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Emile, or On Education

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(1762)



Translated from the French by Barbara Foxley



A treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man. Rousseau considered this to be the "best and most important of all my writings". The section of the book entitled "Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar," caused Emile to be banned in Paris and Geneva and was publicly burned in 1762, the year of its first publication. During the French Revolution, the work served as the inspiration for what became a new national system of education.



It is enough for me that, wherever men are born into the world, my suggestions with regard to them may be carried out, and when you have made them what I would have them be, you have done what is best for them and best for other people. If I fail to fulfil this promise, no doubt I am to blame; but if I fulfil my promise, it is your own fault if you ask anything more of me, for I have promised you nothing more.--from the Author's Preface


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