Adèle et Théodore

Title Adèle et Théodore, ou Lettres sur l'éducation; contenant tous les principes relatifs aux trois différens plans d'éducation des princes, des jeunes personnes, & des hommes
Date 1781
Place Paris
Publisher M. Lambert & F.J. Baudouin
Type Section in a pedagogical work
Physical Description 12°, 3 vol., pp. 519, 491, 536.
Language French
Content National characters and manners
General discussion of the utility of travel
Instructions on health during travels
Moral considerations of travel
Advice on educational benefits of travel
Advice on note taking and writing travels
NotesFemale author.

Madame de Genlis's 'Adèle et Théodore' is an epistolary educational novel, written partly as a reaction to Rousseau's 'Emile'. It develops three programs of education - for princes, young men, and children - and all three of these contain travel advice. Particularly interesting is the travel of young Adèle and Théodore, who are to travel for 1.5 years (extended to 2 during the travel itself), aged respectively 13 and 14. Travel at this young age may be inspired by Locke, to whom Genlis makes numerous references.

'Adèle et Théodore' is a rare (and possibly unique) case in the apodemic tradition of a text which develops the idea of educational travel for girls. This may be a reaction to Rousseau, who contrasted Emile's travels so powerfully to the stationary Sophie in his 'Emile'. Nonetheless, there is some gender segregation; while Genlis portrays the Baroness d’Almane as heavily involved in Adele's education, the education of Theodore falls to his father. Through Genlis's program of education the children read widely, become accustomed to live with a lack of comfort, learn to show respect for other ways of life, and both make sketches and write a journal.

This book inspired an entire literature of children's travels, mostly written by female authors, a tradition that stretches all the way to Augustine Fouillée's the 'Tour de la France par deux enfants' (1877), a work which was immediately translated into Dutch and English. More recently a French critical edition was published by Isabelle Brouard-Arends (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006), while an English critical edition was published by Gillian Dow (Pickerint and Chatto, 2007).

Master Copy: Bibliothèque Nationale de France Paris R-23239-40-41

Digital Copy Web Link