Forging Rousseau

BookForging Rousseau

Forging Rousseau

Print, Commerce and Cultural Manipulation in the Late Enlightenment

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2001:08


August 1st, 2001

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Inspired by questions and techniques of l’histoire du livre’, this books investigates how print technology in the service of cultural discipleship created the liteary icon known as Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
During his lifetime Rousseau asserted an author-centred interpretation of literary property that brought him celebrity and income. However, following the condemnations of Emile and Du contrat social, it also brought him extraordinary personnal grief. After Rousseau’s death in July 1778, three disciples envisioned a massive testament of rehabilitation, the Collection complète des oeuvres de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, citoyen de Genève. Containing the first editions of the Confessions, Rêveries du promeneur solitaire, and considerable correspondence, the Collection complète offered up Rousseau the martyred sage speaking the language of autobiography. Readers were invited to appropriate lessons from the tragic life. Indeed, the absorption of Rousseau’s texts was intended to stir up, manipulate, and change their own lives. 
Though the Collection complète was an extraordinary literary phenomenon, it proved to be a commercial disaster. Competing editorial agendas tore apart the disciples, and piracies of their edition damaged the enterprise. Rousseau’s ‘widow’ and blood relatives claimed literary property rights inheritance. Subsequently, as the French Revolution unfolded, established strategies behind the marketing of Rousseau shifted. The flexible moral messages of autobiography yelded place to a static political one – that of Rousseau as author of Du contrat social, the père de la patrie, en embalmed corpse lying in state in the Panthéon.
Forging Rousseau is a unique type of cultural analysis, contextualising the commercial publishing history of Rousseau’s works in the milieux of the late Enlightenment and Revolutionary period. It is sensitive to major issues concerning book history today: what constitutes an edition, what constitutes a piracy, and competing definitions of intellectual property, icon construction, and literary inheritance.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page6
Copyright Page7
Table of Contents8
Part I: Rousseau and Intellectual Property Rights18
1. Up to and including La Nouvelle Héloise20
Rousseau, Marc-Michel Rey and Literary Property20
Publishing the Two Discours and the Lettre à d'Alembert24
Undertaking La Nouvelle Héloïse with Rey29
The True and False 'Rey' Editions of La Nouvelle Héloïse34
2. Emile and The Œuores Complètes42
Rousseau's Minuet with Rey42
Publishing Emile46
The Euures Complètes of Rousseau55
Part II: The Trois Amis and the Widow Rousseau64
3. Girardin, Moultou and du Peyrou66
The Forty-Two Days of Ermenonville66
The Mission of the Troisamis73
Publishing Wars80
4. Rousseau without Borders88
Pursuing the Confessions88
Chasing Down the Considérations sur le Gouvernement de Pologne93
Rousseau's Music99
5. Thérèse108
The Marquis's Hostage108
The Contracts for the Collection Complète112
Thérèse's Revolt116
Part III: The Collection Complète des Euures de J.-J. Rousseau, Citoyen de Geneoe122
6. Competing Editorial Visions124
The Sources of Conflict124
From Disagreement to Crisis128
The Prospectus for the Collection Complète134
7. Publishing the Collection Complète140
The First Stage: Flashback to 1779140
The Second Stage: 1780148
Completing the Collection Complète: To August 1782157
8. What Readers Found in the Collection Complète168
The Distribution of Texts168
The Collection Complète as Autobiography: Personal Testimony of 1750-1762174
The Mission of Authorship: 1762-1765179
Crisis and Dénouement: 1765-1772188
The First Supplément à la Collection des Euores de J.-J. Rousseau193
9. Europe's Booksellers and the Fate of the Collection Complete203
Marketing the Collection Complète204
Uncovering Part II of The Confessions210
Thérèse, Her Inheritance and the Rousseau Cousins214
10. Publishing Part II of the Confessions223
Five Years of Pamphlets223
Pierre Moultou's Edition of the Confessions, Part II230
Du Peyrou's Edition of the Confessions, Part II233
11. From Print to the Panthéon241
Thérèse's Revenge241
The Fate of the Corpus249
Settling Accounts255
Recapitulation: Forging Rousseau260