Abstract

The reading "revolution" wrought by Rousseau's Julie has been characterized, by Robert Darnton and others, as the triumph of a nearly quixotic investment in fiction: sentimental readers, it would seem, believed in the reality of the characters they read about. Yet the archive of letters to Rousseau reveals readers quite attuned to the novel's exploration of different types, good and bad, of emotional involvement. Julie and the enthusiasm it provoked must be understood as rejecting previously dominant aesthetic theories predicating audience emotion on mimetic fusion between reader and text, in favor of emotions proper to distanced, even unbelieving, spectators.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 131-154
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-10
Open Access
No
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