37. Jean-Jacques Rosseau - Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloise (1760)
I keep forgetting to update this... I am already reading Anton Reiser some 14 books after this, but I have to come back. I really should do this more often so the books are fresher in my mind.
In the process I have read about four Rosseau books, this one being the first, and there is something I learned. Rosseau is never as interesting as when talking about himself, which is not the case here.
This books was a phenomenon of huge proportions, huge popularity, particularly among ladies in the late 1700s, but I don't know if it is the translation's fault or something, but it feels particularly dry and actually quite dull. For epistolary romance novels I'd go for Richardson any day. Yes, I'd rather read Clarissa again. But this is the book which made Rosseau the celebrity he became, and so, if only for that it deserves its place in history.
The novel’s subtitle points to the history of Heloise and Pierre Abélard, a medieval story of passion and Christian renunciation. The novel was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
A passage from the book: