Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Date: 1762, 1763, 1766, 1806, 1929, 1935

Region: Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion Religious

Medium: Literature


Artist: Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-1778)

Confronting Bodies: Parliament of Paris, Archbishop of Paris, Council of Geneva, Roman Catholic Church, U.S. Customs Department, Soviet censors

Dates of Action: 1762, 1763, 1766, 1806, 1929, 1935

Location: France, Switzerland, Italy, United States, Soviet Union

Description of Artwork: Julie, ou la Nouvelle Heloise, 1761: Novel of a passion with a broad moral, philosophical, religious and even economic context. Emilie, ou de l'Education, 1762: A long reverie about education, helping parents to know how to raise their children properly. Du contrat Social, 1762: Develops the political principles that are summarized at the conclusion of Emilie, ou de l'Education. Starting with inequality as an irreversible fact, Rousseau tried to answer the question of what compels one man to obey another man or by what right does one man exert authority over another. Lettres de Montagne, 1763: Attack of the Council and the constitution of Geneva and a reply to J.B. Tronchin, procurer general of the Geneva Republic, who had ordered burning of Emilie, ou de l'Education and Du contrat Social. Lettres a Christophe de Beaumont, Archeveque de Paris, 1763: Rousseau defends himself from an attack from the Archbishop of Paris, who had condemned Emilie, ou de l'Education and Lettres de Montagne. Confessions, 1770: Rousseau's autobiography.

The Incident: 1762 France: Emilie, ou de l'Education condemned by the Parliament of Paris to be thrown down and burned at the foot of the great staircase; The Archbishop published a pastoral against the author. 1763 Switzerland: Condemned by the Council of Geneva for his Lettres de Montagne.

Results of Incident: 1762, France: Rousseau went in exile to Geneva, his birthplace. 1763, Switzerland: Rousseau fled to Neuchatel, where he had the protection of Frederick the Great, who was elected prince of this Swiss canton as well as King of Prussia. 1763, Rome, Italy: Both books placed on the Index.

1766: Du contrat Social and Lettres a Christophe de Beaumont, Archeveque de Paris placed on the Index.

1806, Rome, Italy: Julie, ou la Nouvelle Heloise placed on the Index. 1929, United States: Confessions was banned by the Customs Department as being injurious to public morals.

1935, Soviet Union: All philosophical works forbidden. 1936: Works permitted in Soviet Union.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978.