Robinson, Philip E.J.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Doctrine of the Arts
Year of Publication: 1984
Berne, Frankfurt/M., Nancy, New York, 1984. 530 pp.
ISBN 978-3-261-03379-6 530 (Hardcover)
Weight: 0.860 kg, 1.896 lbs
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This is the first book to set out comprehensively Rousseau's theoretical statements on the arts: music and opera, theatre, fiction, poetry, the visual arts and dance. These statements are seen in terms of the phases of his intellectual development: the early years, the social criticism of the 1750s, the future-orientated theory of Emile and other texts, and finally the increasing self-scrutiny. This approach, conscious at all times of the element of personal commitment in his thinking, permits a sympathetic understanding, if not a resolution, of the famous paradoxes. The chief of these, his simultaneous condemnation and practice of drama, music and literature, is seen less as a personal contradiction than as a pointer to the ills of society which outrage him.
Despite the huge social, political and economic upheavals since his death in 1778, Rousseau emerges as a thinker who has much to teach those concerned for the health of the arts in a modern world and for the moral values which attend them.
«The book marshals its detail clearly and easily, which makes it easy and pleasant to read.» (Marian Hobson, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies)
European University Studies: Series 13, French Language and Literature. Vol. 90