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Isabelle de Charrière and Jean-Jacques Rousseau


The careers of Isabelle de Charrière and Jean-Jacques Rousseau show significant parallels. Both were richly talented writers active in the same fields, not only those of literature and pedagogy, but also in music. As for the latter, both suffered from insufficient musical training, which proved a severe handicap. In spite of this, both Charrière and Rousseau tried their hand at composing. Not only did they produce chamber music, Charrière and Rousseau aimed at the most ambitious of all vocal genres: opera. This article is a first exploration of these parallels, with as central question: why had Rousseau lasting success in Paris with his opera Le Devin du village (1752), while Charrière’s operas remained private projects? A comparison of these two authors may help shed light on this question.

SvD, July 2008

  • Publications > Volumes WomenWriters > Isabelle de Charrière > Helen Metzelaar

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