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Raymond Trousson

Deux Neuchâtelois au concours de l’Académie française en 1790:
Isabelle de Charrière et François-Louis d’Escherny


Raymond Trousson’s article situates Isabelle de Charrière’s significant synthesis about Rousseau – her Eloge de Jean-Jacques Rousseau – within the context of the reception of his Confessions and within that of the competition launched by the “Académie française” in the early days of the Revolution. Trousson focuses more specifically on hers and another competitor’s contribution, that by François-Louis d’Escherny. Even though Charrière chose, eventually, to publish her text apart from the “Académie”, its competition originally spurred her writing. Charrière’s approach strikes us with its moderation and reasonableness at a time when Rousseau was either eulogized or vilified by one or the other camp. As Trousson writes: “her Rousseau was exclusively hers”. The comparison with d’Escherny enables one to measure how she compares with another admirer of Rousseau at the beginning of the revolutionary era. If the tone adopted by d’Escherny in his own Eloge differs significantly from hers, Trousson traces a similar movement in their later writings, from the hope presiding over each Eloge to the political disillusionment affecting both Charrière and d’Escherny as soon as 1792.

SvD, December 2012

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