Étienne is portrayed as a hard-working idealist but also a naïve youth; Zola's genetic theories come into play as Étienne is presumed to have inherited his Macquart ancestors' traits of hotheaded impulsiveness and an addictive personality capable of exploding into rage under the influence of drink or strong passions. Zola keeps his theorizing in the background and Étienne's motivations are much more natural as a result. He embraces socialist principles, reading large amounts of working class movement literature and fraternizing with Souvarine, a Russian anarchist and political émigré who has also come to Montsou to seek a living in the pits. Étienne's simplistic understanding of socialist politics and their rousing effect on him are very reminiscent of the rebel Silvère in the first novel in the cycle, La Fortune des Rougon (1871).
While this is going on, Étienne also falls for Maheu's daughter Catherine, also employed pushing carts in the mines, and he is drawn into the relationship between her and her brutish lover Chaval…..
‘Adam Thorpe's version deserves to become the standard English text’ Daily Telegraph
‘[Adam Thorpe] brings an unusual freshness and zip to the task, which goes some way towards returning us to that sense of unnerving immediacy which the young Zola's novel would have given its readers in 1867’ Times Literary Supplement
Mysterious disappearances, domestic cases, noiseless, bloodless snuffings-out... the law can look as deep as it likes, but when the crime itself goes unsuspected... oh yes, there's many a murderer basking in the sun...
When Thérèse Raquin is forced to marry the sickly Camille, she sees a bare life stretching out before her, leading every evening to the same cold bed and every morning to the same empty day. Escape comes in the form of her husband’s friend, Laurent, and Thérèse throws herself headlong into an affair. There seems only one obstacle to their happiness; Camille. They plot to be rid of him. But in destroying Camille they kill the very desire that connects them...
First published in 1867, Thérèse Raquin has lost none of its power to enthral. Adam Thorpe’s unflinching translation brings Zola’s dark and shocking masterwork to life.
Sans doute l’un des plus violents, Zola y dresse en effet un portrait féroce du monde paysan de la fin du xixe siècle, âpre au gain, dévoré d’une passion pour la terre qui peut aller jusqu’au crime. Tout l’ouvrage est empreint d’une bestialité propre à choquer les lecteurs de l’époque, les accouplements d’animaux alternant avec ceux des humains, eux-mêmes marqués par une grande précocité et par une brutalité allant fréquemment jusqu’au viol. Dès sa parution, la Terre a soulevé de violentes controverses, illustrées notamment par le Manifeste des cinq, article publié dans le Figaro par cinq jeunes romanciers qui conseillaient à Zola de consulter Charcot pour soigner ses obsessions morbides.
Translated and with an Introduction by the celebrated historian and food writer Mark Kurlansky, The Belly of Paris offers fascinating perspectives on the French capital during the Second Empire–and, of course, tantalizing descriptions of its sumptuous repasts.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
L’héroïne est Hélène Grandjean, fille d’Ursule Macquart et du chapelier Mouret. À l’âge de dix-sept ans, elle épouse un nommé Grandjean qui lui a donne une fille, Jeanne, maladive et en proie à des « crises » régulières.