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Fruitfulness (Les Quatre Évangiles, #1)
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Fruitfulness (Les Quatre Évangiles #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  14 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Emile Zola (1840-1902) was an influential French writer and a major figure in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse. Fruitfulness (Fécondité) is the first of Zola's Four Gospels - Fruitfulness, Work, Truth, and the unfinished Justice.
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Published (first published 1899)
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Emile Zola was a novelist as famous in France as his contemporary Charles Dickens was in the UK. He wrote novels about how social conditions, heredity, and environment were inescapable forces in shaping human character. He called this Naturalism, and his first major work, Thérèse Raquin, written in this style, was a major success. Encouraged, Zola launched into the major project of his life, the 20 volume Rougon-Macquart series, which traced members of a family through 4 generations and made him ...more
Esteban Gordon
Slow at times. Genius at times. I was a bit disappointed by Zola's seeming support of European imperialism in Africa at the end even though, for the most part, he keeps up with his theme of the necessity a socialist brotherhood. The curious thing about this novel is that Mathieu is Pierre Froment's son from the Three Cities trilogy. And as Mathieu lives into his 90's - that would make the novel's ending at least in the 1970s. Funny how much change really occurred...but didn't occur.
It always seemed odd to me that Zola claimed to be an optimist, given the darkness of his "Naturalist" style. This book, though it dwells mainly on scenes of depression, crime and poverty, is about happy people. I couldn't help but feel he was all stirred up and waxing philosophical at the time of his "J'accuse" letter, making the viewpoint much more personal than his earlier work.

Surely you could trim 80 pages out of this book without losing much. (admittedly a common criticism of mine when it
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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
More about Émile Zola...

Other Books in the Series

Les Quatre Évangiles (3 books)
  • Travail: Labor (Les Quatre Évangiles, #2)
  • Truth (Les Quatre Évangiles, #3)
Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #13) Nana (Les Rougon-Macquart, #9) Thérèse Raquin L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7) La Bête humaine (Les Rougon-Macquart, #17)

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