Recommended translation: Emile or On Education, ed. and trans. by Alan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1979). Originally published in 1762.
Published in 1762, Emile, or On Education, outlined a process of education that would prevent man from being corrupted by society and instead nurture his natural virtues and goodness. Part-treatise, part-novel, the work recounts the life of a fictional character named Emile, following his development during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. In the final section of the book, Rousseau describes the education of Emile’s wife, Sophie,which allowed Rousseau to elaborate on the differences between educating men and women, as well as the broader distinction between the genders. The work immediately sparked controversy and was banned across Europe.