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Nana (1880)

by Émile Zola

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Les Rougon-Macquart (9)

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3,635612,966 (3.76)1 / 276
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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 Author Theme Reads: Nana by Zola4 unread / 4BALE, May 2013

» See also 276 mentions

English (46)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
The greatest novelistic device here is the crescendo that swells up toward the denouement. Quasi-spoiler: The novel descends into a gross, hellish bacchanal presided over by an increasingly profligate succubus. Toward the end, Nana even forces her lovers to imitate animals while she kicks and otherwise abuses them. “The house seemed to have been built over an abyss in which men were swallowed up -- their possessions, their bodies, their very names -- without leaving even a trace of dust behind them. . . . Heaps of men piled on top of one another, and barrowfuls of gold, failed to fill the hole which, in the midst of this ruinous luxury, went on growing under the floors of her house.” ( )
  BeauxArts79 | Oct 17, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote after reading in 1990: "Life of excess in Paris." Well, that was terse! Suspect a second read would strike you differently; seems that Nana had strong power over men, which you don't much encounter is older literature. Also, the quotes from this book are stunning; a whole book to enjoy in a less prudish frame of mind. ( )
  MGADMJK | Apr 1, 2022 |
French literature, from 1001 books, TBR takedown. A story of the life of a prostitute who rises from street walker to high class but as she does so, she destroys many lives and her true nature comes out in the end. Not much to like about Nana, she embodies a whole lot of negative characteristics. Not my favorite Zola. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 11, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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