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Three Cities Trilogy: Lourdes, Rome & Paris: (Three Cities Trilogy)

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2,264 pages39 hours

Summary

In this trilogy, translated by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly (1853-1922), Zola delves into the history and politics of the Catholic church. The protagonist of all three novels is Abbé Pierre Froment. In Lourdes Pierre seemed in danger of losing his faith, but Rome opens with the young priest experiencing a newfound fervor toward his calling. Lourdes Lourdes, originally published in 1894, is the first volume in Emile Zola's Three Cities Trilogy. Zola examines the phenomena of the Lourdes shrine in southern France, and the pilgrims who go there. Based on his own trip to the fabled grotto, the novel follows a simple five-part structure corresponding to the five-day train trip from Paris to Lourdes and back. Rome Originally published in 1896, Rome is the second volume in the Three Cities Trilogy. The story takes place in the late 19th century, shortly after Italy has gained its independence and absorbed the former Papal States. Zola repeatedly contrasts the former glory of Imperial Rome with the city's present state of financial ruin and decay. The populace of Rome is split between two factions, the "black" and the "white"—those faithful to the Vatican and those loyal to the new Italian government. The church in turn is divided among those who adamantly cling to time-honored dogma and those who think the church must make concessions and broaden its appeal in order to survive in the modern world. Paris Paris is the third volume of the Three Cities trilogy. Published in 1898, Paris is Zola's summation of the 19th Century and his predictions and hopes for the 20th Century. In this work Zola gives a splendid portrayal of social life in Paris at the end of the century. He takes us into the lives of men and women of the upper classes, the working class, and even revolutionary Anarchists.

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