BiographyHe resulted from a very modest family of condition. His/her father was farmer with his birth, but at the edge of the ruin, it lost its lease later two months. It rented then a PEN-ty with Ergué-Gabéric where it sold its services in farmers for eight to twelve pennies per day.
Child, his family undergoes full whip the misery generated by the famous epidemic of Mildiou of the Années 1840. He had to become Mendiant.
The crisis passed, it managed to be made engage in various farms as cowherd, in particular in a firm-school of agriculture to Kerfeunteun. He learned how by itself to write and read French: he could hitherto read only the Breton one and Latin, learned with the cathechism. He will tell how he recovered sheets forgotten by the other pupils to decipher them.
In 1854, it engaged in the army. There will remain 14 years there, taking part in the Crimean War, in the countryside of Italy, the tender of the Kabylie in Algérie, like with the Expédition of Mexico. At the time of these campaigns it had the leisure to learn Italian and Spanish. It improved there also its French, reading all that it could and seeking the contact of any cultivated person. It is at that time that in place its republican ideas and violently anticlericals are reflected.
Returned in Brittany, he Maria and became farmer with Ergué-Armel. It remained it during 15 years, and thanks to its ingeniousness made this farm with the abandonment a model exploitation. Its lease was not extended, because of its ideas and its character at the very least Psychorigide.
It was then tenant of bar (he gave up this trade when his wife died in a '' delirium tremens ''), insurance agent, then he obtained a license to be tobacco dealer to Pluguffan (a manner of retirement granted to the former soldiers). But, ridges some with the opposition of the priest who incited since his pulpit with the boycott of the trade of this parishioner declaring anticlerical openly, it had to leave the commune at the end of a few years.
Fallen down in misery, it spent its last years to Quimper where it attended the public library to read the republican newspapers there. It is during this period that he wrote the history of his life. It wrote it by twice: it had sold a first manuscript with Anatole Braz and, not seeing reappearing this one, believed of it that it had wanted to make disappear his testimony.
Destiny of workAnatole Braz, after him to have given hundred francs for purchase of the rights to come, loses the 24 books of Déguignet, which encourages this last, not without bitterness, to entirely resume his work. Anatole Braz published only the beginning of the first manuscript in the Revue of Paris during the winter 1904-1905, and after having standardized and having standardized the text which is completed with the countryside of Italy and a mention “to follow”, but it did not have no continuation there.
It is only nearly one century later, and almost by chance, that the manuscript of the second drafting was found and published, with an immense popular success: more 300 000 specimens sold in France with translations in Italian, Czech and English. The success of this edition at a small Breton nationalist editor, Year Young stag, is especially due in an enthusiastic article of the journalist Michel Polac then with the support of the regional media.
Beside its memories themselves, it remains of him some texts of personal reflections (a Vie of Jesus , a Histoire of the myths ) and some mainly new books “of work” (a book of notes, its moral will, drafts of letters).
Its work impassioned, because it leaves a rare testimony on mentality and the political evolution carrying towards the Republic of the peasants of the area of Quimper towards the end of the 19th century. The pages devoted to the military campaigns also particularly interesting, because are written by a private, which is rare.
Déguignet can be qualified of writer: admittedly, like Casanova, another author of a History of my life , its French is sometimes hazardous (full with bretonnisms), but he wrote with passion: at the end of an adventurous but missed destiny, it had to tell much.
The portrait that Déguignet traces itself shows us a very intelligent man even exceptionally gifted, with the strong republican convictions and anticlericals, polyglot, undoubtedly skilful farmer, able to involve his equal; but probably also likely of linguistic excesses which could not facilitate its insertion in the company of its century.
In a long study, the ethnopsychiatre Philippe Carrer advances that Jean-Marie Déguignet suffered from Paranoïa.
WorksFirst version of its memories:
- Memories of a low-Breton peasant , in the Re-examined of Paris (1904)
- in condensed form: Memories of a low-Breton peasant , Year Young stag (1998) ISBN 2-86843-178-X
- integrality: History of my life , Year Young stag (2001) ISBN 2-86843-226-3.
- Tales and legends of Low-Cornwall , Year Young stag (1998) ISBN 2-86843-189-5
- Rhymes and revolts (collection of its poetries), White Flint (1999) ISBN 2-9509902-8-2.
- Czech: Paměti bretonského venkovana , Praha, Mladá fronta, (2003)
- English: Memoirs off has Breton Peasant , Seven Stories Close (2004)
- Italian: Memorie di a contadino , Rizzoli (2005)
- Russian (extracts) ДегинеЖан-Мари “МемуарывыходцаизНижнейБретани”
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