Jean-Marie Déguignet

Born to landless farmers in Brittany in 1834, Jean-Marie Déguignet spent his childhood and adolescence as a beggar and cowherd. He joined the French Army in 1854, and was unique for a peasant from this region in that he was not only literate, but well read, and taught himself Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Former New Yorker fiction editor and translator Linda Asher is the recipient of many awards including the French-American Translation Prize in 2000.

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“Mr. Déguignet’s notebooks offer valuable material for researchers. But they also afford insights into a remarkable life.