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

Synopsis

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. Martyn Lyons 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. He presents 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.