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Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Rousseau’s Emile, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe: The Embarrassment of Choosing a Profession

Abstract : This article questions the determinants in choice of profession among the three main characters in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Rousseau’s Emile, or Education and Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. After analyzing their choices through the lens of human capital, it concludes, based on the characters’ innermost deliberations and trajectories, that a comparison of return on investment is not a key factor in choosing a particular type of training or profession. Choices made at the beginning of adulthood depend, first and foremost, on the self- representations of the characters, and on their desires and talents. Their education and apprenticeship give them access to a self- knowledge that, although disappointing some of their expectations and hopes, allows them to integrate happily into a world that requires everyone to engage in a profession useful to others.
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https://hal-paris1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03823184
Contributor : Claire Pignol Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 5:28:33 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 4, 2022 - 2:11:53 PM

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Claire Pignol. Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Rousseau’s Emile, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe: The Embarrassment of Choosing a Profession. Beatrice Schuchardt and Christian von Tschilschke (eds.). Protagonists of Production in Preindustrial European Literature (1700-1800). Male and Female Entrepreneurs, Craftspeople, and Workers, 28, Peter Lang Verlag, pp.149-161, 2022, Europäische Aufklärung in Literatur und Sprache, 978-3-631-88057-9. ⟨10.3726/b19778⟩. ⟨hal-03823184⟩

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