French Botanists Who Influenced Rousseau
While there were many French botanists, a select few were of special significance to Rousseau in his botanical studies and writings, although not all the books of these authors were known to have been in his library. Among these botanists is Sebastien Vaillant (pictured left), who wrote Botanicon Parisiense (1723). Rousseau owned the 1727 and 1743 editions, and the work is frequently mentioned in Rousseau's writings. With beautiful and detailed illustrations, this book is "the reference" for plants found in the vicinity of Paris.
Gouan, Antoine (1733-1821). Flora Monspeliaca... Lyon: Benedicti Duplain, 1765. Rousseau both had this book in his library and exchanged several letters with this French botanist of Montpellier and refers to his work in correspondence with others.
Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de (1656-1708). Institutiones Rei Herbariae. Parisiis: e Typographia Regia, 1700-03. Tournefort's three-volume Institutiones Rei Herbariae was known to have been in Rousseau's library. With beautiful and detailed illustrations that facilitate plant identification, this book had been "the reference" of French botanists before the introduction of Linnaeus' method. Rousseau commented: "[Tournefort] was the first to arrange the entire vegetal realm systematically; and in part reforming nomenclature, combined it through his new genera with those of [Caspar] Bauhin (CW, 96)."
La Tourrette, Marc Antoine Louis Claret de Fleurieu de (1729-1793). Demonstrations Elementaires de Botanique... Lyon: Jean-Marie Bruyset, 1766. La Tourrette's work also was owned by Rousseau; and they frequently corresponded. In addition, he collected plants with La Tourrette at Grande Chartreuse in France. Although Rousseau respected La Tourrette and thought his book was good, his opinion was that "...it follows the systems of Tournefort and of Linnaeus, whereas we need an elementary system for beginning the study of plants prior to taking up the great systems of classifying them (CW, 205)."
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