By Émile Zola
"Je suis un libre écrivain qui n'a european qu'une ardour dans sa vie, celle de l. a. vérité, qui s'est battu pour elle sur tous les champs de bataille. (...) j'ai servi mon can pay par l. a. plume, de tout mon braveness, de toute ma strength de travail et de bonne foi." Homme passionné, indigné par l'injustice et le mensonge, engagé dans des combats décisifs, Zola a écrit des centaines d'articles où se déploient une verve polémique, une éloquence de tribun, les valeurs les plus hautes. Ils méritent d'être connus.
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Every year, when Denise was a child, a “certain delicious apple called Cox’s Orange Pippin” would remind her father of the shtetl garden, where similar apples grew. Like other boys of his time and place, Paul Levertoff began to study the Torah and Talmud at a very early age. He was taught by his father and in a traditional Hebrew primary school (cheder). He first encountered the New Testament and Jesus when he was eight or nine, on the way home from playing with friends. Levertov later recalled this family legend as follows: As he trudged homeward my father’s eye was caught by a scrap of printed paper lying in the gray, trampled snow.
Beatrice remembered Paul telling her that, while back in Russia, he stayed for a few days 16 Listening to Distant Guns in Vilna with relatives who secretly telegraphed his presence to his father. When the two were reunited, his father persuaded Paul to return home and was almost reconciled to his son’s baptism. But when they went to the synagogue, which Paul did willingly, his father tried to prevent him from disclosing to the congregation that he was now a Christian. Paul could not accept this denial, and he left home abruptly a second time.
Olga also worked as her father’s amanuensis, and for a period, got very involved in his ideas, studying Greek and theology in order to better understand them. She even “gave a sermon, wearing borrowed cap and gown, at a church whose vicar had been dazzled by ‘Dr. ’ ” Denise could not help but be impressed by—and, at times, understandably envious of—all this attention given her older sister. 2 “When Anna Screamed” Levertov’s Response to Nazi Oppression (1933–1939) Olga’s influence upon Denise was not confined to the arts.