Memoirs of a Breton Pe...
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 soci...more
Published October 18th 2011 by Seven Stories Press
(first published February 1st 2004)
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In the 1970’s, a handwritten manuscript of some four thousand pages (of which only a small portion was previously known) came to light in the city of Quimper, Brittany. They constitute the memoirs of a remarkable man: Jean-Marie Déguignet (1834 – 1905). The present translation is a tightly edited version of that manuscript. This peasant, born in abject poverty and raised amid the ignorance and superstition (his words) of rural Breton society, grew into a self-educated, questioning, free-thinking...more
The beginning a little slow, but then it picks up. His experiences in the wars was interesting. As were experiences trying to find a home for himself upon his return. It seems a contest theme for returning soldiers. At the end he is pretty bitter (perhaps rightly so) but it does get a tad tiresome. However, all in all, an excellent book and insight into the life of a french peasant.