Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

A fascinating document of an extraordinary life, Memoirs of A Breton Peasant reads with the liveliness of a novel and bristles with the vigor of an opinionated autodidact from the very lowest level of peasant society. Brittany during the nineteenth century was a place seemingly frozen in the Middle Ages, backwards by most French standards; formal education among rural society was either unavailable or dismissed as unnecessary, while the church and local myth defined most people's reasoning and motivation. Jean-Marie Déguignet is unique not only as a literate Breton peasant, but in his skepticism for the church, his interest in science, astronomy and languages, and for his keen—often caustic—observations of the world and people around him. Born into rural poverty in 1834, Déguignet escapes Brittany by joining the French Army in 1854, and over the next fourteen years he fights in the Crimean war, attends Napoleon III’s coronation ceremonies, supports Italy’s liberation struggle, and defends the hapless French puppet emperor Maximilian in Mexico. He teaches himself Latin, French, Italian and Spanish and reads extensively on history, philosophy, politics, and literature. He returns home to live as a farmer and tobacco-seller, eventually falling back into dire poverty. Throughout the tale, Deguignet’s freethinking, almost anarchic views put him ahead of his time and often (sadly, for him) out of step with his contemporaries. Déguignet’s voluminous journals (nearly 4,000 pages in total) were discovered in a farmhouse in Brittany a century after they were written. This narrative was drawn from them and became a surprise bestseller when published in France in 1998.


Publisher Seven Stories Press
Release Date
ISBN 1609803469
Pages 432 pages
Rating 4/5 (69 users)

More Books:

Memoirs of a Breton Peasant
Language: en
Pages: 432
Authors: Jean-Marie Deguignet
Categories: Biography & Autobiography
Type: BOOK - Published: 2011-10-18 - Publisher: Seven Stories Press

A fascinating document of an extraordinary life, Memoirs of A Breton Peasant reads with the liveliness of a novel and bristles with the vigor of an opinionated
Enacting Brittany
Language: en
Pages: 330
Authors: Patrick Young
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2017-03-02 - Publisher: Routledge

Brittany offers an excellent example of a French region that once attracted a certain cultivated elite of travel connoisseurs but in which more popular tourism
Childhood in Modern Europe
Language: en
Pages: 280
Authors: Colin Heywood
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2018-08-31 - Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This invaluable introduction to the history of childhood in both Western and Eastern Europe c.1700-2000 seeks to give a voice to children as well as adults, whe
Folklore and Nationalism in Europe During the Long Nineteenth Century
Language: en
Pages: 440
Authors: Timothy Baycroft
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-07-25 - Publisher: BRILL

Using an interdiciplinary approach, this book brings together work in the fields of history, literary studies, music, and architecture to examine the place of f
Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France
Language: en
Pages: 296
Authors: David Hopkin
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-04-26 - Publisher: Cambridge University Press

An innovative study revealing that folklore collections can shed new light on the lives of the socially marginalized.
The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography
Language: en
Pages: 480
Authors: Graham Robb
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2008-10-17 - Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

"A witty, engaging narrative style…[Robb's] approach is particularly engrossing." —New York Times Book Review A narrative of exploration—full of strange l
Investigating Obsolescence
Language: en
Pages: 460
Authors: Nancy C. Dorian
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines
Type: BOOK - Published: 1992-09-03 - Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This collection will certainly stimulate further and better co-ordinated research into a topic of direct relevance to sociolinguistics and anthropological lingu
This Sporting Life
Language: en
Pages: 416
Authors: Robert Colls
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020 - Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

This Sporting Life offers an important view of England's cultural history through its sporting pursuits, carrying the reader to a match or a hunt or a fight, vi
How the French Learned to Vote
Language: en
Pages: 288
Authors: Malcolm Crook
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2021-03-26 - Publisher: Oxford University Press

This is a comprehensive history of voting in France, which offers original insights into all aspects of electoral activity that today involve most adults across
The Memoirs of François René
Language: en
Authors: François-René vicomte de Chateaubriand
Categories: Authors, French
Type: BOOK - Published: 1902 - Publisher: