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Das Geld. de Emile Zola

Das Geld. (original: 1891; edição: 1995)

de Emile Zola

Séries: Les Rougon-Macquart (18)

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Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his way once more in Paris. Unscrupulous, seductive, and with unbounded ambition, he schemes and manipulates his way to power. Financial undertakings in the Middle East lead to the establishment of a powerful new bank and speculation on the stock market; Saccard meanwhile conducts his love life as energetically as he does his business, and his empire is seemingly unstoppable. Saccard, last encountered in The Kill (La Curee) in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, is a complex figure whose story intricately intertwines the worlds of politics, finance, and the press. The repercussions of his dealings on all levels of society resonate disturbingly with the financial scandals of more recent times. This is the first new translation for more than a hundred years, and the first unabridged translation in English. The edition includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful historical notes.… (mais)
Título:Das Geld.
Autores:Emile Zola
Informação:Aufbau Tb (1995), Broschiert, 521 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:Roman, mf

Detalhes da Obra

Money de Émile Zola (1891)

Adicionado recentemente porharaldnewland, charlenemartel, jacobzink, Marcos_Augusto, charles97s, therebelprince
Bibliotecas HistóricasAlfred Deakin
  1. 00
    The Way We Live Now de Anthony Trollope (littlegreycloud)
    littlegreycloud: Augustus Melmotte, Aristide Saccard, Bernie Madoff: plus ça change...

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The novel focuses on the financial world of the Second French Empire as embodied in the Paris Bourse and exemplified by the fictional character of Aristide Saccard. Zola's intent was to show the terrible effects of speculation and fraudulent company promotion, the culpable negligence of company directors, and the impotency of contemporary financial laws.

Aristide Saccard (b. 1815 as Aristide Rougon) is the youngest son of Pierre and Félicité Rougon. He is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon. L'argent is a direct sequel to La curée (published in 1871), which details Saccard's first rise to wealth using underhanded methods. Sensing his unscrupulous nature, his brother Eugène Rougon prompts Aristide to change his surname from Rougon to Saccard.

Aristide's other brother Pascal is the main character of Le docteur Pascal. He also has two sisters: Sidonie, who appears in La curée, and Marthe, one of the protagonists of La conquête de Plassans.

The novel takes place in 1864–1869, beginning a few months after the death of Saccard's second wife Renée (see La curée). Saccard is bankrupt and an outcast among the Bourse financiers. Searching for a way to reestablish himself, Saccard is struck by plans developed by his upstairs neighbor, the engineer Georges Hamelin, who dreams of restoring Christianity to the Middle East through great public works: rail lines linking important cities, improved roads and transportation, renovated eastern Mediterranean ports, and fleets of modern ships to move goods around the world.

Saccard decides to institute a financial establishment to fund these projects. He is motivated primarily by the potential to make incredible amounts of money and reestablish himself on the Bourse. In addition, Saccard has an intense rivalry with his brother Eugène Rougon, a powerful Cabinet minister who refuses to help him after his bankruptcy and who is promoting a more liberal, less Catholic agenda for the Empire. Furthermore, Saccard, an intense anti-Semite, sees the enterprise as a strike against the Jewish bankers who dominate the Bourse. From the beginning, Saccard's Banque Universelle (Universal Bank) stands on shaky ground. In order to manipulate the price of the stock, Saccard and his confreres on the syndicate he has set up to jumpstart the enterprise buy their own stock and hide the proceeds of this illegal practice in a dummy account fronted by a straw man.

While Hamelin travels to Constantinople to lay the groundwork for their enterprise, the Banque Universelle goes from strength to strength. Stock prices soar, going from 500 francs a share to more than 3,000 francs in three years. Furthermore, Saccard buys several newspapers which serve to maintain the illusion of legitimacy, promote the Banque, excite the public, and attack Rougon.

The novel follows the fortunes of about 20 characters, cutting across all social strata, showing the effects of stock market speculation on rich and poor. The financial events of the novel are played against Saccard's personal life. Hamelin lives with his sister Caroline, who, against her better judgment, invests in the Banque Universelle and later becomes Saccard's mistress. Caroline learns that Saccard fathered a son, Victor, during his first days in Paris. She rescues Victor from his life of abject poverty, placing him in a charitable institution. But Victor is completely unredeemable, given over to greed, laziness, and thievery. After he attacks one of the women at the institution, he disappears into the streets, never to be seen again.

