Le Ventre de Paris (Google eBook)

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pubOne info LLC, Sep 15, 2010 - Fiction - 359 pages
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Au milieu du grand silence, et dans le desert de l'avenue, les voitures de maraichers montaient vers Paris, avec les cahots rhythmes de leurs roues, dont les echos battaient les facades des maisons, endormies aux deux bords, derriere les lignes confuses des ormes. Un tombereau de choux et un tombereau de pois, au pont de Neuilly, s'etaient joints aux huit voitures de navets et de carottes qui descendaient de Nanterre; et les chevaux allaient tout seuls, la tete basse, de leur allure continue et paresseuse, que la montee ralentissait encore. En haut, sur la charge des legumes, allonges a plat ventre, couverts de leur limousine a petites raies noires et grises, les charretiers sommeillaient, les guides aux poignets. Un bec de gaz, au sortir d'une nappe d'ombre, eclairait les clous d'un soulier, la manche bleue d'une blouse, le bout d'une casquette, entrevus dans cette floraison enorme des bouquets rouges des carottes, des bouquets blancs des navets, des verdures debordantes des pois et des choux.
  

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About the author (2010)

Zola was the spokesperson for the naturalist novel in France and the leader of a school that championed the infusion of literature with new scientific theories of human development drawn from Charles Darwin (see Vol. 5) and various social philosophers. The theoretical claims for such an approach, which are considered simplistic today, were outlined by Zola in his Le Roman Experimental (The Experimental Novel, 1880). He was the author of the series of 20 novels called The Rougon-Macquart, in which he attempted to trace scientifically the effects of heredity through five generations of the Rougon and Macquart families. Three of the outstanding volumes are L'Assommoir (1877), a study of alcoholism and the working class; Nana (1880), a story of a prostitute who is a femme fatale; and Germinal (1885), a study of a strike at a coal mine. All gave scope to Zola's gift for portraying crowds in turmoil. Today Zola's novels have been appreciated by critics for their epic scope and their visionary and mythical qualities. He continues to be immensely popular with French readers. His newspaper article "J'Accuse," written in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, launched Zola into the public limelight and made him the political conscience of his country.

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