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Book awards: Western World's Greatest Books - Project Gutenberg

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Works (481)

TitlesOrder
The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
1984 by George Orwell
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden
The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Adonais by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by Tobias Smollett
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Aeneid by Virgil
Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
Albigenses: A Romance by Charles Robert Maturin
The Alchemist by Ben Jonson
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare
The Ambassadors by Henry James
Amelia by Henry Fielding
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Amerika by Franz Kafka
Andromache [in translation] by Euripides
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Antigone by Sophocles
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights by Richard Burton
Areopagitica by John Milton
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
The Artamonov Business by Maxim Gorky
As You Like It by William Shakespeare
At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels by H. P. Lovecraft
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Bacchae [Greek text] by Euripides
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Barren Ground by Ellen Glasgow
Bartholomew Fair by Ben Jonson
Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville
The Beggar's Opera by John Gay
Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
Beowulf by Beowulf Poet
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville
Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Birds by Aristophanes
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Blue Hotel by Stephen Crane
Born in Exile by George Gissing
The Bostonians by Henry James
Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763 by James Boswell
Bourgeois Gentleman / Doctor in Spite of Himself / Learned Ladies / Misanthrope / Pretentious Young Ladies / Tartuffe by Jean-Baptiste Moliere
Bouvard and Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert
The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Burmese Days by George Orwell
By the Open Sea by August Strindberg
Caleb Williams or, Things as They Are by William Godwin
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Camilla by Fanny Burney
Candida by George Bernard Shaw
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Castle by Franz Kafka
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope
Cecilia, or, Memoirs of an Heiress by Fanny Burney
Chaereas and Callirhoe by Khariton
The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal
The Charwoman's Daughter by James Stephens
The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Childe Harold: Cantos I - IV by Lord Byron
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Le Cid by Pierre Corneille
Clarissa: The History of a Young Lady, Riverside edition (Abridged) by Samuel Richardson
Coleridge's Ancient Mariner; Kubla Khan And Christabel (1914) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Including the Letters (Bollingen Series LXXI) by Plato
The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Coming Up for Air by George Orwell
The Complete Plays by Christopher Marlowe
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare
The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Confessions by Augustine
The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
The Counterfeiters by André Gide
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
Daisy Miller: A Comedy by Henry James
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin
Desire Under The Elms / Strange Interlude / Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill
The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet
Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai Gogol
The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
Don Juan by Lord Byron
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dubliners by James Joyce
Duino Elegies & The Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke
The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane
Elective affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Electra by Euripides
Emile, or On Education by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Emma by Jane Austen
The Enchanted Wanderer: and Other Stories by Nikolai Leskow
The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales by Nikolai Leskow
An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
Essais by Michel de Montaigne
An essay on man by Alexander Pope
The Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza
Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse by Alexander Pushkin
Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
Euphues: the Anatomy of Wit by John Lyly
Evelina by Frances Burney
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett
Experiences of an Irish R.M. by E. OE. Somerville
Fables of Aesop by Aesop
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Fanny Hill by John Cleland
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
Faust I & II by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Pérez-Galdós
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The fruits of the earth by André Gide
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
Germinal by Émile Zola
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
The Golden Ass by Apuleius
The Golden Bowl by Henry James
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Hand of Ethelberta by Thomas Hardy
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
He Knew He Was Right by Anthony Trollope
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
Heliodorus: An Ethiopian Romance by Emesa Heliodorus
Hell by Henri Barbusse
Henry IV, Part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems and Other Writings (Library of America) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Hippolytus by Euripides
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The House by the Medlar Tree by Giovanni Verga
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Hunger by Knut Hamsun
Hyperion by Friedrich Hölderlin
The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson
The Immoralist by André Gide
Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel
In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
In Memoriam (Norton Critical Edition) by Alfred Lord Tennyson
In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano
The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
The Iron Heel by Jack London
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
