ROUSSEAU'S THE CONFESSIONS (Special Complete and Unabridged Nook Edition) by JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Worldwide Bestseller) Author of Emile, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, On the Social Contract [NOOKBook] [NOOK Book]
ROUSSEAU'S THE CONFESSIONS
(Special Complete and Unabridged Nook Edition)
ALL 12 BOOKS IN A SINGLE VOLUME!
by JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU
The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Author of Emile, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, On the Social Contract
ABOUT THE BOOK
Confessions is the highly acclaimed bestselling autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from St. Augustine of Hippo's Confessions. Covering the first fifty-three years of Rousseau's life, up to 1765, it was completed in 1769, but not published until 1782, four years after Rousseau's death - even though Rousseau did read excerpts of his manuscript publicly at various salons and other meeting places.
Confessions were two distinct works, each part consisting of six books. Books I to VI were written between 1765 and 1767, and published in 1782; books VII to XII, was written in 1769-1770, and published in 1789. Rousseau alludes to a planned third part, but this was never completed. Though the book is somewhat flawed as an autobiography – particularly, Rousseau's dates are frequently off, and some events are out of order – Rousseau provides an account of the experiences that shaped his influential philosophy. For instance, the parts of his own education he liked best are clearly present in his account of ideal education, Emile: Or, On Education.
Rousseau's work is notable as one of the first major autobiographies. Prior to his writing the Confessions, the two great autobiographies were Augustine's own Confessions and Saint Teresa's Life of Herself. Both of these works, however, focused on the religious experiences of their authors. The Confessions was one of the first autobiographies in which an individual wrote of his own life mainly in terms of his worldly experiences and personal feelings. Rousseau recognized the unique nature of his work; it opens with the famous words:
I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent, and which, once complete, will have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray will be myself.
Not long after publication many other writers (such as Goethe, Wordsworth and De Quincey) wrote their own similarly-styled autobiographies. However, Leo Damrosch argues that Rousseau meant that it would be impossible to imitate his book, as nobody else would be like Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The Confessions is also noted for its detailed account of Rousseau's more humiliating and shameful moments. For instance, Rousseau recounts an incident when, while a servant, he covered up his theft of a ribbon by framing a young girl - who was working in the house - for the crime. In addition, Rousseau explains the manner in which he disposes of his five illegitimate children, whom he had with his world-wide known companion, Therese Levasseur.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
"I HAVE begun on a work which is without precedent, whose accomplishment will have no imitator. I propose to set before my fellow-mortals a man in all the truth of nature; and this man shall be myself.
I have studied mankind and know my heart; I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature has acted rightly or wrongly in destroying the mold in which she cast me, can only be decided after I have been read.
I will present myself, whenever the last trumpet shall sound, before the Sovereign Judge with this book in my hand, and loudly proclaim, "Thus have I acted; these were my thoughts; such was I. With equal freedom and veracity have I related what was laudable or wicked, I have concealed no crimes, added no virtues; and if I have sometimes introduced superfluous ornament, it was merely to occupy a void occasioned by defect of memory: I may have supposed that certain, which I only knew to be probable, but have never asserted as truth, a conscious falsehood. Such as I was, I have declared myself; sometimes vile and despicable, at others, virtuous, generous, and sublime; even as Thou hast read my inmost soul: Power Eternal! assemble round Thy throne an innumerable throng of my fellow-mortals, let them listen to my confessions, let them blush at my depravity, let them tremble at my sufferings; let each in his turn expose with equal sincerity the failings, the wanderings of his heart, and if he dare, aver, I was better than that man."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a major Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.
His novel, Émile: or, On Education is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel, Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse, was of great importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings: his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker were among the pre-eminent examples of the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, featuring an increasing focus on subjectivity and introspection that has characterized the modern age. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought and make a strong case for democratic government and social empowerment.
Rousseau was also a successful composer and made important contributions to music as a theorist. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophes among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.