The Solitary Self: Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Exile and Adversity / Edition 2

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In this final volume of his masterful biographical trilogy, Maurice Cranston traces the last tempestuous years of Rousseau's life. Unerringly faithful to the evidence, Cranston's skillful narrative allows Rousseau and his contemporaries to speak with renewed vigor and undistorted voice. From his brilliant authorship of the Confessions, the Dialogues, and the Reveries to his ill-fated sojourn in Britain, from his infamous public quarrel with David Hume to his clandestine return to France, from his unsettled wanderings to his eventual death in 1778--these and other critical events in Rousseau's fading career are detailed in this sympathetic yet balanced portrait.

In 1762, with the condemnation of Émile and The Social Contract, harried by both church and state, Jean-Jacques Rousseau fled Paris, seeking refuge in Switzerland, Prussia, and England. Deemed a social outcast and beset with feelings of persecution and abuse, not wholly unwarranted, the philosopher turned in despair to the production of autobiographical works intended to reveal his essential innocence and integrity. Through this bitter introspection, Rousseau transformed his misery and solitude into some of the most enduring literature of his time.

A monumental achievement, the trilogy provides generations of readers with the definitive account of Rousseau's turbulent life. Marked by Cranston's characteristic elegance, authority, and grace, this volume, like Jean-Jacques and The Noble Savage, presents "Rousseau beautifully in the round, and leaves him just as extraordinary as ever" John Weightman, The Sunday Independent.

An acclaimed scholar and recipient of Britain's James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Maurice Cranston 1902-1995 served as Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics. Drawing upon the biographer's published and unpublished papers, Sanford Lakoff, professor emeritus of political science at the University of California-San Diego, brought the manuscript into final form.

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Editorial Reviews

What Cranston has done is not so much to set the record straight as to tell us what the record is.
Times Literary Supplement
Cranston not only recreates for his readers a rounded view of Rousseau himself, he sets it firmly in the social and political context of Europe's ancien régime. The result is an engrossing work of history.
New Statesman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226118659
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 267
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates
1. A Mixed Welcome
2. Môtiers
3. A Gospel Christian
4. The Tocsin of Sedition
5. 'Marmot' and 'Bear'
6. The Lapidation
7. A Celebrity Acclaimed
8. Reversal of Fortune
Epilogue: Rousseau Then and Now
Chronology of Rousseau's Life and Work
List of Principal Abbreviations Used in the Notes

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