Ivanov / The Seagull / Uncle Vanya / Three Sisters / The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Jacques the Fatalist by Denis Diderot
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
John Donne's Poetry [Norton Critical Edition] by John Donne
Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Julie, or the New Eloise by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Justine by Marquis de Sade
Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Kids Bible: King James Version
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
King Lear by William Shakespeare
A King Lear of the Steppes/Rudin by Ivan Turgenev
King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
The Kiss (Pocket Penguins 70's) by A.P. Chekhov
The Kiss and Other Stories by Anton Pawlowitsj Tsjechof
The Kreutzer Sonata (Odin's Library Classics) by Leo Tolstoy
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by James Boswell
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lives of the English Poets by Samuel Johnson
Lives of the Noble Romans by Plutarch
Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel
Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac
Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood
The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Tales (BiblioLife) by Bret Harte
Lysistrata [in translation] by Aristophanes
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw
The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein
Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont
Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw
The Man of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie
The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil
Manfred by George Gordon Byron
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Marius the Epicurean by Walter Pater
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Martin Eden by Jack London
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson
Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company by Multatuli
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin
Memoirs of the Extraordinary Life, Works, and Discoveries of Martinus Scriblerus by Alexander Pope
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Metamorphoses by Ovid
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning
Middlemarch by George Eliot
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
Miss Julie by August Strindberg
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
A Modest Proposal and Other Satirical Works by Jonathan Swift
Moll Flanders: The Fortunes and Misfortunes by Daniel Defoe
The Monastery by Sir Walter Scott
The Monk by Matthew Lewis
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Le Morte D'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table (Signet Classics) by Sir Thomas Malory
Mother by Maxim Gorki
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
The Nature of Things by Lucretius
New Grub Street by George Gissing
News from Nowhere by William Morris
Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Nun by Denis Diderot
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
The Odyssey by Homer
Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
On the Eve by Ivan Turgenev
One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand by Luigi Pirandello
The Open Boat and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) by Stephen Crane
The Open Window by Saki
The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Ormond by Maria Edgeworth
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
Othello by William Shakespeare
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte
The Overcoat and Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson
Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Paul's Case and Other Stories by Willa Cather
Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
Pensées by Blaise Pascal
The People of Hemso by August Strindberg
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Phaedra by Jean Racine
Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Pierre and Jean by Guy de Maupassant
The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Plato's Republic by Plato
The Playboy of the Western World by J. M. Synge
Plutarch's Lives by Plutarch
Poe: Poetry and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
The Poems of Alexander Pope by Alexander Pope
Poetics by Aristotle
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking: Popular Lectures on Philosophy by William James
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
The Princesse de Cleves by Madame de La Fayette
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
The Professor's House by Willa Cather
Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
Prometheus Unbound by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
Rameau's Nephew and D'Alembert's Dream (Penguin Classics) by Denis Diderot
Rashomon and Other Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
The Real Charlotte by Edith Somerville
The Red and the Black by Stendhal
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Red Room by August Strindberg
Reflections on Things at Hand; the Neo-Confucian Anthology by Chu Hsi
Representative Men by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Reveries of the Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Richard II by William Shakespeare
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, Christabel, and the Conversation Poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells
Rob Roy by Walter Scott
Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress by Daniel Defoe
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám by Omar Khayyám
Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw
Sappho: A New Translation by Sappho
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Scots Quair by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
The Seagull by Anton Chekhov
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne
The Shadow-Line: A Confession by Joseph Conrad
She by H. Rider Haggard
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
The Sickness Unto Death by Søren Kierkegaard
Silas Marner by George Eliot
A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain Poet
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello
The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
Sophocles, The Oedipus Cycle: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone by Sophocles
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev
The Story of Gösta Berling by Selma Lagerlöf
Strait is the Gate by André Gide
Summa Theologiae by Thomas Aquinas
A Tale of A Tub by Jonathan Swift
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tamburlaine by Christopher Marlowe
