"There's nothing to match curling up with a good book

when there's a repair job to be done

around the house."

Joe Ryan



anniversary...101 th post...already !!!

photo: Berthe Bernage in 1965 ( born 1886, dead 1972)
I have been a bit silent lately...not that I'm not reading, can't live whithout it...not that I don't want to talk about it, can't live whithout it (lol)...
But I'm working hard on one of my French blogs. The French version for Oldwoman is "Je lis au lit" (I read in bed). It's true, I do read in bed. Alberto Manguel said "the pleasure of reading also depends on the our physical comfort" and I do agree...
But let's go back to Berthe Bernage, photo on the left...She's is the one I want to talk about. I have a special blog for her, "Berthe, Brigitte et Marie-Joe".
Berthe was the writer, Brigitte the main character and Marie-Joe is my mum. Berthe wrote many books between 1925 and 1972.
Daniela Di Cesco teaching in the University of Columbia wrote:
" The character of Brigitte first appeared in 1925 in the women’s magazine Les Veillées des chaumières as the prototypical adolescent girl of a column titled “Impressions de jeunes filles” (Impressions of Adolescent Girls). Brigitte instantly became the model for young girls of the period and the success of these portraits led to the publication of the first novel of the series, Brigitte: jeune fille, jeune femme (1928) . The commercial success of the Brigitte collection was due in large part to its presentation as authorized reading “to be safely read by all,” unlike novels by Colette or Victor Marguerite’s scandalous La garçonne, which were off-limits to young girls of the bourgeois class, (but were often read in secret for their sexual frankness). Passed down from mother to daughter, the Brigitte collection influenced generations of women".
My mother read the books and loved them. When she passed her A'Levels she was in the cave of Laval's castle because of the bombs falling on the town...June 1944..."Great expectations !"
She wrote about the writer expalining how she influenced her life and got a very good mark...Two years ago she found three of the books in the attic and was very disappointed...couldn't find any interest in that reading...thought she was stupid to have loved them...I had read the books, when a teenager, so I picked them up and started searching. I wanted to show Mum she was not stupid. She was like thousands of women who had loved Berthe Bernage...But I found very unpleasant things, as I read all the books, the 32 of the serie.
Unpleasant things about politics, war, Shoah...Berthe Bernage has been accused of being very implied in Petain's politics after 1940, her catholicism was said to be extreme...She had been accused of being very anti-feminist. And her readers were accused of the same things.
I thought it was unfair to accuse all the readers in such a way, and tried to understand, to sort things out...So I started a blog...
Now it's well on its way, but it's a huge work. To sort out the false and the true, to understand and interpret...
It's also interesting to understand how a very intelligent and cultured writer managed to interest thousands of very simple women reading her stories through small magazines, "Semaine de Suzette" for young ones, "Veillées des chaumières" for the older ones...but Queen Elizabeth the second and her sister Margaret also used to read Semaine de Suzette...
So here I am... let you know more later...


RUTH said...

Congratulations on your "101st" post. I celebrated my 1st blog birthday yesterday. I agree with comfort whilst reading :o)

tammy vitale said...

fascinating! I've done that with movies: remembered one that I loved and gone back to watch it and wondered what in the world I saw in it.
I also read in bed - it's the only time quiet enough to make the space to get into a book. Reading a book , um The Story of B? I don't think that's it. Someone recommended it - am not liking it. Will have to get you the actual name.