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The Dream by Émile Zola
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The Dream (1888)

by Émile Zola

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Les Rougon-Macquart (16)

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345731,733 (3.5)26
Recently added byGoin, Didici, ucbfrench, balzac, Alliancestl

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» See also 26 mentions

English (5)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All (7)
Showing 5 of 5
Finally finished it as an adult and loved it. The descriptions of Ecclesiastical embroidery by the Bishop were outstanding in their detail of thread-of-gold and how skilled one needed to be to stitch with it. Also well-done were the descriptions of Angelique's embroidery skills for the then-highest level of embroidery.

I better understood this time around the language, the love story, the descriptions of the history of the home, the family, and Angelique's finding." Zola's kindness with these characters relative to his other books is touching and once again reaches deep into the heart of characters and their motives. And it helped my French remain at the forefront of my brain." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Part of the 20-vol Rougon-Marquart cycle. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
like the fairy tales.the story of the orphan Angélique.and her dream to be saved by a handsome prince and to live happily ever after....
the end was very sad....
( )
  ariesblue | Mar 31, 2013 |
Unlike the other works of Zola's I've read so far, this one doesn't concentrate on broad social issues, but is centered on one girl and her struggles with love and religion. I read it because it was the next in Zola's recommended order of reading the Rougon-Macquart cycle; the girl, Angelique, is the abandoned, illegitimate daughter of Sidonie, the sister of Saccard in The Kill. And although the novel, like the rest of the cycle, takes place during the mid-19th century Second Empire, the tale harks back much more to medieval times and medieval ways of thinking.

Angelique is discovered, starving and faint, huddling in the doorway of St. Agnes, the cathedral in the town of Beaumont, by the Huberts, a childless couple who live in an ancient house built against the wall of the cathedral. The most recent in a family of embroiderers of church vestments, the Huberts take Angelique in as an apprentice. As she grows up, reading legends of virgin saints and martyrs, she develops a dream that a prince will marry her and take her away. When a handsome young man, who is not who he seems to be, appears in her life, she believes her dream is coming true. I don't want to give too much away but, needless to say, obstacles arise.

Aside from the plot, much of the novel is taken up with the details of hand embroidery (superseded in large part by mechanical methods at the time of the story), church architecture (also medieval), and the lives of female saints. (The edition I read, unlike the Penguin and Oxford World Classics editions of other book by Zola I've read, did not have notes, and I would have dearly loved them to help me understand terms of architecture, embroidery, and heraldry, as well as the lives of the saints.) Recurring themes include death, martyrdom, virginity as well as the inability to bear children, the contrast between the rituals and indeed luxury of the church and the poverty of the people who live in the old section of the town around the cathedral, and the difficulties of interaction among people of different classes.

With Zola's belief that families pass along behavioral traits genetically, the reader sees Angelique struggling with her "family" demons, struggling to give up her pride and stubbornness and submit to the rules of proper behavior, although one does not have to believe in the inheritance of acquired characteristics to believe that, after the traumas of her early life, Angelique would be angry and determined. As always, Zola is a great story teller who demonstrates his thorough investigations of the worlds he depicts (especially, in this case, the techniques and materials of hand embroidery), and who can create great set pieces as well as insights into human psychology. The characters of the Huberts, the young man, and his father, as well as Angelique, are fascinating, with those of the older people in particular rooted in tragedies of the past. Much of the drama in this book takes place internally, inside people's minds, inside the Huberts' house or the cathedral, rather than out in the world as in other Zola novels. This was an excellent book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I think I like the novels with greater social scope better.
9 vote rebeccanyc | Oct 26, 2012 |
I struggled with this - found the descriptions of saints etc hard to relate to. It was worth persevering to find out the conclusion but wasn't one of the most compelling of Zola's novels. ( )
  judyb65 | Jun 16, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zola, Émileprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glencross, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ripoll, Rogersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0720612535, Paperback)

A love idyll between a poor embroideress and the son of a wealthy aristocratic family set against the background of a town in Northern France

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

Emile Zola's novel Le Rve (1888) is a love idyll between a poor embroideress and the son of a wealthy aristocratic family set against the background of a sleepy cathedral town in northern France. A far cry from the seething, teeming world evoked in Zola's best-known novels, it may at first seem a strange interlude between La Terre and La Bte Humaine in the 20-volume sequence known as the Rougon-Macquart cycle. However, belying its appearance as a simple fairytale the work reveals many of Zola's characteristic themes, the conflict between heredity and environment, between spirituality and sensuality, between the powerful and the powerless. The dream of Anglique, the central character, is at once reality and illusion, and this interplay provides the driving force of the novel. Above all, it is, as Zola himself described it, a poem of passion, showing the lyrical dimension of his genius. This important new translation by Michael Glencross, the first in English since that of Eliza Chase in 1893, recaptures the vigor of Zola's original. The translator also provides a helpful introduction that situates the novel in the context of Zola's life and work as a whole.… (more)

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