This landmark of the romantic movement not only greatly influenced the taste and morality of the eighteenth-century reading public but was also one of the most seminal and widely read literary works of its day. Seventy-two editions of the novel in French appeared between 1761 and 1800, and though Voltaire called its success one of the infamies of the century. It won for Rousseau a place beside the author of Candide as a director of European thought. The plot of the novel is one familiar to all literature; that of a fallen and regenerated woman. The first three parts are devoted to the celebration of the passionate, mutual love of Saint-Preux and Julie; the last three praise Julie's return to virtue as a faithful wife and dedicated mother. Professor McDowell's translation is precise but natural and conveys to the reader the distinctive flavor of Rousseau's style.
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Judith McDowell is Professor of English at the University of Texas at Arlington.Review:
“McDowell's translation is literally faithful and direct but shows judicious idiomatic license in places where Rousseau's style or the requirements of the English phrase impose options, on the translator. . . . The average reader will thank McDowell for eliminating some of Rousseau's verbose, repetitive digressions. A perceptive introduction offers valuable insights on the novel's importance and Rousseau's style.”
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