~Madame de Stäel
of the Restoration
of Victor Hugo
of Printed Materials
Viewed by Foreigners
~Parisians Viewed by
a brilliant French philosopher and writer of the 18th century, did
not believe that exchanges of social and intellectual discourse
could possibly take place in salons led by women. He
argued that in the salons where women dominated, men would
easily fall into the trap of trying to please the women.
In such a setting, how could any serious conversation take place?
what can be the temper of the soul of a man who is uniquely occupied
with the important business of amusing women and who spends his
entire life doing for them what they ought to do for us?"
Émile and His Views on Education for Women
In his writings, such
Rousseau put forth specific functions for French women of
the era. However, in his eyes, the role of the salonnière
did not fit into his plan for education.
In Émile, Rousseau's
novelistic book on
education, the author argued the need to develop a system of
education that would allow only men to "function
in an imperfect world while remaining true to his natural character,
untainted by outside corruption (Morgenstern,
In Rousseau's ideal
system of education,
have two roles to play in helping their husbands function in an
"imperfect world." (Neither role, of course, included
becoming a salonnière or obtaining an education.)
- As wives, they
serve to socialize and teach their husbands to function within
- As mothers, they
serve to protect their children from the horrors of the world
and raise them with good ethics and virtues.
us now enter the Salons
of the Enlightenment and meet the salonnière
Madame Geoffrin. Here we will discover Geoffrin's
salon, a noble institution that stimulated social and intellectual
exchange during the Enlightenment.