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Nana (1880)

by Émile Zola

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Les Rougon-Macquart (9)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,462572,854 (3.76)1 / 259
French realism's most beguiling femme fatale, Nana crawled from the gutter to ascend the heights of Parisian society, devouring men and squandering fortunes along the way. Her corruption reflects the degenerate state of the Second Empire and her story -- a classic of French literature -- is among the first modern novels.… (more)

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English (43)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Not a bad story for what it was. As a way of showing a certain type of culture and behaviour it works well but it doesn't really engage on an emotional level, despite being well written and richly described.
The only other Zola i've read is [b:L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop)|92967|L'Assommoir (The Dram Shop) (Les Rougon-Macquart, #7)|Émile Zola|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1309282204s/92967.jpg|741363], which featured Nana's mother as the main character and that was very engaging and harrowing.
Nana however doesn't have much of a character to empathize with, being shallow, uneducated, impulsive and self-destructive.
Ironically given the nature of the story the author uses her to fulfill whichever role he needs, much like the other characters do. Her personality changes somewhat with each chapter and said chapters are so self-contained it almost becomes a collection of short stories.
Nana's lack of and changing character, a large cast and the episodic nature of the tale all combine to keep events feeling remote to the reader.
Which on the one hand is a good thing because i don't need to be emotionally scarred again ;) , but on the other hand still makes it less compelling.
On a side-note the story reminded me strongly of the film Pandora's Box at times, which can't be a bad thing :) . ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
H.H. 36
  BSH-Nordli | Apr 28, 2021 |
Nana had a brief career as a talentless actress before finding success as a courtesan. Although vulgar and ignorant, she has a destructive sexuality that attracts many wealthy and powerful men. Cruelly despising the emotions of her lovers, Nana wastes her fortunes, leading many of them to ruin and even suicide.

The novel represents a radical change of style for Zola, who for many years led the Naturalist Movement in France, as Nana evolves around symbolism and not naturalism. The symbols used by Zola are those that represent the many facets of the main character, Nana.

With a moral of her own, Nana manipulates those who are passionate about her and those she needs to expand her influence.

It is a brilliant novel by the renowned writer. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Feb 19, 2021 |
When I discovered Zola in my teens, he was my favourite author. Now....well, he sure can write, but I put this down with some relief as the frantic, crazy, debauched world of actress/ prostitute Nana reached the final page.
Zola's realism means that the reader feels as if he's watching a movie rather than reading a book. Great parties, race meetings, theatrical spectacles, full of great crowds of people who constantly mill around, sleeping with one another and moving up and down the social ladder as the novel progresses. There's not much in the way of what they feel (I couldnt really see what Nana was thinking...or maybe she didnt think?) or what the author's feelings were.
Nana, meanwhile, is an unexceptional actress, but posseses a sexual allure that ensnares every man she meets. Getting rich from her wealthy paramours...but hopelessly unable to use the money wisely...and given to dumping her men in a fit of pique...and ending back up on the streets to pay her bills...while her servants are quietly lining their own nests at her expense....
It went on. It reached a peak of just OTT sensuality. I couldnt BELIEVE that one prostitute, however alluring, could ruin so many men....though I think bythis time, Zola is using her as a symbol of France's Second Republic (about which i don't know enough to venture an opinion). As Nana lies in a hotel, while soldiers march outside crying "To Berlin!" (the Franco-Prussian war is about to start), I think the reader is expected to see the parallel.
Fetid, unsavory and debauched...but absolutely a literary achievement. ( )
  starbox | Feb 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (97 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zola, Émileprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyd, ErnestIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martí i Pol, MiquelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitterand, HenriEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parmée, DouglasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parmée, DouglasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plarr, VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwencke, J.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At nine o'clock in the evening the body of the house at the Theatres des Varietes was still all but empty.
At nine o'clock the auditorium of the Théâtre des Variétés was still virtually empty; a few people were waiting in the dress circle and the stalls, lost among the red velvet armchairs, in the half-light of the dimly glowing chandelier. (George Holden translation)
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French realism's most beguiling femme fatale, Nana crawled from the gutter to ascend the heights of Parisian society, devouring men and squandering fortunes along the way. Her corruption reflects the degenerate state of the Second Empire and her story -- a classic of French literature -- is among the first modern novels.

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Nana est un roman d’Émile Zola publié par Georges Charpentier en février 1880, le neuvième de la série Les Rougon-Macquart, traitant du thème de la prostitution féminine à travers le parcours d’une lorette puis cocotte dont les charmes ont affolé les plus hauts dignitaires du Second Empire. Le récit, présenté comme la suite de L'Assommoir, est d'abord publié sous forme de feuilleton dans Le Voltaire du 16 octobre 1879 au 5 février 1880, puis en volume chez Charpentier, le 14 février 1880.L’histoire commence en 1867, peu avant la deuxième exposition universelle, et dépeint deux catégories sociales symboliques, celle des courtisanes et celle des noceurs. Zola, chef de file du mouvement naturaliste, prétend montrer la société telle qu’elle était mais choisit aussi ce sujet scandaleux car il fait vendre, 55 000 exemplaires du texte de Charpentier étant achetés dès le premier jour de sa publication. Le personnage de Nana a surtout été inspiré à Zola par Blanche D'Antigny et par Berthe son premier amour, mais le romancier y a aussi mis des éléments de Valtesse de La Bigne, Delphine de Lizy, Anna Deslions, Hortense Schneider et Cora Pearl dont il a étudié la vie5. Zola fait coïncider la mort de Nana avec le début de la guerre franco-allemande de 1870 qui marquera la fin du Second Empire, chute qu'il ne pouvait prévoir au moment de la rédaction de ses fiches préparatoires en 1868Cet édition comprend une autobiographie de l'auteur.
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