References to Rousseau's other works which are not readily available in translation
and are not divided into small chapters will be to the French edition, Oeuvres Complètes de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ed.
Bernard Gagnebin and
Marcel Raymond, 4
vols. ( Paris: Gallimard, 1959-1969, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade). It will be cited as
O.C. References to the two Discourses and the Confessions will be to both French
and English editions.
Whether there is any particular significance to the name chosen by Rousseau
is unclear. A possible source is
Plutarch Life of Aemilius Paulus. Aemilius was
descended from either the philosopher Pythagoras or the legislator Numa. He was
devoted to education, and his life was particularly characterized by contemplation
and independence of fortune, which are perhaps the central goals of Emile's education. La Bruyère used the name Aemile, after Aemilius Paulus, for his portrait of
the Prince de Condé ( Characters II. 32).
"We are sick with evils that can be cured; and nature, having brought us
forth sound, itself helps us if we wish to be improved." The work from which this
quotation is drawn, On Anger, is significant for Rousseau's intention. Anger is the
passion which must be overcome, and his analysis of human psychology gives it a
central place. It has pervasive and protean effects. His correction of education
consists essentially in extirpating the roots of anger.
For Rousseau's own presentation of the background and the intention of the
Emile, see Confessions IX, especially O.C. I, p. 409 or Confessions, 2 vols. ( New
York and London: Everyman's Library, Dent, 1931; hereafter referred to as Everyman's), II, p. 60, and Letters from the Mountain V, O.C. III, p. 783. For his judgment of it cf. Confessions, O.C. I, pp. 386, 573 or Everyman's II, pp. 37, 213-214.
Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1690, in Locke Educational Writings,
James L. Axtell ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968). This book is
of capital importance for Rousseau's project, not only because he adopts much of
it, but especially because it represents the other great modern alternative. Rousseau
defines much of his position as over against that of Locke. A deep understanding
of Emile presupposes a knowledge of Locke's teaching.
These explanations are Rousseau's, who planned and commissioned the engravings. He considered them an integral part of the text. I am grateful to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto for providing the
photographs made from the illustrations, in a copy of the first edition in its collection.
The first edition consisted of four volumes.
For a different statement about the true addressees of Emile cf. Introduction,
p. 28 and note 28.
Rousseau omitted the following note, which was in his manuscript, from the
first edition but apparently intended to restore it in later ones. His reasons for doing
so were evidently prudential and reflect the rhetorical problems posed by the political and religious conditions prevailing: "Thus the wars of republics are crueller than
those of monarchies. But if the war of kings is moderate, it is their peace which is
terrible. It is better to be their enemy than their subject."
Livy Roman History, Summary of XVIII; Cicero Offices III26-27; Horace Odes III5.
Plutarch Lycurgus XXV; Sayings of Spartans231B, Sayings of Kings191F.
Plutarch Agesilaus XXIX; Sayings of Spartan Women241C.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Emile:Or, on Education.
Contributors: Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Author, Allan Bloom - Translator.
Publisher: Basic Books.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1979.
Page number: 481.
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