Eventually, the Banque Universelle cannot sustain itself. Saccard's principal rival on the Bourse, the Jewish financier Gundermann, learns about Saccard's financial trickery and attacks, loosing stock upon the market, devaluing its price, and forcing Saccard to buy millions of shares to keep the price up. At the final collapse, the Banque holds one-fourth of its own shares worth 200 million francs. The fall of the Banque is felt across the entire financial world. Indeed, all of France feels the force of its collapse. The effects on the characters of L'argent are disastrous, including complete ruin, suicide, and exile, though some of Saccard's syndicate members escape and Gundermann experiences a windfall. Saccard and Hamelin are sentenced to five years in prison. Through the intervention of Saccard's brother Eugène Rougon, who doesn't want a brother in jail, their sentences are commuted and they are forced to leave France. Saccard goes to Belgium, and the novel ends with Caroline preparing to follow her brother to Rome. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Feb 22, 2021 |
If only she had the power, she would have destroyed all the money in the world, as one would crush disease underfoot to save the world's health.

Money is a bit of a slog, to be honest, and certainly not Zola at his height. Most of his strengths are still in evidence: a clear-eyed writing style, characters deeply at odds with one another while acting entirely in concert with their own biases and world views, gorgeous and expansive passages of symbolism contrasted with intricate moments of character analysis, and an understanding of why systems fail even when individuals are not consciously aiming for them to do so. (A while back, I was describing the series to a removalist mid-move, and he suggested it sounded like 2000s TV series The Wire; in many ways, I think he was right!)

Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, has come a long way from the opportunistic young reporter we met in The Fortune of the Rougons, via his rise-fall-rerise which we witnessed in The Kill. Here, he sets about on a grand moneymaking scheme that combines the Second Empire love of gold with their deep desire to support Catholic goals in the face of what many of them saw as barbarism in the Middle East and opportunism from the Jewish community. That rampant French anti-semitism is on full display here, primarily in Saccard himself, who loses his cool primarily when ranting about the Jewish menace. Even he, the great master-manipulator, seems to genuinely believe in his mission for a new Christian paradise in Jerusalem, the dream which brings so many of his investors onboard. (Aside from a single but powerful line of dialogue late in the novel, where Madame Caroline suggests the Jews may be people like the rest of us, apart only because we made them be, Zola leaves it to the reader to appreciate that the anti-semitism is the character's and not the author's. But 19th century French audiences knew, as most of us do still, of Zola's fierce passion for equality and his opposition to anti-semitism, which would emerge in full force only a few years after this novel was published, when the Dreyfus Case took place and he became the voice to expose France's bigoted underbelly.)

Saccard's plan is quite simple, really: overvalue his company shares, buy up some reliable newspapers to promote the stability of the stock, and make use of every connection he has developed in Paris over the past 15 years, to create the ultimate financial windfall which will benefit a great plan of construction in the Near East. Maybe even, in his wildest dreams, recapture the glory of the Silk Road. We are immediately suspicious, as the original audience were intended to be, only here Zola doesn't leave it to chance. From early on, the narrator interrupts his already ominous symbolism to give us clear foreboding that a fall is on the horizon. We are watching a very, very slow car crash, and we are powerless to stop it.

I am a helpless Zola acolyte, but Money is a lesser member of the flock. It is partly the subject matter. It is not that Zola treats economic matters simply; indeed, this is as complex a tapestry as he has ever worked with. But one feels that there are few entry points. One did not have to be a miner to appreciate Germinal or a retailer to appreciate The Ladies' Paradise; he invited us in and gave us all the information in breathtaking detail. Here, the footnotes are having to work overtime to explain concepts of banking and speculation. (Less at fault is the simple issue of historical nuance; the stock exchange in 1860s France is inevitably more removed from us than, say, a story about a love affair.) As always, Zola uses a narrative voice particular to this novel, saturating every page with figures and stock prices. It feels germane and thematically whole, but this is not enough to make it interesting.

The numerous subplots have their moments but the minor characters generally feel like they are somewhat unmoored. Compare this to the peasants of Earth, for example, and much is found wanting. I locate this issue primarily in a development I have noticed in Zola's works immediately preceding this. The author is becoming ever-so-slightly more didactic; he is less patient, less willing to let the reader come to terms with the novel on their own. (Around this time, he was fond of saying he might enter politics once he had finished the Rougon-Macquart; it did not eventuate, but his need to be the old professor would make itself known in his writings late in life.) In the previous novels, the moralising never overwhelmed the story. In Money, however, it feels like every character is a symbol first and a person second. Saccard's two sons both feature: witty, wealthy, bisexual Maxime (whom we met in The Kill) and wolf-like child of the streets Victor (of whom Saccard was unaware until this novel). Yet every time they appear, it is as if they have been experiencing a separate narrative in another novel until Zola remembered them and dragged them back to Money to make another point.

