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Taking the Hard Road: Life Course in French and German Workers' Autobiographies in the Era of Industrialization / Edition 1

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Overview

Taking the Hard Road is an engaging history of growing up in working-class families in France and Germany during the Industrial Revolution. Based on a reading of ninety autobiographical accounts of childhood and adolescence, the book explores the far-reaching historical transformations associated with the emergence of modern industrial capitalism. According to Mary Jo Maynes, the aspects of private life revealed in these accounts played an important role in historical development by actively shaping the authors' social, political, and class identities. The stories told in these memoirs revolve around details of everyday life: schooling, parent-child relations, adolescent sexuality, early experiences in the workforce, and religious observances. Maynes uses demographics, family history, and literary analysis to place these details within the context of historical change. She also draws comparisons between French and German texts, men's and women's accounts, and narratives of social mobility and political militancy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A key text for research on the French and German proletarian autobiography from the late eighteenth to . . . early twentieth century.

German Notes and Reviews

Provocative and important. Maynes adds a new and timely dimension to working-class historiography.

Journal of Social History

This book contributes in original ways to working-class and gender history.

American Historical Review

Taking the Hard Road opens up a comparative dimension that proves richly rewarding.

Mark Traugott, University of California, Santa Cruz

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807821879
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 278
  • Lexile: 1400L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Mary Jo Maynes is professor of history at the University of Minnesota. She is author of Schooling in Western Europe: A Social History and coeditor of Interpreting Women's Lives: Feminist Theory and Personal Narratives.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Surveying the Terrain: Autobiography, Life Course, and the History of Class Identities in Nineteenth-Century Europe 1
2 Notebooks from the Road: How Workers Became Autobiographers 31
3 The First Missteps: The Wrong Sort of Childhood 63
4 Directions Learned in School 85
5 Leaving Childhood Behind 101
6 Sex and Destiny 129
7 Setting a Course 153
8 Conclusion: Autobiography and History 187
Notes 207
Bibliography 227
Index 261
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