Item description for The Belly of Paris (Green Integer) by Emile Zola & Ernest Alfred Vizetelly...
Little known in this country until its republication by Sun & Moon Press, The Belly of Paris is one of mile Zola's most fascinating and exciting novels-a book of culinary treats.
Translated by Zola's original English publisher, Ernest Alfred Vizetelly.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.75" Width: 4.5" Height: 6" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2006
Publisher Green Integer
ISBN 1933382724 ISBN13 9781933382722
Availability 0 units.
More About Emile Zola & Ernest Alfred Vizetelly
Brian Nelson is an Emeritus Professor of French Studies and Translation at Monash University, Melbourne. He is the author or editor of twelve books on aspects of modern French and European culture, including The Cambridge Companion to Emile Zola, and he has translated four other Zola novels for the Oxford World's Classics series. "
Reviews - What do customers think about The Belly of Paris (Green Integer)?
Big fat novel marred by cub-scout editing Feb 5, 2007
Not Zola's best work by a long shot, but mostly a good read. The many pages of description, though typical of the era and of Zola's late style, end up feeling overindulgent. I read this book in small portions, and found myself frequently bored and even agrieved by the endless word-pictures of mountains of produce and hoards of marketers. It felt as though I'd hired Zola as a guide to Les Halles only to find him pesky and insistant, always tapping me on the shoulder and urging me to look at all the colors and smell all the odors and hear all the babble. The story ended up more interesting as a period piece than as literature. But it's entertaining and worth the effort.
But I owe no thanks to the editors. This edition as so full of typos, misprints, and other errors, sometimes more than one per page, that I have to question whether the translation itself is scholarly. A greater work might have sent me to the French to double check the translation, but this book just isn't worth the effort.
If you're considering where to start with Zola, look first to L'Assommoir or Therese Raquin. They are more rewarding.
An underrated work May 3, 2005
This novel, the third in the Rougon-Macquart series, is a great example of what Zola does best. Through his minute attention to descriptive detail, he creates a setting based on historical fact, peoples it with an ensemble cast of realistic characters, and before we know it we are entangled in their lives as if we were one of the neighborhood. In this case the neighborhood is Les Halles, the huge marketplace of Paris, and the cast is composed of fish mongers, butchers, bakers, vegetable sellers, and street urchins. The two main characters are Lisa Quenu (born Lisa Macquart, daughter of Antoine Macquart), and her brother-in-law Florent. Florent, a Republican who's had some trouble with the law, seems to be an embodiment of Zola's feelings toward the revolutionary movement of the time, both positive and negative. Lisa, who runs a butcher shop with her husband, represents the moderate French citizen of the era, far more interested in the comforts and challenges of everyday life than in the events of the world outside her own immediate surroundings. While Florent entertains grandiose Utopian visions of a socialist France, politics is the last thing on Lisa's mind. Her main concern is keeping up the appearance of relative prosperity, thereby winning her family a bit of social status within the neighborhood. Depending on which edition you read, this book is either titled The Belly of Paris or The Fat and the Thin. The second title refers to two types of people in the world. On the most obvious level it could simply refer to the division between the Haves and the Have-Nots. But Zola explores the dichotomy on a deeper level, separating mankind into those who are concerned foremost with creating a comfortable life for themselves, preoccupied only by the immediate world around them (The Fat) and those who have an outward concern toward the world, life, and humanity as a whole, living a life of sacrifice--whether deliberate or not--because of a devotion to a higher cause, whether it be political conviction, art, or some other calling (The Thin). Zola doesn't pick sides, but rather points out the strengths and foibles of both types. This novel is not a masterpiece, and it won't have the kind of profound effect on you as some of Zola's better books (Germinal, La Terre, L'Assomoir). It is an engaging read, however, and can certainly stand as a worthy sidekick alongside Zola's greatest works.
A Decent Novel, But Not Zola's Best Oct 25, 2002
This novel ties the main character Flaurent with the Rougon-Macquart family through marriage of his half brother. Flaurent is a runaway convict, who lives in his half brother's shop, which is a part of the big Parisian market. Flaurent is a former school teacher, who had had no interest in politics, but once, during the coup d'etat in December of 1851, while walking along the street came under police fire and had his hands smudged in dead woman's blood. That is how he got sentenced to hard labor. There is a sharp contrast between him and most of the other characters in the novel...
The novel is somewhat draggy at times and gossips with squabbles take up lots of passages, but one must bear in mind that in the Rougon-Macquart epic Zola was trying to create the broadest possible picture of the French society under Napoleon III. That is why, besides the Parisian market, the epic narrates about: big shops defeating small ones ("Au Bonheur des dames/Ladies Paradise"), miners ("Germinal"), the stock exchange ("Argent/Money"), etc.
Like the curate's egg: good in parts Sep 3, 1999
Zola is a great author and any of his stuff is worth reading. This book breaks new ground in its portrayal of the lives of the "little people" of Paris, its detailed descriptions of food and, most of all, its use of a city district - rather than human beings - as its main character. Zola himself had great affection for it. You feel his nostalgia for his difficult early days in the capital. But ultimately the book doesn't quite gell. The famous descriptions, while being jewels in themselves, actually get in the way of the action. The plot could have been more sharply focused and, perhaps the most curious thing of all, the main human character, Florent, is only a member by marriage of the Rougon-Macquart family which the cycle of novels is about. The "real" member of the family, Lisa, has a remarkably peripheral role. Also, the book could have been made a lot shorter. But it is still rewarding for the reader because, after dealing with provincial intrigue and the capital's fat cats in his first two novels, Zola takes his first stab at portraying the people that were ultimately to make his reputation: the "lower orders".
An excellent Zola plot, but style was not translated. Mar 10, 1999
The plot for the "Belly" is excellent for those who appreciate Zola's subtle twists of fates and corruptible society. Many books by Zola have been amply translated with little lost of the style incorporated by Zola. However, in painting the markets of Paris, Zola incorporates a style similar to literary landscaping utilized by James F. Cooper (highly detailed). The translation does not flow as an artist brush on a canvas, it becomes tedious at times leaving me to skim over rather quickly, which is rare. Overall, it was worth reading, but not worth going to pains to get to it.