The biggest victim of this symbolic approach, alas, is Madame Caroline herself. Caroline's brother is the co-founder of Saccard's plan although is absent in the Middle East for much of the novel. Caroline gradually becomes Saccard's lover (the exact level of intimacy is left unclear) but she is an educated woman who quickly discerns that not all is above board with the Universal Bank. Frustratingly, after a lovely introductory chapter in which her layers are shaded in, Zola keeps us at a psychological remove from Caroline, as with every other character in the novel, instead simply telling us on occasion that she has become more suspicious and then let it go, showing not telling, in a manner unlike his usual approach. In short, I suppose, my qualm with the novel is that the strings are showing. One supporting character starts out agnostic toward Saccard, develops a reason to hate him, is maneuvered into a position of power that he could one day use against him, and then finally gets the chance. But it never feels authentic or clever; it just seems like the inevitable outcome of a fairytale. And we already had a fairytale with The Dream; we don't need another!

To be fair to Zola, Money eventually softens into an enjoyable narrative. The latter half is better than the first; the latter quarter is better than the three that preceded it. But there's a tough shell to crack just to find what remains of the yolk underneath. As always, though, when he wants to develop a symbol, Zola delivers beyond our wildest dreams. When the novel ends in mid-1869, it becomes clear why Money needed to be one of the volumes in the series, and why it had to come so late. Paris is decimated by a stock crash, a seemingly literal monster child is roaming the streets uncontrolled, the government is making dangerous concessions to its opponents, shipping individual criminals into exile while ignoring the broader systemic issues, and the one man who saw a different way forward for society is dead, his beautiful dreams of a socialist paradise without money having been literally torn up, too weak to compete with the fantasies of those for whom gold is the inevitable master. War is coming, and the Empire - we know - is doomed. But at least, Zola finds in the final pages, there is something about we humans that gives us the bewildering ability to keep hope alive. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
If the previous book in the series was Zola's answer to Crime and punishment, this one seems to be his take on The way we live now. But with more nude scenes than Trollope, and fewer trips to Lowestoft...

Zola brings back Saccard, the tycoon from 16 books ago in La curée; if you were paying attention you'll recall that he is the elder brother of Eugène Rougon, the minister. Saccard seems to have inherited the same bounce-back ability that characterises his brother's career: here, in the mid-1860s, we see him moving rapidly from the collapse of his property empire to a new career in the even murkier world of the stock market, setting up the immodestly-named Banque Universelle to invest in steamships, railways and mines in the Middle East, and using every trick in the book, legal and illegal, to boost the apparent value of the company and its share price. Soon it seems that there isn't a distressed gentlewoman or retired civil servant in France who hasn't put their meagre savings into Universelle stock.

Naturally, all the wheeling and dealing and the strange day-to-day workings of the stock market are described in loving detail, as are many other direct and indirect manifestations of money in Second Empire lives, most of which ultimately lead down to the broker in bad debts and blackmailer, Broch. But what Zola is really interested in is not so much the mechanics of finance but the way that people get emotionally involved with money. Saccard is fond of saying that money is like sex: most of the time we chase it for the short-term pleasure and excitement it brings, and sometimes that pursuit is dirty and nasty, but without all that dirt and guilty pleasure we wouldn't produce any children. Saccard is a fraudster who ruins hundreds of people's lives, but the companies financed by his schemes also produce improvements to the quality of life for many others — jobs, transportation, toys for the children in the orphanage. Meanwhile, the communist thinker, Sigismound, produces precisely nothing. Zola isn't quite defending capitalism, but he's at least ambivalent about it. It's pretty clear that he as a novelist would have little to write about in the ideal Marxist world that Sigismound imagines, for a start!

Naturally, there's more going on than this: The rise and fall of Saccard — with his sexual adventures, his colonial excursions, his ambiguous relationship with the Church, his half-baked charity work, his frequent Napoleonic analogies, his own private Universal Exposition and his rabid anti-semitism — are clearly supposed to parallel the career of Napoleon III and his corrupt state, for a start.

