La Débâcle

My title speaks not merely of war, but also of the crumbling of a regime and the end of a world Emile Zola The penultimate novel of the Rougon Macquart cycle, La D b cle 1892 takes as its subject the dramatic events of the Franco Prussian War and the Commune of 1870 1 During Zola s lifetime it was the bestselling of all his novels, praised by contemporaries for its e My title speaks not merely of war, but also of the crumbling of a regime and the end of a world Emile Zola The penultimate novel of the Rougon Macquart cycle, La D b cle 1892 takes as its subject the dramatic events of the Franco Prussian War and the Commune of 1870 1 During Zola s lifetime it was the bestselling of all his novels, praised by contemporaries for its epic sweep as well as for its attention to historical detail La D b cle seeks to explain why the Second Empire ended in a crushing military defeat and revolutionary violence It focuses on ordinary soldiers, showing their bravery and suffering in the midst of circumstances they cannot control, and includes some of the most powerful descriptions Zola ever wrote Zola skilfully integrates his narrative of events and the fictional lives of his characters to provide the finest account of this tragic chapter in the history of France Often compared to War and Peace, La D b cle has been described as a seminal work for all modern depictions of war.
La D b cle My title speaks not merely of war but also of the crumbling of a regime and the end of a world Emile Zola The penultimate novel of the Rougon Macquart cycle La D b cle takes as its subject the

  • Title: La Débâcle
  • Author: Émile Zola
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 169
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “La Débâcle”

    1. IntroductionNote on the TranslationSelect BibliographyA Chronology of Émile ZolaThe Franco-Prussian War and the CommuneMapsThe Fictional Characters--La DébâcleExplanatory Notes

    2. Underfed soldiers are led apparently haphazardly about Northern France. At one point on their continual marching they see Napoleon III on horseback, the make-up not able to hide that he is dying of cancer and as such a symbol of the second empire on horseback - slowly dying but trying to cover things up with a brightly painted exterior. Eventually the Germans put them all out of their misery.As this is part of Zola's great cycle several of the main characters are related to characters in other b [...]

    3. bbc/programmes/b07zv3gpDescription: Adelaide Fouque (Dide) is 104 years old, trapped in her small room in the local asylum, but omniscient as she broods over her extended family. As a young woman, she gave birth to two dynasties that exemplified French society - one legitimate, rich, powerful, obsessive and corrupt; the other illegitimate, poor, vulnerable, weak and depraved. France is on the brink of a new Empire. Her family is a turbulent mix of the good, the bad and the misguided.Damaged by a [...]

    4. This is superb. A historical novel about the astonishing failure of the French at Sedan on Prussia's 1870 invasion. I've read it two or three times, and will read it again. What greater praise can there be than that?

    5. شکست. در ابتدا چیزی که برایم جالب بود، نام ساده‌ کتاب بود. عادت کرده‌ بودم نام کتاب‌های زولا، کمی کوبنده یا خاص باشد، مانند گناه کشیش موره، آسوموار (شرابخانه)، نانا و کتاب ویژه او با آن اسم عجیب و غریبش: ژرمینال. اما این یکی، خیلی ساده: شکست. خب، کتاب خیلی مرتب و دست‌به‌سینه مث [...]

    6. Emile Zola takes as his subject one of the most searing moments in French history: The defeat at Sedan in the abortive Franco-Prussian War, followed by the Paris Commune, in which the inhabitants of Paris, in effect, rose up and nullified the Versailles government under Adolphe Thiers. The action is seen through the eyes of two soldier friends, Jean Macquart and Maurice Levasseur. Although the breadth of the subject matter makes it difficult for The Debacle not to appear to be too diffuse, Zola [...]

    7. Wow, this was great. This has to be one of the best books ever written that describes what it's like to be in a war. War and Peace was a mess compared to this. How can people prefer War and Peace over this work? The characters are believable, the story is very simple, but the descriptions of the conditions are downright unforgettable. The book does a fantastic job of showing you how deeply people feel when put in life and death situations where their country, beliefs and entire way of life are a [...]

    8. Zola was an admirer of Balzac and wanted to write a similar collection of novels as La Comédie humaine of his hero, but he was unable to quite see how to do it. When the Second Empire of Napoleon III fell in 1870-71, Zola was able to finally formulate his plan. He began with the coup d'etat in 1848 with his The Fortune of the Rougons and wrote through to the collapse of the Empire with La Débâcle. Yes, there is one more in the series, Le Docteur Pascal - I don't expect the drama, but rather a [...]

    9. The catastrophe of the Franco-Prussian war according to Zola. Even if I went to a French school and I did learn about this war, it is only reading this book that I have realised what it meant for France and its people, as well as for Napoleon III. Zola mercilessly describes the chaos and lack of organisation inside the French army (compared to the efficiency of Prussia), during and before the war. It particularly concentrates on the battle of Sedan, a battle when it became clear that France was [...]

    10. When I think of war novels, I'm inexorably drawn towards the literature of WWI. Maybe because I've studied them more, maybe because it was the first genuinely modern war, a naive continent wrenched into the brutality of the twentieth century. It's relatively easy to forget that the Great War doesn't have the monopoly on modern European war literature. It seems such a unique experience, at that time when warfare was changing forever, but of course the seeds of those changes in warfare are to be f [...]

    11. On my mother's side, my great grandparents emigrated to the United States in the 1870's. Family stories implied that they emigrated before and possibly because of the Franco-Prussian War. They may also have left to avoid family members from being drafted into the Prussian Army. I recently did some additional research and understand that the conscription of every male Prussian of military age in the event of mobilization was enacted by Albrecht von Roon, the Prussian Minister of War in 1860s. Thi [...]

