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Émile or, Concerning Education; Extracts   By: (1712-1778)

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First Page:

Heath's Pedagogical Library 4

ÉMILE:

OR, CONCERNING EDUCATION

BY

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU

EXTRACTS

CONTAINING THE PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS OF PEDAGOGY FOUND IN THE FIRST THREE BOOKS; WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES BY

JULES STEEG, DÉPUTÉ, PARIS, FRANCE

TRANSLATED BY

ELEANOR WORTHINGTON

FORMERLY OF THE COOK COUNTY (ILL.) NORMAL SCHOOL

D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO

Entered, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1888, by

GINN, HEATH, & CO.,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Printed in U. S. A.

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

M. Jules Steeg has rendered a real service to French and American teachers by his judicious selections from Rousseau's Émile. For the three volume novel of a hundred years ago, with its long disquisitions and digressions, so dear to the heart of our patient ancestors, is now distasteful to all but lovers of the curious in books.

"Émile" is like an antique mirror of brass; it reflects the features of educational humanity no less faithfully than one of more modern construction. In these few pages will be found the germ of all that is useful in present systems of education, as well as most of the ever recurring mistakes of well meaning zealots.

The eighteenth century translations of this wonderful book have for many readers the disadvantage of an English style long disused. It is hoped that this attempt at a new translation may, with all its defects, have the one merit of being in the dialect of the nineteenth century, and may thus reach a wider circle of readers.

INTRODUCTION.

Jean Jacques Rousseau's book on education has had a powerful influence throughout Europe, and even in the New World. It was in its day a kind of gospel. It had its share in bringing about the Revolution which renovated the entire aspect of our country. Many of the reforms so lauded by it have since then been carried into effect, and at this day seem every day affairs. In the eighteenth century they were unheard of daring; they were mere dreams.

Long before that time the immortal satirist Rabelais, and, after him, Michael Montaigne, had already divined the truth, had pointed out serious defects in education, and the way to reform. No one followed out their suggestions, or even gave them a hearing. Routine went on its way. Exercises of memory, the science that consists of mere words, pedantry, barren and vain glorious, held fast their "bad eminence." The child was treated as a machine, or as a man in miniature, no account being taken of his nature or of his real needs; without any greater solicitude about reasonable method the hygiene of mind than about the hygiene of the body.

Rousseau, who had educated himself, and very badly at that, was impressed with the dangers of the education of his day. A mother having asked his advice, he took up the pen to write it; and, little by little, his counsels grew into a book, a large work, a pedagogic romance.

This romance, when it appeared in 1762, created a great noise and a great scandal. The Archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont, saw in it a dangerous, mischievous work, and gave himself the trouble of writing a long encyclical letter in order to point out the book to the reprobation of the faithful. This document of twenty seven chapters is a formal refutation of the theories advanced in "Émile."

The archbishop declares that the plan of education proposed by the author, "far from being in accordance with Christianity, is not fitted to form citizens, or even men." He accuses Rousseau of irreligion and of bad faith; he denounces him to the temporal power as animated "by a spirit of insubordination and of revolt." He sums up by solemnly condemning the book "as containing an abominable doctrine, calculated to overthrow natural law, and to destroy the foundations of the Christian religion; establishing maxims contrary to Gospel morality; having a tendency to disturb the peace of empires, to stir up subjects to revolt against their sovereign; as containing a great number of propositions respectively false, scandalous, full of hatred toward the Church and its ministers, derogating from the respect due to Holy Scripture and the traditions of the Church, erroneous, impious, blasphemous, and heretical... Continue reading book >>




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