© 2001

Readers and Society in Nineteenth-Century France

Workers, Women, Peasants


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Martyn Lyons
    Pages 100-128
  3. Martyn Lyons
    Pages 156-161
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 162-208

About this book


In the nineteenth 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. The study focuses on workers, women and peasants, and the ways in which their reading was constructed as a social and political problem, to analyse the fear of reading in nineteenth 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.


bibliography catholics fiction France peasant resistance society space women

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of HistoryUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

About the authors

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.

Bibliographic information


'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