Committing Freedom: The Cultivation of Judgment in Rousseau's Emile and Austen's Pride and Prejudice by ProQuest


Soni examines two texts that not only diagnose the crisis of judgment but also seek to describe alternative practices which might restore a relative autonomy to judgment: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's quasi-novelistic pedagogical manual, Emile (1762). Both texts stage the process by which their protagonists learn how to judge, and both texts understand judgment as crucial to escaping the absorptive immediacy of sentimentalism. Perhaps most importantly, neither equates judgment simply with the adequation of thought to reality. For both, the autonomy of judgment, to the extent it is autonomous at all, is predicated on a certain fictive or imaginative capacity, and it is here that they have the most to learn from them.

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