The breton language autobiography of Julien Godest (1905-13) : current events and cutlural Archaism on the Eve of the 20th century - Université de Bretagne Occidentale Access content directly
Journal Articles Studia Celto-Slavica Year : 2021

The breton language autobiography of Julien Godest (1905-13) : current events and cutlural Archaism on the Eve of the 20th century

Nelly Blanchard
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Abstract

Julien Godest (1849–33) was a farmer from Chapelle-Neuve and Callac in the Côtes-d’Armor (north-western Brittany). Unlike most of his fellow agricultural labourers, he was literate and, at some point between 1905–13, he wrote a 300-page autobiography in Breton. He had been solicited to undertake this task by François Jaffrennou (1879–1956), one of the key leaders of the Emsao movement. Godest began this long literary work to testify and to reflect upon his experiences and those of his brother during a crucial period of social, political, geographical, cultural and linguistic change at the end of the 19th century, a period that ushered in what historians define as the “modern age”. Rather than assume the existence of clearly defined cultural entities – for example, Breton or Celtic on the one hand and French on the other – the question of cultural and linguistic contacts raised by the theme of this colloquium induced me to read the text and analyse it in a way that is similar to the manner in which the author himself seems to have perceived his own identity, that is, via cultural change and other recurring events that punctuate his autobiography. In order to provide elements of a response, I shall concentrate on his experiences in the face of social and cultural change, in order to understand what he seems to perceive as fundamentally significant in his own culture. I shall then attempt to shed some light on the nature of this literary text. Finally, and perhaps paradoxically, I shall examine its value as a tool of cultural archaeology.
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Dates and versions

hal-03952394 , version 1 (23-01-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03952394 , version 1

Cite

Nelly Blanchard. The breton language autobiography of Julien Godest (1905-13) : current events and cutlural Archaism on the Eve of the 20th century. Studia Celto-Slavica, 2021, 12, pp.3-15. ⟨hal-03952394⟩
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