|[a] Chinon RF|
And, just for the record, regular readers probably already know that I will post the actual lectures not long after they have been given. This week's posts focus on the preparation process, and tackling Allan Bloom's arguments should get your blood pumping. Today's text comes from the introduction to Bloom's translation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's educational and cultural classic, Emile. The Emile focuses on a particular kind of "do-over"—one that argues for a fundamental rethinking of education and human nature. Take a look at a few paragraphs from Bloom's introduction.
|[b] Natural RF|
I didn't have a clue about Emile. Not a clue.
Even after reading Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind and his translation of the Republic, I did not think about Emile. The only Emiles I knew were my great uncle from Hendrum, Minnesota, on the one hand, and the great sociologist (Durkheim), on the other. Little did I know that a fictional lad in the eighteenth century would be raised (in the world of Rousseau's peculiar narrative) almost from birth by his tutor, Jean Jacques. The tutor's goal was to take that little baby from the bosom of his nurse and then raise him to be natural man—someone capable of living like a latter-day Robinson Crusoe in the salons of Paris.
|[c] Ebb/flow RF|
Let's read a few paragraphs from Allan Bloom's introduction to the Emile. Note especially the connections to ancients such as Plato, on the one hand, and Rousseau's contemporaries such as Kant and Schiller. Note as well Bloom's advice about tackling the book's arguments. They're stories. Stories. Rousseau got that. It is riveting and even breathless read...in its own way. Enjoy a few paragraphs from Bloom and then, by all means, get yourself a copy of the Emile. If you read French, terrific. If you don't, get a copy of Bloom's translation.
It will change your life, just like Jean Jacques, tutor and author, changed little Emile's.
|[d] Healing education RF|
|[e] Synoptic RF|
|[f] Civil society (now) RF|
|[g] Extraordinary RF|
Emile consists of a series of stories, and its teaching comes to light only when one has grasped each of these stories in its complex detail and artistic unity. Interpretation of this "novel," the first Bildungsroman, requires a union of l'esprit de géométrie and l'esprit de finesse, a union which it both typifies and teaches. It is impossible here to do more than indicate the plan of the work and tentatively describe its general intention in the hope of indicating the nature of this work whose study is so imperative for an understanding of the human possibility.
|[h] Henri au naturel RF|