germinal by Émile Zola My favorite reportorial 19th-century novel.
But the most fascinating sections are the germinal passages upon which Agee would build and elaborate in the final version.
germinal ger·mi·nal (jûr'mə-nəl)
Of, relating to, or having the nature of a germ cell.
Of, relating to, or occurring in the earliest stage of development of an embryo or organism.