Rousseau was always afraid that his works might be forged and that the Rousseau who reached future generations would be someone other than himself. Over a long period of time, he was most often in disagreement with Voltaire, except when they were both considered to be the most glorious or most reprehensible representatives of the Enlightenment.
Firstly here, through his correspondence and that of his printers and intermediaries, we follow his struggle to leave his works in safe hands, and then the long story, covering more than two and a half centuries, of the editions of his collected works in their many and controversial incarnations. Each edition obviously represents a financial investment but also an artistic, ideological, pedagogical, and even political, challenge.
This diachronic comparison draws together often inadequately catalogued material from a large number of libraries. There is, therefore, wide variety in terms of format, presentation, criticism and content. Finally, the 20th century saw the emergence of more scientific publications, the results of a large number of studies which culminated in the latest editions published to mark the author's tercentenary.