This translation first appeared in a privately printed edition in 1904 (the translator remains anonymous). With an Introduction by Derek Matravers. When it was first published in 1781, 'The Confessions' scandalised Europe with its emotional honesty and frank treatment of the author's sexual and intellectual development. Since then, it has had a more profound impact on European thought. Rousseau left posterity a model of the reflective life - the solitary, uncompromising individual, the enemy of servitude and habit and the selfish egoist who dedicates his life to a particular ideal. 'The Confessions' recreates the world in which he progressed from incompetent engraver to grand success; his enthusiasm for experience, his love of nature, and his uncompromising character make him an ideal guide to eighteenth-century Europe, and he was the author of some of the most profound work ever written on the relation between the individual and the state. AUTHOR: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) was, arguably, the most original, profound, and creative writer of the eighteenth century, but also the most controversial, and his work continues to divide opinion to this day. His 'Confessions' recreates the world in which he progressed from incompetent engraver to grand success; his enthusiasm for experience, his love of nature, and his uncompromising character make him an ideal guide to eighteenth-century Europe, and he was the author of some of the most profound work ever written on the relationship between the individual and the state.
Along with St. Augustine, Rousseau was promoted to me as one of the pioneers of the genre of autobiography, warts and all, as another reviewer of this book has put it.
Perhaps a third individual could be added, and maybe should be added, to this group: Benvenuto Cellini. I also have that book and have started but not finished it yet. When that is all done, maybe I could compare all three together.
Widely regarded as the first modern autobiography, "The Confessions" is an astonishing work of acute psychological insight. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) argued passionately against the inequality he believed to be intrinsic to civilized society. In his "Confessions" he relives the first fifty-three years of his radical life with vivid immediacy - from his earliest years, where we can see the source of his belief in the innocence of childhood, through the development of his philosophical and political ideas, his struggle against the French authorities and exile from France following the publication of "Emile". Depicting a life of adventure, persecution, paranoia, and brilliant achievement, "The Confessions" is a landmark work by one of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment, which was a direct influence upon the work of Proust, Goethe and Tolstoy among others.
I listened to the audio of this book and found it very interesting. I liked Rousseau's honesty and found him to be a very brilliant man. He had a very entertaining insight of human nature but I found him to be a bit bizarre at times. He was a truly fascinating person, and this classic work of autobiography and the Enlightenment period is not to be missed.