Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Emile, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (#14 in our series by
Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for
your country before downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg
This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file.
Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the header without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project
Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is important information about your
specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can also find out about
how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****
Title: Emile
Author: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Release Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5427] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of
schedule] [This file was first posted on July 18, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Steve Harris, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Translated by Barbara Foxley

Author's Preface
This collection of scattered thoughts and observations has little order or continuity; it was
begun to give pleasure to a good mother who thinks for herself. My first idea was to write
a tract a few pages long, but I was carried away by my subject, and before I knew what I
was doing my tract had become a kind of book, too large indeed for the matter contained
in it, but too small for the subject of which it treats. For a long time I hesitated whether to
publish it or not, and I have often felt, when at work upon it, that it is one thing to publish
a few pamphlets and another to write a book. After vain attempts to improve it, I have
decided that it is my duty to publish it as it stands. I consider that public attention requires
to be directed to this subject, and even if my own ideas are mistaken, my time will not
have been wasted if I stir up others to form right ideas. A solitary who casts his writings
before the public without any one to advertise them, without any party ready to defend
them, one who does not even know what is thought and said about those writings, is at
least free from one anxiety--if he is mistaken, no one will take his errors for gospel.
I shall say very little about the value of a good education, nor shall I stop to prove that the
customary method of education is bad; this has been done again and again, and I do not
wish to fill my book with things which everyone knows. I will merely state that, go as far
back as you will, you will find a continual outcry against the established method, but no
attempt to suggest a better. The literature and science of our day tend rather to destroy
than to build up. We find fault after the manner of a master; to suggest, we must adopt
another style, a style less in accordance with the pride of the philosopher. In spite of all
those books, whose only aim, so they say, is public utility, the most useful of all arts, the
art of training men, is still neglected. Even after Locke's book was written the subject
remained almost untouched, and I fear that my book will leave it pretty much as it found
We know nothing of childhood; and with our mistaken notions the further we advance the
further we go astray. The wisest writers devote themselves to what a man ought to know,
without asking what a child is capable of learning. They are always looking for the man
in the child, without considering what he is before he becomes a man. It is to this study
that I have chiefly devoted myself, so that if my method is fanciful and unsound, my
observations may still be of service. I may be greatly mistaken as to what ought to be
done, but I think I have clearly perceived the material which is to be worked upon. Begin
thus by making a more careful study of your scholars, for it is clear that yon know
nothing about them; yet if you read this book with that end in view, I think you will find
that it is not entirely useless.

With regard to what will be called the systematic portion of the book,
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 318
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.