This is the first book-length history of the classic French children's author, the comtesse de Segur. Virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, in France Segur 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.
Sophie Heywood is Lecturer in French at the University of Reading.
List of abbreviations List of illustrations Introduction 1. Life stories 2. Nobles, saints, and delinquents: constructions of childhood in the collected works of Madame de Segur 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 Segur Conclusion Appendix I: The collected works of the comtesse de Segur Appendix II: Editions Select bibliography Index