Julie, ou La Nouvelle Heloise: An analysis

The transition is situated towards the terminal of Rousseau’s novelJulie, ou La NouvelleHeloise, the 7th missive of the 5th subdivision to be exact. Formatted in the epistolatory signifier, this peculiar infusion is written by the protagonist Saint-Preux to Milord Edouard, who has become his friend and intimate after first being his challenger. It follows a drawn-out description of the pleasances of the countryside, the picturesqueness of Fieldss being tilled and the agreeable emotions felt by Saint-Preux as he watches laborers hard at work. In the transition we are analyzing nevertheless Saint-Preux Begins by acknowledging this idealistic vision is non ever a realistic one ; that there does be great poorness and misery in the countryside, as in the City. Nevertheless, this is shortly counter-acted by the evocation of merely landlords who have the public assistance of their land, animals and retainers at bosom. The transition ends as an ode to the life the author merely wishes he could go forth, working the dirt as a provincial with a good adult female by his side.

The manner in which this peculiar transition is written is consistent with the remainder of the novel. The inflated linguistic communication, such as the overexploitation of the ‘O! ’ , an exclaiming in a typically romantic manner frequently used at the clip by lyrical poets, are typical of Rousseau’s others plants, such as hisConfessionsandEmile. Indeed, the transition itself begins every bit would a confession with the word ‘j’avoue’ [ 1 ] ; ‘I confess’ . Similarly, the usage every other word of adjectives such as ‘inflexible’ , ‘inhumain’ and ‘malheureux’ reinforce the sentiments of Saint-Preux, and do non come across as candid, nonsubjective observations of a province of personal businesss. In the first five lines of the transition, feeling is so intermingled with the description of the poorness husbandmans live in, it is difficult for the reader to state fact from embellishment. After the polar ‘But’ at the beginning of the 3rd sentence, the emotional use of the reader continues by the usage this clip of blandishing adjectives such as ‘charme’ , ‘bon’ and ‘sage’ . The imagination used to depict the plentiful contributions of enlightened ‘regisseurs’ , which are simply canonized landholders, draws analogues with the abundant manus of God himself, although he is referred to in this transition as ‘Providence’ . Indeed, the helpers donate ‘a pleines mains’ , as all-seeing, almighty divinities watching over their flock from the celestial spheres. The imagination is pursued as ‘engraisser … places et bestiaux’ leads us to believe of the sacrificed fattened calf of the Bible ; even Rousseau, the friend of Voltaire the ill-famed Atheist, can non assist scriptural mentions from crawling into his text.

The usage of the rhetorical inquiry as a pivoting point in the center of the text is an extra device to maintain the reader on the narrator’s side, as it were. The reply to the inquiry ; ‘How can we get away the sweet semblance that these objects give birth to in us? ’ , is of class inevitable, sing the idealistic description of a country-side Eden in the lines predating it. Similarly, Rousseau employs the usage of ‘on’ , which is translatable as ‘we’ , therefore including the reader and presuming to talk in his or her name when doing such statement as ‘we want to set oneself to work, sharing countrified asks and the joy attached to them…’ . The reader is now portion of this idyll.

The last subdivision of this transition is entirely devoted to the description of the ideal adult female. The storyteller foremost recalls a blest clip, which he in fact does non call, when adult females were ‘innocent’ , ‘tender’ and ‘modest’ . Rousseau so uses yet another scriptural mention, which reinforces by its sanctity his vision of the perfect adult female. In the Book of Genesis it is told that to obtain Rachel’s manus in matrimony, Jacob endured 14 old ages of servitude to her father Laban ; seven to get down with, which resulted in his tricked matrimony to Leah, Rachel’s sister, and seven more for Rachel’s ain manus. Similarly enlisted are Grecian and Roman mythology with the mention to the three graces, which represent all the properties of appeal, beauty and nature, every bit good as on occasion birthrate and hilarity. The author is categorical when he affirms that they reside in the state and non in the metropolis.

Last, a device of Saint-Preux is used where he straight refers to the friend he is purportedly composing to, bespeaking that he was so engrossed in the beauty of his ain ideas that he lost path of sense of clip and topographic point. Taking into history the rhetorical range of the full transition, we find ourselves obliged to hold with Judith Still when she states inJustice and Difference; ‘Rousseau is the author who above all straddles the divide between antediluvian and modern…’ [ 2 ] Indeed, he succeeds in unifying in the same passages highly advanced impressions refering poorness and the compassion labourers are entitled to while mentioning in the same breath to the bible and excessively traditional impressions of the ‘pure’ adult female. It can be said that this peculiar transition illustrates good this fusion of the old and the new in a novel that was considered improbably enlightened for the times.

