Come Valentine’s Day, we wish to highlight Rousseau’s epistolary novels, most notably his sentimental work La Nouvelle Héloïse which became a predecessor to modern Romantic novels, and was a bestseller back in its days. As for Rousseau himself, he never married, but did manage to father a significant number of children.
His writings however, have been interpreted even in the realm of love as a guide to finding happiness. The long running dating show for farmers, “Boer zoekt vrouw”, is based on Rousseau’s philosophies on “the natural state” in which he praises the simple life as the source of joy and satisfaction. In this Dutch television programme, the love-hungry farmers all work side by side in nature, away from the morally corrupt city of selfishness and greed while trying to win each other’s hearts. Can this be the key to eternal bliss?