Romanticism and Civilization: Love, Marriage, and Family in Rousseau’s Julie
Romanticism and Civilization examines romantic alternatives to modern life in Rousseau’s foundational novel Julie. It argues that Julie is a response to the ills of modern civilization, and that Rousseau saw that the Enlightenment’s combination of science and of democracy degraded human life by making it bourgeois. The bourgeois is man uprooted by science and attached to nothing but himself. He lives a commercial life and his materialism and calculations penetrate all aspects of his existence. He is neither citizen, nor family man, nor lover in any serious sense: his life is meaningless. Rousseau’s romanticism in Julie is an attempt to find connectedness through the sentiments of private life and wholeness through love, marriage, and family.