Do travel a small further in the historical context of the novel, we must observe thatJulie, ou La Nouvelle Heloisewas foremost published in 1761 [ 3 ] , hardly 30 old ages before the revolution of 1789 that transformed France into a republic and signaled the terminal of monarchy and Absolute Power. If, in this transition, Rousseau does non explicitly advocate societal rebellion on behalf of the working categories, his Hagiographas however, along with those of his coevalss Voltaire and Montaigne, signal the elusive alterations of political orientations in the 18th century.

Robert Darnton, in his bookThe Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in Gallic Cultural History, argues thatJulie‘was possibly the biggest best-seller of the century’ , [ 4 ] and that 70 editions were in print before 1800, ‘probably more than for any other novel in the old history of publishing.’ [ 5 ] This explains the range of the book had with French and international readership. Indeed, with the usage of Romantic prose the commiseration of 18th century readers is called upon, or instead demanded. Merely a reader whose bosom was made of rock would non be moved by Saint-Preux’s descriptions of the adversities of adult male and animal, even were he a baronial or landholder.

TheNouvelle Heloisemay besides signal a regular return to nature ; if it is no longer the seamy seaport of poorness Parisians thought the country-side to be, but can be enjoyed as a regular new Garden of Eden. Indeed, Rousseau’s idyllic descriptions may hold provoked the more bizarre behaviours of Louis the Sixteenth’s married woman, Marie Antoinette, who liked to play the shepherdess with her friends in the gardens of Versailles, actioning nature as one of her ‘amusements’ , her ‘pleasures’ that even Rousseau acknowledges. The complexness of the metropolis, of which Rousseau claims he is weary in adult male if his essays, is replaced by the simple life of the state, what we today name the ‘good life’ .

It is nevertheless clear to a 20 first century audience that, throughout this transition, Rousseau’s ideal community is non one where all are wholly equal, the rich Masterss working alongside the hapless husbandmans, but a purely regimented one where the Masterss, although benevolent and generous, are nonetheless Masters. The image of the provident proprietor may do us believe of the Ford industries in American during the industrial age ; an across-the-board mill with everything a worker could desire, including health care and a canteen, every bit good as the highest pay of all time paid to a laborer at the clip. But for all this were Ford’s workers free? There is still a ‘maitre’ , a ‘master’ in this ideal province of personal businesss, even though Julie’s rich hubby is non ‘inhuman’ . Landowners and Lords still mostly net income from the ‘work that enriches them’ , pacifying provincials and husbandmans with little grants such as state feasts, which are the ‘festivities’ Saint-Preux refers to. So belongings remains the privilege of the rich, even though the workers in the narrator’s soliloquy are well-clothed and well-nourished. Possibly, nevertheless, we are being excessively rough on Rousseau, as the mere impression of handling your ‘vassals’ good was a freshness at the clip and a beginning for greater things to come.

The same applies to the societal position of adult females in this transition ; they are objects of worship and esteem, but are however and on a wholly different field to Masters and even male husbandmans. This is explained clearly by Nicole Fermon in her survey of Rousseau entitlesDomesticating Passions; ‘Rousseau depicts Clarens ( The family inLa Nouvelle Heloise) non as the realisation of a dream of perfect Concord between peers but as hard adjustment meant to rectify the worst maltreatments of stuff and societal life in the ancient regime.’ [ 6 ] Indeed, non even Julie the heroine is this perfect theoretical account of virtuousness, as she confesses in her last minutes her digesting love for a adult male that is non her hubby.


Key Text

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques,Julie ou La Nouvelle Heloise( Paris: Barbier, 1845 ) p.689

The ConciseOxfordGallic Dictionary,erectile dysfunction. Abel Chevally ( Oxford: The Clarendon imperativeness, 1934 )

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, erectile dysfunction. Judy Pearsall, revised 10th edition ( Oxford University Press, 2001 )

Secondary Texts

Darnton, Robert,The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in Gallic Cultural History( New York: Viking, 1984 )

Eigeldinger, Marc,J.J. Rousseau: Univers Mythique et Coherence( Neuchatel: Payot, 1978 )

Fermon, Nicole,Domesticating Passions ; Rousseau, Woman and Nation( Wesleyan University Press, 1997 )

Julie, or the New Heloise, Wikipedia, hypertext transfer protocol: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie, _or_the_New_Heloise ( 7ThursdayMarch 2008 )

Still, Judith,Justice and Difference in the plants of Rousseau;Bienfaisance and Pudeur( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993 )


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