Emile, or On Education

Émile et Sophie

In the incomplete sequel to Emile, Émile et Sophie (English: Emilius and Sophia), published after Rousseau's death, Sophie is unfaithful (in what is hinted at might be a drugged rape), and Emile, initially furious with her betrayal, remarks "the adulteries of the women of the world are not more than gallantries; but Sophia an adulteress is the most odious of all monsters; the distance between what she was, and what she is, is immense. No! there is no disgrace, no crime equal to hers".[24] He later relents somewhat, blaming himself for taking her to a city full of temptation, but he still abandons her and their children. Throughout the agonized internal monologue, represented through letters to his old tutor, he repeatedly comments on all of the affective ties that he has formed in his domestic life — "the chains [his heart] forged for itself".[25] As he begins to recover from the shock, the reader is led to believe that these "chains" are not worth the price of possible pain — "By renouncing my attachments to a single spot, I extended them to the whole earth, and, while I ceased to be a citizen, became truly a man".[26] While in La Nouvelle Héloïse the ideal is domestic, rural happiness (if not bliss), in Emile and its sequel the ideal is "emotional self-sufficiency which was the natural state of primitive, pre-social man, but which for modern man can be attained only by the suppression of his natural inclinations".[27] According to Dr. Wilson Paiva, member of the Rousseau Association, "[L]eft unfinished, Émile et Sophie reminds us of Rousseau's incomparable talent for producing a brilliant conjugation of literature and philosophy, as well as a productive approach of sentiment and reason through education".[28]

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.