Confessions

Paperback | June 8, 2008

byJean-jacques RousseauEditorPatrick ColemanTranslated byAngela Scholar

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'No one can write a man's life except himself.' In his Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau tells the story of his life, from the formative experience of his humble childhood in Geneva, through the achievement of international fame as novelist and philosopher in Paris, to his wanderings as an exile, persecuted by governments and alienated from theworld of modern civilization. In trying to explain who he was and how he came to be the object of others' admiration and abuse, Rousseau analyses with unique insight the relationship between an elusive but essential inner self and the variety of social identities he was led to adopt. The bookvividly illustrates the mixture of moods and motives that underlie the writing of autobiography: defiance and vulnerability, self-exploration and denial, passion, puzzlement, and detachment. Above all, Confessions is Rousseau's search, through every resource of language, to convey what he despairsof putting into words: the personal quality of one's own existence.

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'No one can write a man's life except himself.' In his Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau tells the story of his life, from the formative experience of his humble childhood in Geneva, through the achievement of international fame as novelist and philosopher in Paris, to his wanderings as an exile, persecuted by governments and alienated...

Patrick Coleman, Professor of French, University of California, Los Angeles.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:720 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 1.22 inPublished:June 8, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199540039

ISBN - 13:9780199540037

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Making of a Philosopher “I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent and which, once complete, will have no imitator,” it is with these words Rousseau begins his autobiography, the first of its kind. A boy unlucky from his birth since his mother died giving him life, the reason why his father never could forgive him. His honesty makes us, mere mortals, realise our innermost insecurity; his piercingly painful tale gives us confidence; his purple passages is not merely a writing style, but comes straight from his heart. In this story of his life is moulded all the questions have haunted mankind for centuries: reason to be good, the nature of inequality and liberty, desirability or inevitability of government, supernatural forces. His genius lies in the fact that he was not a genius, but a forlorn human being trying to make sense of this world. A self-taught philosopher who immersed himself in mathematics, literature, politics, economics, arts, and sciences. Now I can understand why Rousseau had been an inspiration for writers like Tolstoy, as he wrote: “I felt that writing for a livelihood would soon have stifled my genius and killed my talent, which lay less in my pen than in my heart and arose solely from a proud and high-minded way of thought, which alone could nourish it. Nothing vigorous, nothing great, can flow from an entirely venal pen.” This is not an ordinary autobiography. Everything he wrote he wrote from the very bottom of his heart, which was always in search of his soul.
Date published: 2013-01-26