chapter  2
The Paradoxes in Rousseau's Emile
Pages 17

Rousseau's Emile, in spite of or because of its literary rather than philosophical form of presentation, has proved to be one of the most influential works in educational thought. Not only did it directly influence educationalists such as Pestalozzi and Froebel, but the writings of modern radicals such as Illich and Reimer resonate with ideas which were much more graphically presented by Rousseau. There are few who read Emile from cover to cover; for it is a long and discursive book. But it abounds in aphorisms and perceptive pronouncements which have been strung together in countless collections on the history of educational thought. It is the appeal of the aphorisms and the attitudes which constitutes the spell of Rousseau rather than the overall thrust of the book which is stoical rather than radical.