Readers and Society in Nineteenth-century France

Readers and Society in Nineteenth-century France : Workers, Women, Peasants

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In the nineteenth century, the reading public expanded to embrace new categories of consumers, especially of cheap fiction. These new lower-class and female readers frightened liberals, Catholics and republicans alike. The study focuses on workers, women and peasants, and the ways in which their reading was constructed as a social and political problem, to analyse the fear of reading in nineteenth century France. The author presents a series of case-studies of actual readers, to examine their choices and their practices, and to evaluate how far they responded to (or subverted) attempts at cultural domination.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 146.3 x 223 x 19.3mm | 449.06g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2001 ed.
  • biography
  • 0333921267
  • 9780333921265
  • 1,793,519

Review quote

'Martyn Lyons recalls for us the importance of understanding the fragility of lives, the dreams or sufferings of men and women of the past, and the respect we have to pay to the dead souls. The book is well crafted, written with sensitivity and humour, raising historical issues and intellectual questions which are not at all confined to nineteenth-century France.' - Roger Chartier '...Readers and Society in Nineteenth-Century France is a valuable contribution, and it deserves a wide audience of French historians.' - H-France Book Reviews '...a valuable contribution to its field...' - James Smith Allen, Libraries & Culture

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About Martyn Lyons

MARTYN LYONS is Professor of History at the University of New South Wales. He is the author of several works on French revolutionary history and on the history of the book and of reading practices, was co-author of Australian Readers Remember and a contributor to A History of Reading in the West.

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Table of contents

Introduction The New Readers of Nineteenth-Century France Reading Workers: Libraries for the People Reading Workers: Improvisation and Resistance Reading Women: From Emma Bovary to the New Woman Reading Women: Defining a Space of Her Own Reading Peasants: The Pragmatic Uses of the Written Word Reading Classes and Dangerous Classes Appendix A: Popular Uses of the Book in Early Twentieth-Century France Appendix B: Thirty Works for Peasant Readers Bibliography Index

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