Recommended translation: Politics and the Arts: Letter to M. D'Alembert on the Theatre (Agora Paperback Edition); trans. by Alan Bloom (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1968) [First published by Agora Editions, 1960].
In October of 1758, Rousseau published the Letter to d’Alembert to refute Jean d’Alembert’s suggestion that Geneva establish a public theater. Rousseau’s essay critiqued the immorality of the Parisian theater and argued that a theater in Geneva would have a similarly corruptive effect on their society. Rousseau’s attack on the theater proved to be an important turning point in his career as he decisively broke with other Enlightenment thinkers over questions of religion, gender, and contemporary social culture.