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Autor/en: Emile Zola
Autor/en: Emile Zola
Übersetzt von Ernest Alfred Vizetelly
30. November 2001 - kartoniert - 618 Seiten
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In a quiet rural village in late 19th-century France, an eleven-year-old boy is found dead in his room, sexually molested and strangled by an unknown assailant. The shocked townsfolk erupt in outrage: Who could have committed this horrible crime? Rumors immediately begin to fly and suspicions shift from one person to another as ignorant conjecture begins to feed on itself.
At first a vagrant is suspected; he could have come in through the open window while passing through the town at night. But in a matter of days another story begins to circulate: the culprit must be Simon, the Jewish schoolmaster, and the murdered boy's uncle and guardian. Did he not, it is rumored, resent the fact that the boy was the product of a mixed Catholic-Jewish marriage and was raised Catholic by his now deceased mother? Despite the total lack of evidence against him, as a Jew in the midst of a predominantly Christian community, Simon is completely vulnerable to these vicious allegations. The web of mendacity that is quickly spun around him is the product of centuries of entrenched anti-Semitism and the long-standing bitter rivalry between the Catholic majority of the town and an emerging secular minority. Through political pressure by influential Catholic clergymen and the manipulation of public opinion, the Church deftly deflects the suspicions of some that the murderer is actually one of the Christian Brothers and succeeds in gaining advantage against the threat of encroaching secularism in the town.
Based on his experiences with the infamous Dreyfus case, this powerful last novel by Émile Zola about the scape-goating of a Jewish schoolteacher is a chilling depiction of anti-Semitism fully embedded in European society and an eerie presentiment of the Holocaust that would sweep across the Continent only forty years later. But this is not the whole story, for Zola also brilliantly demonstrates how truth, though suppressed for a generation, slowly but inexorably comes to light through the dedication and perseverance of a few humble defenders, who remain unswerving in their demand for justice.
ÉMILE ZOLA was born in Paris on April 2, 1840, the son of an Italian-Greek engineer father and a French mother. When Zola was two, his family moved to Aix-en-Provence. His father died soon thereafter, leaving his mother struggling to support herself and the boy. In 1860, after two years of study at the Lycée St-Louis, Zola returned to Paris, where he became a clerk and journalist, and began his writing career. He published a collection of short stories, Conts `a Ninon (Stories for Ninon), in 1864, followed by La Confession de Claude (1865), Thérèse Raquin (1867), and Madeleine Férat (1868).
In 1871 Zola commenced the long series called Les Rougon-Macquart, a sequence of twenty books described in the subtitle as "the natural and social history of a family under the Second Empire." The series included such acclaimed works as Nana (1880), Germinal (1885), LaTerre (1887, Earth), La Bête humaine (1890, The Beast in Man), and Docteur Pascal (1893).
Zola's novel Lourdes was published in 1894 as part of the trilogy Les Trois Villes, which included Rome (1896) and Paris (1898).
With Gustave Flaubert and others, Zola helped found the Naturalist school of French literature. Its concentration on misery and misfortune swung public taste away from nineteenth-century Romanticism to a middle road of balanced taste.
In 1898, Zola espoused the cause of Alfred Dreyfus, a French army officer convicted of treason in 1894. Convinced of Dreyfus's innocence, Zola published his open letter "J'accuse" in the newspaper L'Aurore (January 13, 1898), denouncing the French general staff. This led to Zola's own trial on charges of offending the French government, which reopened the Dreyfus case to public review. Sentenced to imprisonment, Zola escaped to England. Both Dreyfus and Zola were eventually vindicated, and Zola returned to France in 1899.
Zola died on September 28, 1902.
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