Charlatan philosopher and wise enchantress: Seduction and authority in eighteenth-century French discourses on happiness

Temple-Smith, Annabel (2006) Charlatan philosopher and wise enchantress: Seduction and authority in eighteenth-century French discourses on happiness. Cultural and Social History, 3 3: 315-324. doi:10.1191/1478003806cs068oa


Author Temple-Smith, Annabel
Title Charlatan philosopher and wise enchantress: Seduction and authority in eighteenth-century French discourses on happiness
Journal name Cultural and Social History   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1478-0038
1478-0046
Publication date 2006-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1191/1478003806cs068oa
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 3
Issue 3
Start page 315
End page 324
Total pages 10
Editor A. Shepard
A. McElligott
Place of publication London, England
Publisher Berg Publishers
Language eng
Subject C1
420206 French
751001 Languages and literature
Abstract In late 1757 Rousseau wrote a series of moral letters on happiness to Mme Sophie d'Houdetot. He distinguished himself and his teaching from the empty babble and hypocrisy prevalent in 'the century of philosophy and reason'. Philosophers were charlatans peddling happiness. This paper shows how Rousseau's critique of philosophy reworks the standard image of charlatans in the public square. It highlights a questioning and a gendering of reason implicit in the issue of credentials for teaching happiness. Against the dubious authority of the philosopher, Rousseau casts Sophie as the wise enchantress whose gentle influence inspires her tutor. He places moral authority outside the public square in a private, feminine domain. Rousseau's ideal woman cannot be a tainted charlatan like him. Yet the very opposition puts her in her place. (Author abstract)
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2007 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 18:10:34 EST