Lyon dissertation no. 10 - Turlin

Title Lyon dissertation no. 10 - Turlin
in Extrait des discours qui ont concouru pour le prix que l'académie des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de la ville de Lyon a adjugé à M. Turlin,... sur cette question : Les Voyages peuvent-ils être considérés comme un moyen de perfectionner l'éducation ?
Date 1788
Place Lyon
Publisher A. de La Roche
Type Academic prize contest entry
Physical Description 8°, pp. 106.
Language French
Content Moral considerations of travel
General discussion of the utility of travel
Advice on educational benefits of travel
Criticism of Travel
NotesCriticism of travel.

Turlin triumphed at the 1787 academic prize contest held by the Academy of Lyon with a dissertation claiming that travel cannot be beneficial in education. It written anonymously for the contest, but the author's was given when it was chosen as winner, and then printed - with very slight modifications, as the jury's comments indicate. As the internal communication of the jury, as well as their official comments, clearly show, they awarded the prize to Turlin not because they agreed with him, but almost despite its content; but Turlin's was considerably superior in stylistic and rhetorical ability.

Turlin opens his texts with the spectacular comment: "Travels are good and are to be forbidden" - in the current "perverted century", even the best things are corrupted. The entire dissertation discusses why no young man can be ready to travel: accumulating knowledge is illusory, grasping the world is beyond man's capacity. Daniel Roche ('Humeurs vagabondes', 86.) considers that Turlin's victory reflects the provincial academies leaning towards an 'acceptable rousseauism'; he also considers the 'perverted century' Turlin criticizes as a rousseauistic cliché. However, Turlin comes from the Jansenist hotbed that is the Parlement of Paris; and his criticism of present times can be also read as a sign of pre-revolutionary crisis. Turlin's dissertation occurs pp. 51-96 in the 1788 edition.

The print edition consists of a version of the jury's report, excerpts from Mathieu's dissertation, a near-complete version of Turlin's dissertation, and comments from the jury on both.

Master Copy: BNF R-21082

Texts in this Edition
Digital Copy Web Link
Copy of the Bibliothèque de la ville de Lyon.