Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Emile Zola’s greatest literary success, his thirteenth novel in a series exploring the extended Rougon-Macquart family. The relative here is Etienne Lantier, already known to Zola’s readers as one of the blighted branch of the family tree and his story is set in Northern France. It opens with Etienne trudging towards a coalmine at night seeking work, and soon he is caught up in a bleak world in which starving families struggle and then strike, as they try to hold on to the last scraps of their humanity and the hope of change.

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  • Susan Harrow No other episodes
    Ashley Watkins Chair of French at the University of Bristol
  • Kate Griffiths No other episodes
    Professor in French and Translation at Cardiff University
  • Edmund Birch No other episodes
    Lecturer in French Literature and Director of Studies at Churchill College & Selwyn College, University of Cambridge

Reading list

  • Naturalist Fiction: The Entropic Vision
    David Baguley (Cambridge University Press, 1990) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge History of French Literature
    William Burgwinkle, Nicholas Hammond and Emma Wilson (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation
    Kate Griffiths (Legenda, 2009) Google Books →
  • Adapting Nineteenth-Century France: Literature in Film, Theatre, Television, Radio, and Print
    Kate Griffiths and Andrew Watts (University of Wales Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Zola and Film: Essays in the Art of Adaptation
    Anna Gural-Migdal and Robert Singer (eds.) (McFarland & Co., 2005) Google Books →
  • Zola, The Body Modern: Pressures and Prospects of Representation
    Susan Harrow (Legenda, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Life and Times of Emile Zola
    F. W. J. Hemmings (Bloomsbury, 2013) Google Books →
  • Emile Zola
    William Dean Howells (The Floating Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Public Trials: Burke, Zola, Arendt, and the Politics of Lost Causes
    Lida Maxwell (Oxford University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • Emile Zola: A Very Short Introduction
    Brian Nelson (Oxford University Press, 2020) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to Emile Zola
    Brian Nelson (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Realism and Revolution: Balzac, Stendhal, Zola, and the Performances of History
    Sandy Petrey (Cornell University Press, 1988) Google Books →
  • 'Coal politics: receiving Emile Zola's Germinal'
    Arthur Rose (Modern & contemporary France, 2021, Vol.29, 2)
  • Emile Zola
    Philip D. Walker (Routledge, 1969) Google Books →
  • Germinal
    Emile Zola (trans. Peter Collier) (Oxford University Press, 1993) Google Books →
  • Germinal
    Emile Zola (trans. Roger Pearson) (Penguin Classics, 2004) Google Books →

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Programme ID: m001rq08

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Auto-category: 843.8 (French fiction - 19th century)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1884, Émile Zola began to serialise his latest work, Germinal, for the French public.