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The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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The Confessions (1784)

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,356193,913 (3.52)1 / 82
  1. 10
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius by Leo Damrosch (wildbill)
  2. 10
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau pedagoog een introductie by I. Van Der Velde (gust)
  3. 00
    'Tis Folly to Be Wise by Lion Feuchtwanger (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die Bekenntnisse sollten erst nach dem Tode von Rousseau veröffentlicht werden. Der Roman von Feuchtwanger behandelt den Zeitraum kurz vor dem Tode und danach.
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English (17)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A model of self analysis, engagingly endless. The self doubt of the exceptional is reassuring. Though the translator is the same, my copy's cover is a detail of a drawing of Rousseau by Maurice Quentin-de-la-Tour. ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
Book Description
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.

My Review
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. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
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. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
It's a toss-up which book is worse, Confessions, or Crime and Punishment, which was about a whiny spoiled brat neglecting to notice how everyone around him is breaking their back for his benefit - or notices, but doesn't care. Here, Rousseau notices and claims to care, but calls them suckers for doing so. ( )
  Joanna.Conrad | Nov 4, 2015 |
[From The Summing Up, The Literary Guild of America, 1938, iv, 10:]

Rousseau in the course of his Confessions narrates incidents that have profoundly shocked the sensibility of mankind. By describing them so frankly he falsified his values and so gave them in his book a greater importance than they had in his life. There were events among a multitude of others, virtuous or at least neutral, that he omitted because they were too ordinary to seem worth recording. There is a sort of man who pays no attention to his good actions, but is tormented by his bad ones. This is the type that most often writes about himself. He leaves out his redeeming qualities and so appears only weak, unprincipled and vicious.

[From Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1940, pp. 65-67:]

Then I come to a very important work – The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It is a book that few, I should imagine, will read without interest, though many will read it with disgust. But if you find the study of human nature the most absorbing of all studies, you cannot fail to find this book rewarding, for here you have a man who has laid bare his soul with candour. He does not, like many who have written of themselves, merely exhibit frailties which after all are rather engaging; he does not hesitate to show himself ungrateful, unscrupulous, dishonest, base and mean. You can have little sympathy with him, since he is despicable; and yet such is his love of natural beauty, so tender is his sentiment, so miraculous his narrative gift that, however great your repulsion, you are fascinated; and I don’t know who, if he is completely honest with himself, can read the confessions of this weak-willed, petulant, vain and miserable creature without saying to himself: “After all, is there so much to choose between him and me? If the whole truth were known about me, should I, who turn away shocked from these revelations, cut so pretty a figure?” So I warn you, I think no one can read this book without some disturbance to the self-complacency which is our chief defence in our dealing with this difficult world.
1 vote WSMaugham | Jun 17, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean-Jacques Rousseauprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cohen, J.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crocker, Lester G.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gagnebin, BernardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glover, William SharpIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hedouin, EdmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koenig, Catherinesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallory, W. ConynghamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matravers, DerekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matravers, DerekIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pontalis, Jean-BertrandPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raymond, MarcelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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1712-1719 I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent, and which, once complete, will have no imitator.
Quotations
I love to busy myself about trifles, to begin a hundred things and not finish one of them, to come and go as my fancy bids me, to change my plan every moment, to follow a fly in all its circlings, to try and uproot a rock to see what is underneath, eagerly to begin on a ten-years task and to give it up after ten minutes: in short, to fritter away the whole day inconsequentially and incoherently, and to follow nothing but the whim of the moment.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the complete, original Confessions, only combine with single volumes or complete sets, and not with individual volumes of multi-volumes versions, selection of excerpts, or study guides.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014044033X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Only a few popular autobiographies existed before philosopher, author, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) published his Confessions. Rousseau wrote treatises on education and politics as well as novels and operas, and as one of the most influential and controversial of the Enlightenment thinkers, he inspired the leaders of the French Revolution. His memoir is regarded as the first modern autobiography, in which the writer defined his life mainly in terms of his worldly experiences and personal feelings. These memoirs constitute the main source of Rousseau's reputation as a leader in the transition from eighteenth-century reason to nineteenth-century romanticism. His emphasis on the effects of childhood experiences anticipates the psychology of Sigmund Freud, and his conviction that the individual is worthy of account forms a major contribution to progressive social and political thought. The book has inspired many imitations in autobiography, fiction, and poetry, and it has influenced the works of Proust, Goethe, Tolstoy, and countless others.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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