Claire Loves Julie: Reading the Story of Women's Friendship in "La Nouvelle Héloïse"

Hypatia 9 (3):19 - 45 (1994)
Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse is two novels in one: a story of wifely virtue and a counterstory of women's friendship. Whereas the virtue story exemplifies what feminist readers since Mary Wollstonecraft have considered to be the most oppressive of Rousseau's prescriptions for women, the friendship counterstory questions the ethical foundations and social manifestations of the model of patriarchal authority that Rousseau ordinarily defends. In this essay, I read the novel with an eye for both stories and the tension between them.
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