Zola's masterpiece of working life, Germinal (1885), exposes the inhuman conditions of miners in northern France in the 1860s. By Zola's death in 1902 it had come to symbolize the call for freedom from oppression so forcefully that the crowd which gathered at his State funeral chanted "Germinal Germinal "
While it is a dramatic novel of working life and everyday relationships, Germinal is also a complex novel of ideas, given fresh vigor and power in this new translation. It is also the thirteenth book in the Rougon-Macquart cycle, which celebrates its centenary in October 1993 with a new film version of Germinal starring Gerard Depardieu.
'A good translator uses the language of his day; the original text remains fixed, but translations must move with the times. Collier's, though differing from, and not always improving on, Tancock's, is likely to have the same startling effect on the reader coming fresh to it today as his prdecessor's had forty years ago.'
F.W.J. Hemmings, French Studies, Vol. 48, Part 4