A nice feature of this book is the way it takes an independent-minded, mature woman, Caroline, as the main viewpoint character. She's a little bit in love with Saccard, but not enough to prevent her seeing through him and maintaining a moderately safe distance.

Not one of the real heavyweights of the series, but still a very interesting novel. ( )
  thorold | May 22, 2020 |
[Money] continues the story of Aristide Saccard, last encountered as a speculator nonpareil in The Kill . A year after the spectacular ball at the end of The Kill] Saccard is bankrupt and a widower. Sitting alone at a window table in Champeaux, the restaurant for financial traders where he had once held court, Saccard found himself an outsider, excluded, a person whose bad fortune just might be contagious.

Contemplating the wild swings of fortune since his arrival in Paris sixteen years earlier, he realized he had never been able to make fortune his slave... at his disposal, alive, real, and kept under lock and key. His coffers had always been full of lies and fictions, with mysterious holes that seemed to drain away their gold. And now here he was back on the street again, just as he started out long ago, ... never satisfied, and still tortured by the same need... He had tasted everything without ever satisfying his appetite... Now he felt quite wretched, a good deal worse off than a mere beginner, who would have hope and illusion to sustain him. He was seized by a frenzied desire to start all over again, to conquer once more, to rise even higher than before and at last plant his foot firmly on the conquered city. No longer with the facade of mendacious wealth but the solid edifice of fortune, the true royalty of gold, reigning over well-filled bags of wealth.

Just as he was leaving the restaurant, he had a brief encounter with Gundermann, "the banker-king, master of the Bourse and the world". Gundermann is based on the powerful Baron de Rothschild. Saccard hated Gundermann, hated his secure position. Later in the novel Saccard's strong anti-semitism and hatred of Gundermann consume him. This hatred was a sentiment Zola did not share, but he uses it here both as a reflection of what was actually happening in France, and as a character flaw reflecting Saccard's low born origins, a continuation of Zola's exploration of the effects of heredity and environment. This chance encounter did spur Saccard to follow up on his musings and create his own institution, the Universal Bank, in an effort to destroy Gundermann.

Once again, Zola sets Saccard firmly in his place and time. The Universal Exhibition brought the world to Paris in 1867. Saccard's fortunes rose along with those of Emperor Napoleon III and the city of Paris. Intoxicated with it all, to him, ...this exaltation of the Universal shares, this ascension, carrying them up as if on a divine wind, seemed to harmonize with the louder and louder music from the Tuileries and the Champs de Mars, and the continual festivities with which the Exhibition was driving Paris mad. ... there was no evening when the blazing city did not sparkle under the stars like some colossal palace, in the depths of which, debauchery went on until dawn. Joy had spread from house to house, the streets were an intoxication, a cloud of animal vapours, cooking smells from the feastings, the sweat of couplings, all rolling away to the horizon, carrying over the rooftops the nights of Sodom, Babylon, and Nineveh.

Saccard emerges as a more complex character in this novel than in [The Kill], written eighteen years earlier. His restless drive and energy are linked to more complex and focussed plans than the mere acquisition of money. The building of the Suez Canal presented opportunities for expansion in banking, transport and construction that fired him. His relationships with women are more developed here too, especially with Caroline Hamelin, herself more complex than previous female characters of Zola's.

This 2014 translation by Valerie Minogue is the first unabridged translation into English and the first new translation into English since the nineteenth century. It gives the reader insights into Saccard previously unavailable due to the work of the nineteenth century American and English censors. In her Translator's Note, Minogue says the nineteenth century translators regretted the parts they had to leave out. One even invented new passages to account for the gaps created by such omissions.

In the Introduction, Minogue quotes Zola; "It's very difficult to write a novel about money. It's cold, icy, lacking in interest..." She says he wanted to avoid the conventional views of it as an evil and show instead "its generous and fecund power, its expansive force". This novel does that brilliantly, showing the reader not only the expected greed and scandals, but digging deeper, creating an excitement over supposedly mundane topics like the workings of the Bourse, credit, and money bills, so that the reader becomes as enthralled as Saccard with the minutiae behind it all. Above all, it offers an insight into the soul of a gambler and recognizes the obsession that becomes life itself.
2 vote SassyLassy | Apr 22, 2016 |
La gloire est une mutilation. Zola, le Zola, le panthéonisé, le chefdelécolenaturaliste, le progressiste édifiant, le philosémite certifié dont nous avons tous entendu parler à l'école, n'aurait jamais pu écrire un roman aussi symboliste, peuplé de juifs fétides à gros nez pataugeant dans la richesse. Il n'aurait jamais renvoyé dos-à-dos les rêves avides du capitaliste et les songe-creux du marxisme utopique, comme un vulgaire modéré. Il n'aurait pas éprouvé de compassion réactionnaire et mal placée pour la pauvre fin de race des comtes de Beauvilliers. Il n'aurait pas eu le mauvais goût d'exister, de vivre et par la même d'être plus complexe, plus subtil, plus imparfait et même plus contradictoire que le voudrait l'esprit de système. Il faut bien écrire quelque chose dans les manuels, soit! Mais quelle trahison de la complexité des êtres; quelle mutilation, comme je disais.

