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Émile Zola: One sole city of peace and truth and justice


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Émile Zola: Selections on war


Émile Zola
From Fruitfulness (Fécondité) (1899)
Translated by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly

There was now no longer any mere question of increasing a family, of building up the country afresh, of re-peopling France for the struggles of the future. The question was one of the expansion of humanity, of the reclaiming of deserts, of the peopling of the entire earth. After one’s country came the earth; after one’s family, one’s nation, and then mankind. And what an invading flight, what a sudden outlook upon the world’s immensity! All the freshness of the oceans, all the perfumes of virgin continents, blended in a mighty gust like a breeze from the offing…Life is the rising tide whose waves daily continue the work of creation, and perfect the work of awaited happiness, which shall come when the times are accomplished. The flux and reflux of nations are but periods of the forward march: the great centuries of light, which dark ages at times replace, simply mark the phases of that march….And equilibrium will come from it all on the day when the earth, being inhabited, cleared, and utilized, shall at last have accomplished its destiny. And the divine dream, the generous utopian thought soars into the heavens; families blended into nations, nations blended into mankind, one sole brotherly people making of the world one sole city of peace and truth and justice!

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