Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Belly of Paris (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – January 6, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, January 6, 2008
$12.00 $0.74

There is a newer edition of this item:


Featured Titles in Fiction
Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

The translation by Brian Nelson for the Oxford World's Classics edition is excellent, and I really like the cover image which is a detail from The Square in Front of Les Halles by Victor-Gabriel Gilbert. ANZ LitLovers LitBlog, Lisa Hill --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author


Brian Nelson is Professor of French Studies, Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806338
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,239,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Balbach on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Belly of Paris (French 1873; tr. Brian Nelson 2007) is one of the earlier works in Zola's 20-volume Rougon-Macquart series. It takes place in 1858 in the great Parisian food market of Les Halles. While the plot is somewhat anemic, the real strength is in the descriptions of Les Halles, its vendors and mainly the food itself. Vast quantities of food. Zola reaches levels of such lush detail to make one both ravenous, and nauseous with sights and smells before the age of refrigeration and knowledge of bacteria. On another level the novel is a satire of the greedy Bourgeois, or middle-class, which are depicted as the comfortable "fat people", in contrast to the revolutionary inclined and dangerous "thin people". Beneath the proper and upright middle class is a greedy animal driven by materialism, ready to stomp out threats to its creature comforts. Zola's criticism of the Bourgeois has both the particular historical interest of 19th century France, and universal timelessness. It's curious to see a novel from the 1870s focusing on middle class obesity and excessive materialism, a problem more relevant to our era, Zola was prescient about where the future was headed. It's even more curious that this novel was only recently translated in 2007, prior to that the most recent translation was from the 1950s and had long been out of print. Although the story itself is somewhat simple, the lush descriptions are fascinating and beautiful, sublime even, no other book in the series is so heavy on description, and his satire of the evils of greed and materialism among the middle class are as relevant and subversive as ever.
Comment 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Emile Zola’s “The Belly of Paris” is the third novel of his epic cycle, Les Rougon-Macquart. I thought long about how best to sum up the novel, but concluded Brian Nelson’s excellent introduction could not be surpassed. He wrote:

"…The Belly of Paris (has) a high degree of ideological ambiguity. There is no equivocation, however, in Zola’s satirical critique of the bourgeoisie and the ‘high’ capitalism of the Second Empire. The last words of the novel – Claude’s exclamation ‘Respectable people…What bastards!’ – deplore the triumph of the ‘Fat’. Beneath the outward ‘respectability’ of the bourgeoisie there is a venality and brutality that Zola portrays as monstrous. Marjolin, the young woman in the pink bonnet, and above all, Florent are sacrificed on the altar of bourgeois greed.”

“The Belly of Paris” holds many lessons applicable to our times. Read it and you may see the same story transferred to New York or Houston in 2013 – as Professor Nelson noted “the bourgeois triumph repeatedly over the workers; political idealism goes nowhere.” Just replace “bourgeois” with “job creators” and “workers” with “takers” and the statement is relevant today.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By M. Hannon on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I picked this up after seeing it included on a 'great books about food' list. The descriptions of food are both divine and disgusting. The plot - revolution against the uppper class and the blind support of the upper class by those who struggle is timeless. I wonder if a screen play has ever been attempted. This one would translate beautifully to the screen!
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderfully evocative of the underpinnings of Paris - the language is marvelous - you can taste the food and experience it all.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Zola's brilliant metaphor on Paris and France. the narrative is stunning. One must follow up tis wonderful read with a walk through what was once Les Halles to commune with all the characters, spectacles and ghosts in this novel.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rich and superbly detailed description is what really makes this book, in addition to the deliciously evocative though deeply disturbing plotline. At times the descriptions can be a bit much (how many times must Zola comment on the size of breasts?) but all in all this book was a joy to read. Excellent translation, in that the language flowed smoothly and without any sign of it having originally been penned in anything other than English. I have not read Zola prior to this, and I do not typically read books of this vintage, but I was amazed by the very contemporary feel of the characters, which makes it a highly accessible story. Now I must return to Paris to better see the old Les Halles neighborhood through the eyes of these fictional creations!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love historical fiction books that transport you to another age and are an education at the same time. I would recommend this book to all who enjoy history and want a more personal insight of the times.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved Zola's descriptions of the markets in Paris. It made me want to find the beauty in everything I see. Here is one my favorite descriptions of the pastry shops:

"She had an especial weakness for the Taboureau bakery establishment, one of the windows of which was exclusively devoted to pastry. She would follow the Rue Turbigo and retrace her steps a dozen times in order to pass again and again before the the almond cakes, the savarins, the St. Honore tarts, the fruit tarts, and the various dishes containing bunlike babas redolent of rum, eclairs combining the finger biscuit with chocolate, and choux la creme, little rounds of pastry overflowing with whipped white of egg. The glass jars full of dry biscuits, macaroons, and madeleines also made her mouth water; and the bright shop with its big mirrors, its marble slabs, its gilding, it bread-bins of ornamental ironwork, and its second window in which long glistening loaves were displayed slantwise, with one end resting on a crystal shelf whilst above they were upheld by a brass rod, was so warm and odoriferous of baked dough that her features expanded with pleasure when, yielding to temptation she when in to buy a brioche for two sous."
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: classics literature