Growing Up in France: From the Ancien Regime to the Third Republic

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How did French people write about their own childhood and youth between the 1760s and the 1930s? Colin Heywood argues that this was a critical period in the history of young people, as successive generations moved from the relatively stable and hierarchical society of the Ancien Regime to a more fluid one produced by the industrial and democratic revolutions of the period. The main sources he uses are first-hand accounts of growing up: letters, diaries, childhood reminiscences and autobiographies. The book's first section considers cultural constructions of childhood and adolescence, and representations of growing up. The second considers the process of growing up among family and friends, the third the experience of moving out into the wider world, via education, work, political activity and marriage. This unique account will appeal to historians of childhood and adolescence, as well as social and cultural historians.