    12. Last year I read Germinal, which was about post-Second Empire coal miners struggling to survive the Industrial Revolution. This volume (#19 of 20) of the Rougon-Macquart universe is set a bit earlier, beginning in 1870 right before the fatal blow to Napoleon III's reign at the infamous Battle of Sedan and finishing at the climax of the Paris Commune. Most of the book is taken up by a sort of buddy movie starring two ordinary French soldiers suffering through the poor organization and even worse [...]

    13. I read the Penguin Classics edition, translated by Leonard Tancock, which, I will admit, gave me the liberty to refer to the title as "The Debacle," which I appreciated, as my tongue doesn't work very well in French. The Tancock translation works fine, but it did seem a little rigid at times; the Penguin version of GERMINAL goes by without any effort at all, so I was surprised when I had to work through parts of this book. Maybe the Oxford version is better? Someone recommended this novel as bei [...]

    14. 'The Debacle' is Zola’s account of 1870 and 1871, a painful period for France. It is, however, still not as traumatic to read as Germinal, which one doesn’t so much read as attempt to survive. When I started to read 'The Debacle', I was hopeful that it would dwell on the Paris Commune, which I am fascinated by. Sadly, this is not the case and the majority of the narrative concerns the Franco-Prussian war, which France lost in a spectacularly disastrous fashion. Nevertheless, it paints an inc [...]

    15. Well-researched historical fiction on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 by a great French novelist, Emile Zola (Germinal). It was written 23 years after the event and the author read a stack of accounts and was able to interview some eyewitnesses. His fictional and quasi-historical characters help you to empathize with those (military and civilian) who experienced this tragic war and its aftermath which was an indirect cause of WW I. Many of his favorite characters suffer or die as he narrates [...]

    16. I went through an arc with this book, which started out slow and uneventful; it must have been Zola's purpose, though, to convey the plodding and desultory sense of aimlessness and helplessness that affected the French soldiers in the lead-up to Sedan. The intricacies of the various sub-plots, the grand sweep and nuances of the historical scenes, the predicaments and personalities of the characters,the vivid and forceful language Zola uses all engrossed me, though, and I became drawn in and comp [...]

    17. So far the finest selection of French literature. Although I`ve enjoyed many novels written by Zola, Proust, Hugo and others, this piece of literature seems to be the best. If you look into it from the point of view of criticism, La Débâcle is undeniably strong. If you look into it from the aesthetic point of view, the book moves one more than one might expect. E.Zola did a huge research and depicted the maybe ugliest French war in a very precise and fine way. Characters are also exciting, sur [...]

    18. Ce tome des Rougon-Macquart traite de la guerre, plus particulièrement la guerre Franco-Prussienne des années 1870 qui a mis fin au Second Empire. Zola raconte en détail la vie de soldats qui ont vécu l'humiliation de la défaite des troupes Française. On y voit dans les détails la difficile marche des soldats non entraînés face la machine bien huilée de la future Allemagne. Les descriptions de blessures, d'ambutation et de toute sortes de maladies et mutilations y sont mis bien en évi [...]

    19. Book 19 of the Rougon Maquart series. I skim-read this, so I'm marking it as unfinished rather than as read. I think it would have been of great interest to its French audience at its time of publication, not many years after the FrancoPrussian war. I enjoyed reading about several characters who had appeared in earlier books in the series. I skimmed very quickly through the parts relating to actual battles. In fact the main violence, comes in a nonbattlefield sequence. Only 1 book to go!

    20. A fascinating look at the Franco-Prussian War through the eyes, mostly, of Jean Macquart. My only irritation was Zola's seeming to make the Communards the villains of the fall of Paris.

    21. Bien documenté, un poil long, mais plutôt agréable pour un Zola. L'histoire est bien rythmée. Je n'ai pas lu les 18 premiers tomes de la saga

    22. Цикл романов о потомках Аделаиды Фук близок к завершению. Наполеон III потерпел поражение под Седаном от Пруссии и был пленён. Это привело к закату Второй империи. Почему так произошло? Эмиль Золя подробно взялся о том рассказать. Читателя ждёт повествование о безграмотном [...]

    23. Algún día me explayaré con el tema de las diferentes traducciones y adaptaciones que puede tener un libro. Muchas veces cuando digo que mi libro favorito es Les Miserables y me responden: sí lo lei! o el mío también!, me queda la duda de saber exactamente que edición y que traducción leyeron, porque realmente, no es lo mismo!!! Me ha sorprendido mucho que esta novela me dejara tan fría. Hasta que la lectura de otra traducción más recomendada me indique lo contrario, se quedará sólo [...]

    24. A superb anti-war novel of France during the tragedies of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the Paris Commune of 1871 focusing on two comrades, the conservative practical peasant, Jean, and the more intellectual middle class, occasionally impractical and hysterical, Maurice. The build-up to the disastrous Battle of Sedan occupies much of the text with an array of believable characters such as the old peasant Fouchard. The only evidence of the 1892 publication date is the occasional melodramati [...]

    25. The sad, sad tale of Jean continues in this sweeping epic of the Franco-Prussian War and the disastrous effect it had on France. The incompetence, corruption, and the hollow vacuousness of the Second Empire was exposed, rejected, overthrown. Although, I've read 'The Debacle' was the most popular of Mr Zola's novels, it wasn't mine. However, I'm not French living in the aftermath of such a debacle. 4 stars, recommended not essential reading.

    26. "Et Maurice, le bras tendu vers de petites lumières lointaines qui s'allumaient gaiement dans les verdures, au fond de cette vallée féconde, d'un charme délicieux sous la douceur du crépuscule, dit à Jean, avec le soulagement joyeux d'un homme qui retrouve un pays aimé : "Tiens ! Regarde là-bas Voilà Sedan !"

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