Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, ou de l'education [Emile]

Laurence Mall (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
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The Genevan


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) considered

Emile or On Education

, composed in the 1750s and published in 1762, as “the best of [his] writings, as well as the most important” (Rousseau, 1995, p. 480). It ranks among the great works concerning the philosophy of education, regularly grouped with such classics as Plato’s


and John Locke’s

Some Thoughts Concerning Education

(1693). But this masterpiece is also an influential work in other disciplines: it is a study in philosophical anthropology, a significant piece of social criticism, as well as a very strange quasi-novel. Its influence was considerable, and it continues to offer stimulating intellectual challenges to modern readers.

In his Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, Rousseau had sketched a

2879 words

Citation: Mall, Laurence. "Émile, ou de l'education". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 September 2011 [, accessed 26 February 2024.]

5382 Émile, ou de l'education 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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