Catholicism and children's literature in France

The comtesse de Ségur (1799-1874)

Sophie Heywood

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ISBN: 978-0-7190-8466-9
Series: Studies in Modern French History
Subject Area: Literature
BIC Category: Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
Published: November 2011
216 x 138 mm
240 pages
Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • This is the first book-length history of the classic French children’s author, the comtesse de Ségur. Virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, in France Ségur is a national icon and a cultural phenomenon.

    Generations of children have grown up reading her stories. This book combines a discussion of her life, her works, and their reception with a broader analysis of the cultural context of the mid-nineteenth century. It offers a unique insight into the political engagement of Catholic women through the medium of children’s literature and education, and brings out new aspects of the history of publishing aimed at children, with particular reference to the market for books for girls.

    With its lively subject matter and accessible style, this book will appeal not only to scholars of nineteenth-century France, but also to specialists and students interested in the fields of children’s literature, gender studies, and religious history.
    List of abbreviations
    List of illustrations
    1. Life stories
    2. Nobles, saints, and delinquents: constructions of childhood in the collected works of Madame de Ségur
    3. The tribulations of an author: writing, censorship and the reading public under the Second Empire
    4. The comtesse and the culture wars
    5. Model girls and divine women: reading the comtesse de Ségur
    Appendix I: The collected works of the comtesse de Ségur
    Appendix II: Editions
    Select bibliography
    Sophie Heywood is Lecturer in French at the University of Reading
    Awards won by Sophie Heywood Winner, 2012 Research Endowment Trust Fund Best Research Output Prize (Catholicism and children's literature in France)
    A masterful will be impossible to claim knowledge of the comtesse de Ségur if you have not read Sophie Heywood’s book

    Rémi Saudray, review in Cahiers Séguriens, 10 (2012) pp. 161-167.
    Heywood has made Ségur a figure of considerable interest to historians, not just biographers or literary scholars.

    Sarah A. Curtis, French History, 2012
    Winner of the 2012 University of Reading Research Endowment Trust Fund Best Research Output Prize The strength of this informative and insightful book is its ability to contextualize the life story and the writings of the comtesse de Ségur without losing sight of the complexities that both present. Neither Ségur’s life nor her writings were always consistent, yet in showing how they intersected with new ideas about childhood, a militant Catholic revival, new publishing strategies, and shifting notions of gender, Heywood hasmade Ségur a figure of considerable interest to historians, not just biographers or literary scholars.
    Sarah A. Curtis, French History, vol 26, no 4, December 2012
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