- Artem D. Morozov
- A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
- Anticipating Jean-Jacques Rousseau: the state of nature in the novel ‟Letters from a Peruvian Woman” by Madame de Graffigny (1747)
- Morozov A.D. Anticipating Jean-Jacques Rousseau: the state of nature in the novel ‟Letters from a Peruvian Woman” by Madame de Graffigny (1747). Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2021, vol. 27, № 3, pp. 155–160 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2021-27-3-155-160
- Publish date:
The article deals with the novel ‟Letters from a Peruvian Woman” (Lettres d'une Péruvienne, 1747) by Madame de Graffigny, which anticipates many ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, including the notion of state of nature. The main character, a young Peruvian woman, who was taken away to France, embodies the concept of the ‟noble savage”. Unlike civilised Europeans she has high moral qualities, critically evaluates the institutions and customs of her time, and she aspires to the state of nature, though knowledge about this world did not make her happy. Madame de Graffigny uses the Peruvian theme according to the general interest in the age of Enlightenment in the Inca Empire, which was considered as idyllic society, organised under the laws of nature. She tries, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to display merits of savages and demerits of civilised Europeans. The intellectual influence of Madame de Graffigny and Jean-Jacques Rousseau on each other is confirmed by their personal contacts. As a result, we claim that the novel ‟Letters from a Peruvian Woman” was influenced by advanced philosophical ideas of the mid-18thcentury – this text stands at the origins of the concept of the ‟state of nature”, which eventually became one of the main terms of Rousseauism.
18th-century French literature, Madame de Graffigny, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, state of nature, noble savage, civilisation, Peruvians
- Literature list:
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- Artem D. Morozov, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5645-7646