Monday, May 15, 2017

Rousseau's epistolary novel, Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse (1761)

Saint-Preux's lover, Julie, reminds him that Paris also contains poor and voiceless people, remote from the exalted realms where opinions are made and spread, and that it is his responsibility to speak for them. In many ways Rousseau embraced this obligation, setting himself against the conventionally enlightened wisdom of his age, and inventing the category of disadvantaged and trampled-upon 'people', who have a claim on our compassionate understanding.
-Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A History of the Present (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017), p. 91.