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Déplaire à son public pour un auteur du XVIIIe siècle : le cas de Rousseau

Abstract : To displease: this is not a concept, neither a matter of research, but rather a claim--the claim of several writers and artists from the French 18th century, who where reluctant to meet their public’s expectations. The accession of public opinion, whose authority is contested, confirms their desire for autonomy. Among the most eloquent of them is Rousseau. After his Discourse about the origins of inequality among men [1751] inspired his own personal “reformation”, the Genevan citizen unexpectedly proclaims the need to be rid of the long-standing “art to please,” which, up until this point, had ordered social and literary life since the 17th century. However, he is quickly confronted by the dangers of autonomy and a quest for independence that could easily be mistaken as a deceptive form of seduction. In light of this, at the end of the 1750’s, Rousseau decides to renounce his stance as an insolent, forbidding author, and he re-establishes the aim to please, although this time in a different way. The language that is characteristic of the seductive style this author inaugurates is found in his novel La Nouvelle Heloise. But is the novelist able to trump his position, stated in the Lettre à d’Alembert, where he attacks literary pleasure? He would say so; but ironically, it is Rousseau’very own means of seduction that the is attacking when he suggests, indiscreetly, through the lines of his work, that he has been poisoning the public mind.
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Christine Hammann. Déplaire à son public pour un auteur du XVIIIe siècle : le cas de Rousseau. Littératures. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2009. Français. ⟨NNT : 2009PA030073⟩. ⟨tel-01334726⟩



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