Names. A new approach to the figurative writing in Rousseau’s <I>Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse</I>
Lately, the fictional names of the letter writers in Rousseau’s novel seem to have ceased tempting scientific research in an illuminating way. Mistakenly regarded as negligible, they remain behind the predominance of the pronouns. And yet, it is worth giving them a closer look since they might turn out to be not only fictional but also figural and thus to be the key to a deeper understanding of the allegoric dimensions of Rousseau’s poetics. In the essay presented here, intertextuality is serving as the contributing structural principle in the attempt to make them reappear as meaningful signs. It is the very attempt of an extraction of secrets so obviously put on display by the author, so well forgotten by the reader. The degree of difficulty of revealing those secrets is determined by the insight that the process of reading in itself is always belated; therefore, the attempt at entirely ‘getting’ a literary text, considering it in its totality, is always futile. Nevertheless, that is the challenge.