A Life of Her Own: A Countrywoman in Twentieth-century France

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Rutgers University Press, 1991 - Biography & Autobiography - 271 pages
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Published in France in 1977 as Une Soupe aux Herbes Sauvages, this autobiography of a peasant woman reared in the stony insularity of a tiny Alpine village reveals the unfolding of a formidable person. Carles, born in 1900, writes of her life in the mountains coountry of southern France as comprising "so many different things, funny or tragic, picturesque or cruel." She takes the reader into her beloved Claree Valley where she as a young child in a motherless family labored alongside her father in the fields; it is where her schooling began and where she recognized her intelligence as the key to the outer world. Primitive village life and the patriarchal though loving structure of her family are background for Carles's full, nonconformist life as teacher, farmer, mother, feminist and political activist. The memoir brings to life a captivating woman
 

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A life of her own: a countrywoman in twentieth-century France

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Originally published in France as Une Soupe aux Herbes Sauvages (1977), this is the memoir of a mountain peasant born at the turn of the century who was lucky and persevering enough to finish school ... Read full review

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Remarkable autobiography of an amazing woman Emilie Allais Carles (1900-1977)
"...a man must defend himself against exploitation and the stultifying effect of work...The most important thing for a
young person is to choose a trade he likes and enjoys, otherwise he will be a slave, unhappy and consumed with rage." (p. 226) 

Contents

Chapter
5
Wolves in the Valley
15
Tied Down on a Mule
25
A Family Portrait
31
Learning to Read
41
They Died for Their Country
51
And the Wind Would Carry Me Off Like
59
Just At It Was in the Middle Ages
65
A Second Family
139
PART
143
You Have a Right to a Life of Your Own
145
Parit Is Welt Worth a Mass
149
Against All Corners
153
Does Your Teacher Hit You?
161
My Four Ward
167
The Golden Age
175

Farewell Joseph
73
Thou Shalt Not Kill
79
Its When You Spits
85
Beware the Loose Woman
93
Three Stories Plus One More
101
One of Their Own
109
Fatback and WineSoaked Bread
113
The Story of MarieRose
119
If Id Been a Washerwoman Beside a Stream
125
Joseph You re a Thief
133
Like a Bird Fallen from the Nest
187
The Phony War
195
Nine Names for a Hostage List
209
Schoolteacher in ValdesPres
221
Farewell to Jean Carles
231
The Wolves Are Back
239
November 11 1977
257
Afterword
261
Glossary
265
Copyright

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About the author (1991)

Emilie Carles (1900-1979) wrote one book in her lifetime, an internationally best-selling autobiography, A Life of Her Own: A Countrywoman in Twentieth-Century France, originally published as Une soupe aux herbes sauvages (A Wild Herb Soup, 1977). Carles was teacher, feminist, pacifist, and political activist despite the fact that she spent almost her entire life in the isolated and impoverished Claree Valley where she was born. She began writing in notebooks as a child, intending to document the story of her life. Despite the inherent difficulties of being a woman entering the educational system early in the twentieth century, she became a teacher who urged her students to read and think for themselves. Carles became a pacifist out of horror at the mutilation and death of World War At twenty-eight, she married Jean Carles, a freethinking workingman she met on a train. When Carles was seventy-seven, she led her neighbors in a successful fight to save their valley from a proposed superhighway. As an adult, Carles set to work on her autobiography and, towards the end of her life when cancer made it impossible to write, she finished it by dictating to Robert

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