Memoirs of a breton peasant
A bestseller in france
This memoir by a freethinking peasant & soldier at the turn of the nineteenth century offers an extraordinary view of an otherwise unseen world
Memoirs of a breton peasant marks the discovery of both a compelling historical document and a quirky, ranting, yet utterly charming tale of an extraordinary life. Extracted from hundreds of journal notebooks kept by one J.M. Déguignet and discovered in a farmhouse in Brittany a century later, the books is written with the liveliness of a novel and the refreshing observations of an autodidact from the lowest socioeconomic tier.
Born in 1834 to an itinerant farmer father, the young Déguignet was sent out several times a week to beg from the family’s flour. After spending his teenage years as a domestic and a cowherder, he left Brittany as a soldier, participating in the military campaigns of the Second Empire. He indulges himself and thus the reader in his antipathy for the church, his interests in science, astronomy, languages and travel, and his keen often caustic observations of the world and people around him. Throughout, Déguignet’s freethinking, almost anarchic views, show him to be ahead of his time yet, sadly for him, often out of touch with his fellow man.
Edited by Bernez Rouz and translated from the French by Linda Asher, this is an exceptional and exceptionally entertaining story.