L’Antiquité politique de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, entre exemples et modèles by Flora Champy

Feb. 1, 2022
Flora Champy

Flora Champy is an Assistant Professor of French, focusing on eighteenth-century French political literature and philosophy.  

In her first book, Flora Champy argues that the pervasive presence of ancient examples in Rousseau’s political oeuvre is not a call to direct imitation. An attentive study of his rewriting of classical and contemporary sources reveals how he deliberately turns traditional exemplarity into a critical tool to assess emerging social theories. Early on, Rousseau’s interest moves away from illustrious exemplary figures to focus on the city-state understood as a model of political community. Sparta and the Roman Republic in particular offer two complementary figurations of an essential connection between moral education and civic activity. By emphasizing the Roman model, Rousseau puts the question of duration at the center of his political theory. How can political authority retain legitimacy through the eventfulness of history?