|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
H. R. Keller. The Readers Digest of Books.
|Jean Jacques Rousseau (17121778)|
|Émile, by Jean Jacques Rousseau, the most famous of pedagogic romances, was composed in 1762. Its immediate effect was to call down on his head the denunciations of the Archbishop of Paris, who found him animated by a spirit of insubordination and revolt, and to exile him for some years from France. Its lasting effect was to lay the foundation of modern pedagogy. Due to the suggestion of a mother who asked advice as to the training of a child, it was the expansion of his opinions and counsels; the framework of a story sustaining an elaborate system of elementary education. Émile, its diminutive hero, is reared apart from other children under a tutor, by a long series of experiments conducted by the child himself, often with painful consequences. Little by little, his childish understanding comes to comprehend at first-hand the principles of physics, mechanics, gardening, property, and morals. At last the loosely woven plot leads to the marriage of Émile with Sophie, a girl who has been educated in a similar fashion. Arbitrary, but always ingenious and stimulating, the experiments introduced are veritable steps of knowledge. As object-lessons, the altercation with the gardener and the visit to the mountebank are unsurpassed in the simplicity with which the complex ideas of property and magnetism are presented to a developing intelligence. From the hints contained in Émile, Basedow, Pestalozzi, and Fröbel drew their inspiration and laid the broad foundations of modern elementary education. Unsystematic, sometimes impracticable, full of suggestion, it invests the revolutionary ideas of its author with his customary literary charm.|| 1|