Today is the bicentenary of Karl Marx (1818-83), an anniversary being observed around the world. So what better time to dig out that battered teenage copy of The Communist Manifesto (1848) and all three groaning volumes of Das Kapital (1867-83)? If the scale of that undertaking sounds daunting, fear not. Here is a selection of left-leaning writers who followed in the political philosopher’s wake, using fiction as a more readily digestible means of bringing socialist ideas to the reading public. Emile Zola (1840-1902) The great French novelist’s 20-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart sought to encompass all aspects of contemporary society in the manner of Honore de Balzac’s mammoth La Comedie Humaine (1829-47). Zola’s panoramic novel sequence comprised thrilling but naturalistic tales of the working lives of everyone from prostitutes to train drivers and crooked financiers in works like Nana (1880), La Bete Humaine (1890) and L’Argent (1891). Gerard Depardieu as Toussaint Maheu in Claude Berri’s 1993 film of Zola’s novel (Moviestore Collection/Rex/Shutterstock) Few books could be more prescient than Germinal (1885), his account of coal miners toiling by lamplight in the fictional northern town of Montsou who are driven to strike by the conditions they suffer – with disastrous consequences. The novel captures the same spirit of compassion the young Vincent van Gogh felt when he witnessed… Read full this story
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- Following his footsteps
Karl Marx at 200: Ten left-wing writers who followed in the footsteps of a giant have 366 words, post on www.independent.co.uk at May 4, 2018. This is cached page on NGHONG. If you want remove this page, please contact us.