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Thu, Nov 05



Rousseau - Masks and Theater

Pre-recorded conferences and round table broadcast live

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Lieu et horaire

Nov 05, 2020, 2:30 PM


À propos

Rousseau is so deeply shaken by a society all in dissimulation and hypocrisy that he never ceases to denounce its masks: “the man of the world”, he writes in Emile, “is entirely in his mask. Almost never being in himself, he is always a stranger to it, and ill at ease when he is forced to return to it. What he is is nothing, what he seems is everything to him”. He is, like Montaigne or La Rochefoucauld, an "unmask".

Is it for this reason that this follower of face-to-face assemblies thundered against the theatre? This is a thorny question where politics and aesthetics, but also anthropology and morality intersect. There is also, in Rousseau, a pedagogy of the mask because masks can frighten: “All children are afraid of masks. I begin by showing Emile a mask with a pleasing face; then someone applies this mask to his face in front of him: I start laughing, everyone laughs, and the child laughs like the others. Little by little I accustom him to less pleasant masks, and finally to hideous faces. If I have managed my gradation well, far from being frightened at the last mask, he will laugh at it like at the first. After that I no longer fear that we scare him with masks”.  At the time of the selfie and the imposed mask, Rousseau's reflection can inform our concerns.

To listen to the conferences:


Introductory remarks.

Martin Rueff, University of Geneva, J.-J. Rousseau Society.

Aesthetic perfectibility: Rousseau and the theater in relation to his idea of the history of the arts.

Maria Gullstam, University of Stockholm. 

The paradoxical place of the spectator in Rousseau's moral philosophy.

Johanna Lenne-Cornuez, Sorbonne University Paris. 

Round Table with: Bruno Bernardi, Guillaume Chenevière, Eric Eigenmann, Maria Gullstam, Alicia Hostein, Johanna Lenne-Cornuez and Martin Rueff.

In partnership with the Martin Bodmer Foundation and the Faculty of Letters of the University of Geneva. 

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