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Gustave Flaubert
Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
The Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous
Three Lives : Stories of the Good Anna, Melanctha, and the Gentle Lena by Gertrude Stein
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Jr. Dana
Ulysses by James Joyce
Uncle Silas: A Tale of Bartram-Haugh by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov
Under Fire by Henri Barbusse
Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices by Dylan Thomas
Utopia by Thomas More
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Vathek by William Beckford
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
Virgin Soil by Ivan Turgenev
Volpone, or The Fox by Ben Jonson
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walden & On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Washington Square by Henry James
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
The Way of the World by William Congreve
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
What Maisie Knew by Henry James
Wild Harbour by Ian Macpherson
Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Years by Virginia Woolf
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories {Tantor AudioBook} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo

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S'il a choisi l'univers des mineurs pour situer son décor, ce n'est pas par hasard: les accidents y sont fréquents et l'agitation sociale aussi. Toujours animé du désir de voir de ses propres yeux le spectacle qu'il décrit, il décide d'aller visiter les corons du Nord. Le voici à Denain, où une conversation avec un ancien mineur lui ouvre des horizons nouveaux. Mais cela ne lui suffit pas et il obtient l'autorisation de descendre dans un puits. Malgré son embonpoint, malgré le froid qui règne à une certaine profondeur, courbé en deux, haletant, à bout de forces, Zola va jusqu'au bout de son exploration. Elle lui inspire un tableau d'un réalisme saisissant quand il raconte la tâche quotidienne des mineurs: « Ils cessaient de sentir l'eau qui ruisselait et enflait leurs membres, les crampes des attitudes forcées, l'étouffement des ténèbres. Pourtant, à mesure que la journée avançait, l'air s'empoisonnait davantage, se chauffait de la fumée des lampes, de la pestilence des haleines, de l'asphyxie du grisou... Eux, au fond de leur trou de taupe, sous le poids de la terre, n'ayant plus de souffle dans leurs poitrines embrasées, tapaient toujours.» Zola ne pourrait raconter ce qu'il voit avec de tels accents de vérité s'il n'était déjà gagné à la cause de ceux dont il parle, s'il ne blâmait pas au fond de lui les conditions d'existence qui sont les leurs. le mineurs au temps d'Emile Zola S'il a choisi l'univers des mineurs pour situer son décor, ce n'est pas par hasard: les accidents y sont fréquents et l'agitation sociale aussi. Toujours animé du désir de voir de ses propres yeux le spectacle qu'il décrit, il décide d'aller visiter les corons du Nord. Le voici à Denain, où une conversation avec un ancien mineur lui ouvre des horizons nouveaux. Mais cela ne lui suffit pas et il obtient l'autorisation de descendre dans un puits. Malgré son embonpoint, malgré le froid qui règne à une certaine profondeur, courbé en deux, haletant, à bout de forces, Zola va jusqu'au bout de son exploration. Elle lui inspire un tableau d'un réalisme saisissant quand il raconte la tâche quotidienne des mineurs: « Ils cessaient de sentir l'eau qui ruisselait et enflait leurs membres, les crampes des attitudes forcées, l'étouffement des ténèbres. Pourtant, à mesure que la journée avançait, l'air s'empoisonnait davantage, se chauffait de la fumée des lampes, de la pestilence des haleines, de l'asphyxie du grisou... Eux, au fond de leur trou de taupe, sous le poids de la terre, n'ayant plus de souffle dans leurs poitrines embrasées, tapaient toujours.» Zola ne pourrait raconter ce qu'il voit avec de tels accents de vérité s'il n'était déjà gagné à la cause de ceux dont il parle, s'il ne blâmait pas au fond de lui les conditions d'existence qui sont les leurs. les mineurs au temps de Zola Zola a tout parcouru, tout vu, tout noté. Les corons: « En longue file, deux rangs de maisons collées dos à dos. Un petit trottoir de brique. De l'autre côté de la rue, des jardins sales, plantés d'arbustes maigres, sans allées tracées, très peu cultivées. Des puits communs, des lieux communs. Vieux baquets, vieux ustensiles traînant. ». Il a visité une de ces maisons. La pièce du bas où tout le monde vit avec son sol dallé, ses meubles d'ouvriers, un buffet en sapin verni, une table, des chaises, un coucou... En haut, le couloir où les enfants couchent, une chambre pour le père et la mère. Pas loin, il y a toujours quelque cabaret, puisque, à peine arrivé, Zola a lorgné vers les cabarets en masse. Le dimanche leur est consacré. L'après-midi, la tournée des cabarets commence. C'est là que l'ivresse devient possible. 5 % d'ivrognes parmi les hommes mariés, 20 % parmi les jeunes gens. Soupe et frites composent le menu habituel des enfants. Le mineur avale deux grosses assiettées de soupe en rentrant à 3 heures ( il est parti bien avant l'aube ) puis de la ratatouille qu'il retrouve aussi le soir, accompagnée de porc maison, c'est un ragoût de pommes de terre, d'oignons frits et d'oseille. Le lapin engraissé dans un coin du jardin, c'est pour certains dimanches. Geminal Observateur passionné, Zola manie aussi le crayon. On trouve dans ses notes nombre de croquis comme la toilette du mineur au milieu des siens. Sitôt franchie la porte de la maison, l'ouvrier se déshabille entièrement, suspend son vêtement qu' il ne change que le lundi et se plonge dans un baquet ; à leur tour, les enfants, filles et garçons travaillant à la mine, se lavent dans la même eau. Quand Zola rentre à Paris, tandis que la grève se poursuit durant cinquante-six jours, il rassemble ses notes et les joint à la documentation déjà amassée avant d'aller sur le terrain. le 2 avril I884, Zola rédige donc la première page de Germinal. Il a tracé dans le détail la trame de l'ouvrage avec sa fin tragique. Quelques jours plus tard, le 17 avril. la grève du bassin d'Anzin se termine aux conditions imposées par la compagnie, dont le but est de briser le syndicalisme ouvrier naissant tandis que, paradoxalement, se prépare la loi reconnaissant l'existence des syndicats. Près de vingt ans plus tard, les mineurs rendront un vibrant hommage à leur poète quand ils suivront son cortège funèbre jusqu'au cimetière de Montmartre, le 5 octobre 1902. en scandant : « Germinal ! Germinal !

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