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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778)

Related: confession - enlightenment - philosophy French literature

Mademoiselle Lambercier showed towards me a mother's affection and also a mother's authority, which she sometimes carried so far as to inflict on us the usual punishment of children when we had deserved it. ... I had found in the pain and even in the shame of it an element of sensuality which left more desire than fear of receiving the experience again from the same hand. It is true that, as in all this a precocious sexual element was doubtless mixed, the same chastisement if inflicted by her brother would not have seemed so pleasant... Who would have believed, that this childish punishment, received at the age of 8 from the hand of a young woman of 30, would have determined my tastes, my desires, my passions, for the rest of my life? --The Confessions (1782)


Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 - July 2, 1778) was a Swiss-French philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau [Jan 2005]


Revolutions are certainly a part of the Modernist project. In the widest meaning of the term "modern," this project is a quest for and reconstruction of an authentic, higher, essential reality, to be found beyond the conventional, arbitrary sign systems of culture. The founding father of Modernism was in this respect Jean-Jacques Rousseau, with his critique of contemporary civilization and discovery of a primal, "unspoilt" existence of man in nature. The thought of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, which exposed the illusion of an ideological self-consciousness, discovered an "essential" reality in the self-propagation of matter and material production, in the life instinct, in the will to power, in the sexual drive and in the power of the unconscious. These discoveries were all creations of Modernism. -- Mikhail Epstein http://www.monash.edu.au/journals/pmc/issue.196/epstein.196.html

Paglia on Rousseau

"Sexuality and eroticism are the intricate intersection of nature and culture. Feminists grossly oversimplify the problem of sex when they reduce it to a matter of social convention: read just society, eliminate sexual inequality, purify sex roles, and happiness and harmony will reign. Here feminism, like all liberal movements of the past two hundred years, is heir to Rousseau." --Camille Paglia

"The Social Contract (1762) begins: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." Pitting benign Romantic nature against corrupt society, Rousseau produced the progressivist strain in nineteenth century culture, for which social reform was the means to achieve paradise on earth. The bubble of these hopes was burst by the catastrophe of two world wars. But Rousseauism was reborn in the postwar generation of the Sixties, from which contemporary feminism developed."

Erotic spanking [...]

Those interested in giving or receiving erotic spankings are sometimes known as spankophiles or spankos. Examples include the poet Algernon Swinburne and the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_spanking [Jan 2005]

The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782) - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782) - Jean-Jacques Rousseau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Confessions is an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from St. Augustine of Hippo's Confessions, the book from which Jean-Jacques Rousseau took the title for his own book. Covering the first fifty-three years of Rousseau's life, up to 1765, it was completed in 1770, but not published until 1782, four years after Rousseau's death. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_%28Jean-Jacques_Rousseau%29 [Sept 2005]

    The foundational Romantic text was Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions. Rousseau began with the assertion that here, for the first time ever, was an autobiography that gave it all away, told it all. The killer ingredient, which sold the book for over two centuries on a whisper and a nod, was Rousseau's confession of sexual masochism and his recollection of the childhood spankings that provoked it. Aside from this, Confessions is 600 or so pages of dissimulation, self-contradiction, treachery, special pleading, innuendo, raving, revenge, and lies. But what gushes out is the overwhelming "presence" of Rousseau himself: the paranoiac, the plaintiff, the pervert. The scandalous incoherence of precisely this person, no better, after all, than he should be, behaving badly, just like us in fact: real, really here. --Fred Vermorel, October - November 2000, Village Voice Literary Supplement, Lurking on the Dark Side of Biography, [http://www.villagevoice.com/vls/170/vermorel.shtml]

    La Nouvelle Héloise: Julie, or the New Eloise : Letters of Two Lovers, Inhabitants of a Small Town at the Foot of the Alps (1761) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    La Nouvelle Héloise: Julie, or the New Eloise : Letters of Two Lovers, Inhabitants of a Small Town at the Foot of the Alps (1761) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse is an epistolary romance novel by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, published in 1761 by Rey (Amsterdam). The original edition was entitled Lettres de deux amans habitans d'une petite ville au pied des Alpes.

    The novel’s subtitle points to the the history of Heloise and Pierre Abélard, a medieval story of passion and Christian renunciation. The novel was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie%2C_ou_la_nouvelle_H%C3%A9lo%C3%AFse [Oct 2005]

    See also: Index Prohibitorum - 1760s - epistolary - romantic - love - epistolary - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Firmin Abauzit - Baron d'Holbach - Ermenonville

    Heloïse and Abelard

    Abelard and Heloïse Surprised by the Abbot Fulbert (Les Amours d'Héloïse et d'Abeilard) (1819) by Jean Vignaud
    Image sourced here.

    The story of Abelard and Heloise, chronicled in Abelard's autobiographical writing and the lovers' letters, was often retold by troubadour painters. Abelard (1079-1142), one of the leading and most controversial thinkers of his day, was Heloise's tutor. When their passionate love for each other was discovered by Heloise's uncle, the Abbot Fulbert, the two married but secretly, to protect Abelard's standing. The Abbot, however, betrayed the secret, and in order to salvage his reputation, Abelard sent Heloise to the Convent of Saint Mary at Argenteuil. Believing Abelard was casting off his niece, the Abbot took revenge on him by having him castrated. The pair's subsequent correspondence attests that, through adversities and tragedy, their devotion to each other never faltered. Heloise eventually took vows and became a respected Abbess, while Abelard was prominent in a number of religious and political disputes, which culminated in his famous controversy with Bernard of Clairvaux. --http://www.joslyn.org/permcol/euro/pages/vignaud.html [Oct 2005]

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Ab%C3%A9lard

    The letters of Heloise (1101 - 1162) and Pierre Abélard are among the best known records of early romantic love. Although Heloise was a highly educated young woman, not a great deal is known of her immediate family except that in her letters she implies she is of a lower social standing, probably the Garlande family who had money and several members in strong positions, than Abelard, who was from the nobility. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heloise_%28student_of_Abelard%29 [Oct 2005]

    See also: 1100s - romantic - love - epistolary - Middle Ages - monk - castration

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