Vol. 9 (2020)
CONDIZIONI DI POSSIBILITÀ – Tra rito e mito: il Carnevale nella cultura europea

Le défi de l’authenticité. Pour une lecture carnavalesque de l’œuvre de Rousseau

Published December 31, 2020
  • authenticity, Carnival, derision, Rousseau, utopia


The article investigates the presence of the Bakhtinian category of Carnival in two texts by Rousseau, La Nouvelle Héloïse and Confessions, in order to highlight the ambivalence of his rhetoric and analyze his complex idea of authenticity. Despite his rejection of masks, dissimulation and mockery in order to stick to honesty and truth, Rousseau uses some carnivalesque elements such as the utopian vision of festivals or social criticism by means of scandal. In La Nouvelle Héloïse, the utopian time of the wine harvest differentiates from Carnival because it does not engender any real transgression of the hierarchical order. In the Confessions, by means of a hero-comic and scandalous representation of himself, Rousseau outlines a personal challenge


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