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

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


By (author) Martyn Lyons

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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Hardback | 222 pages
  • Dimensions: 146mm x 223mm x 19mm | 449g
  • Publication date: 5 October 2001
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 0333921267
  • ISBN 13: 9780333921265
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: tables
  • Sales rank: 1,630,999

Product description

In the 19th 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. This study focuses on workers, women and peasants, and the ways in which their reading was constructed as a social and political problem, to analyze the fear of reading in 19th 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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Author information

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.

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

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