Memoirs of a Breton Peasant

By ,

In the 1970s, a handwritten manuscript of some 4,000 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, anti-clerical, misogynistic, socialist cynic who was successively a beggar, cowherd, soldier, traveler, farmer, insurance salesman, shopkeeper, outcast, and, finally, derelict. How he happened to take such a different path from his peasant countrymen, he himself ascribed to having been kicked in the head by a horse at the age of nine! Whatever the cause, this intelligent, angry man, who never missed an opportunity to denounce a priest or a politician (or an in-law), has left us a fascinating account of a truly unique personal story. I would like to have known him.

Share this review

Now available in paperback (UK) or on Kindle

Jenny Barden's masterful novel about the lost colony of Roanoke.

Details

Publisher

Published

Genre

Century

Price
(US) $19.95

ISBN
(US) 9781609803469

Format
Paperback

Pages
431

Review

Appeared in

Reviewed by