Et quelle ironie! Car s'il est une chose que Zola sait bien faire, c'est scruter et révéler la complexité de ses personnages.

Le principal d'entre eux est à nouveau d'Aristide Saccard, né Rougon, qui après ses aventures dans l'immobilier et La Curée se lance dans la finance et une âpre lutte pour dominer la Bourse de Paris, à la tête qui tourne d'une banque bancale aux projets farfelus. Évidemment, l'entreprise connait d'abord un succès outrancier, piégeur, éphémère, avant de faillir. Or comme tout, dès le début, annonçait ce dénouement, le jeu consiste à regarder le narrateur disposer des dominos qui s'effondreront joliment dans les derniers chapitres. L'histoire, malgré des rebondissements peu inattendus, est surtout un catalogue glaçant par anticipation des vies, des espoirs, des projets que Saccard détruira dans sa dégringolade.

Et tous cela repose donc sur les personnages! Même les plus abjects ont leur part de lumière (aujourd'hui, on dirait qu'il excuse l'inexcusable), et Zola, au long d'un récit pourtant d'une dureté implacable, sait faire montre pour eux tous d'une immense et sincère compassion. Les scélérats ont leurs rêves, leurs attachements, leurs justifications minables mais intelligibles, leurs excuses qui n'excusent pas tout mais en font des êtres profonds et vivants. Les justes, car il y en a, ont leurs fautes, leurs faiblesses, leurs erreurs parfois délibérées, leurs compromissions, comme nous. C'est le Monde qui est pourri, qu'est-ce qu'on y peut...

En comparaison, la métaphore militaire, filée tout du long, n'est pas ce que le livre offre de plus intéressant ni de plus subtil même si elle donne lieu à de belles pages, les coups de bourses des uns et des autres devenant des batailles acharnées et sanglantes.

Le principal reproche, assez véniel, que je ferais à L'Argent et de former un diptyque assez peu convaincant avec la Curée. D'une part, il en répète un peu l'histoire, surtout au début : Saccard est fauché comme les blés, son frère l'éconduit, il décide de forcer le destin et impose provisoirement son style en ignorant les signes avant-coureurs du désastre; on a déjà lu ça. D'autre part, il le retconne un peu maladroitement : Saccard était riche ah mais oui en fait il ne l'est plus voilà, et il s'est passé quelque chose au début de ses aventures à Paris qui aurait sûrement été décrit alors si les deux romans avaient été écrits d'un bloc. De troisième part, l'évolution du protagoniste me laisse un peu sceptique, surtout en si peu de temps : le Saccard de la Curée pouvait-il se confire aussi rapidement en dévotion? Pouvait-il s'embringuer aussi facilement dans ces histoires d'investissement orientaux après avoir raillé la « Compagnie générale des Mille et une Nuits »?

Mais comme roman individuel, le livre est presque parfait. ( )
  Kuiperdolin | Apr 19, 2016 |
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Aristide Rougon, known as Saccard, is a failed property speculator determined to make his way once more in Paris. Unscrupulous, seductive, and with unbounded ambition, he schemes and manipulates his way to power. Financial undertakings in the Middle East lead to the establishment of a powerful new bank and speculation on the stock market; Saccard meanwhile conducts his love life as energetically as he does his business, and his empire is seemingly unstoppable. Saccard, last encountered in The Kill (La Curee) in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, is a complex figure whose story intricately intertwines the worlds of politics, finance, and the press. The repercussions of his dealings on all levels of society resonate disturbingly with the financial scandals of more recent times. This is the first new translation for more than a hundred years, and the first unabridged translation in English. The edition includes a wide-ranging introduction and useful historical notes.

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