Lectures enfantines et enfance de la lecture dans Histoire de ma vie de George Sand
this paper analyzes scenes of children reading in George Sand’s autobiography Histoire de ma Vie (1847–1855). From her childhood to her wedding, she describes her reading practices and focuses on how she learned to read, who taught and counseled her, as well as what, when, and how she read. I intend to classify these memories in terms of age, teachers, literary genres and uses of books, in order to show what we can learn about children’s practices which are, until now, hardly known for the early nineteenth century. This study has to be contextualized based on the unique childhood of Sand as a girl and an aristocrat, and also on the specificity of autobiographical writing. Nevertheless, I think that children’s reading practices and uses are more diverse and cannot be limited to one single relationship from grown-ups to children. These testimonies can be seen as many footprints of the diversity of children’s reading practices. Even though Sand’s learning to read follows a suitable program at different ages, she still deviates from her teachers’ will, by using books as toys, by reading forbidden books, and by searching for something other than a traditional education.
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