Julie, or the New Heloise
Letters of Two Lovers Who Live in a Small Town at the Foot of the Alps
Publication Year: 2010
Rousseau's great epistolary novel, Julie, or the New Heloise, has been virtually unavailable in English since 1810. In it, Rousseau reconceptualized the relationship of the individual to the collective and articulated a new moral paradigm. The story follows the fates and smoldering passions of Julie d'Etange and St. Preux, a one-time lover who re-enters Julie's life at the invitation of her unsuspecting husband, M. de Wolmar.
The complex tones of this work made it a commercial success and a continental sensation when it first appeared in 1761, and its embodiment of Rousseau's system of thought, in which feelings and intellect are intertwined, redefined the function and form of fiction for decades. As the characters negotiate a complex maze of passion and virtue, their purity of soul and honest morality reveal, as Rousseau writes in his preface, "the subtleties of heart of which this work is full."
A comprehensive introduction and careful annotations make this novel accessible to contemporary readers, both as an embodiment of Rousseau's philosophy and as a portrayal of the tension and power inherent in domestic life.
Published by: Dartmouth College Press
Series: Collected Writings of Rousseau
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After the tragic passions that characterized the novels of Mme de Lafayette in the late seventeenth century and Antoine Prévost in the 1730s and 1740s, many of the most prominent works in France by the mid-eighteenth century were quintessentially Parisian, featuring wit and elegance. In them love typically took the form of successive, often furtive affairs. ...
Note on the Translation
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Notes on the Text and Engravings
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Great cities must have theaters; and corrupt peoples, Novels. I have seen the morals of my times, and I have published these letters. Would I had lived in an age when I should have thrown them into the fire! ...
Preface of the New Heloise or Conversation about Novels between the Editor and a Man of Letters
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This Dialogue or supposed Conversation was originally intended to serve as the Preface to the Letters of the two Lovers.7 But its form and its length having permitted me to place only an excerpt at the head of the collection,8 I give it here in its entirety, in the hope that the reader will Wnd some useful views about the purpose of this sort of Writings. ...
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I must flee you, Mademoiselle, that I can see: I should not have waited nearly so long, or rather it were better never to have laid eyes on you. But what is to be done at present? How should I go about it? You promised me friendship; behold my confusion, and counsel me. ...
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I have taken up the pen a hundred times and put it down again; I hesitate at the very first word; I know not what tone to adopt; I know not where to begin; and it is to Julie I mean to write! Wretched me! What has become of me? That time is then no more when a thousand delightful sentiments flowed from my pen like an endless torrent! ...
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What sufferings you inflict on those who love you! What tears you have already caused to flow in an unfortunate family whose peace you alone trouble! Beware compounding our tears with mourning: beware lest the death of an afflicted mother be the ultimate effect of the poison you pour into her daughter’s heart, ...
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How long it is taking you to return here! I am not happy with all these comings and goings. How many hours are wasted getting you to where you ought always to be, and still worse taking you away! The thought of seeing each other for such a short time spoils the whole pleasure of being together. ...
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Put an end to your childhood, friend, awaken. Do not turn your entire life over to a long slumber of reason. The years flow by, you have only enough left for becoming wise. At thirty years past, it is time to give some thought to oneself; start then to search within yourself, and be a man once before you die. ...
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Before leaving Lausanne I must write you a brief word to inform you that I have arrived here; not however as joyful as I hoped. I was looking forward with great pleasure to this little trip which has so often tempted even you; but by refusing to come along you have made it almost a bother to me; for what comfort will there be in it for me? ...
Appendix I. The Loves of Milord Edward Bomston
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Appendix II. Subjects of the Engravings
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Appendix III. Narrative Chronology
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Appendix IV. Glossary
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Appendix V. Table of the Letters and Their Contents
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Page Count: 760
Publication Year: 2010
Edition: Trans. from the French
Series Title: Collected Writings of Rousseau