جنگيدن براى زندگى...
جنگيدن براى حق انسانى...
شاهكارى فراموش نشدنى از اميل زولا با ترجمه ای روان وعالی از استاد سروش حبيبى كه بارها بايد لذت خواندنش را چشبيد.

ازمتن كناب:
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