Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)

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9780192822758: Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
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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 the world 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 book vividly 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 despairs of putting into words: the personal quality of one's own existence.

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Rousseau's ideas have influenced almost every major political development of the last two hundred years, and are crucial to an understanding of phenomena as diverse as the French Revolution, modern educational theory, and the contemporary environmental movement. This is reason enough to draw attention to his startlingly alive autobiography. But the Confessions is also among the greatest self-portraits in world literature -which suggests, even more than the impact of Rousseau's thought, the extent to which the very high opinion he had of himself was ultimately justified.

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Rousseau's ideas have influenced almost every major political development of the last two hundred years, and are crucial to an understanding of phenomena as diverse as the French Revolution, modern educational theory, and the contemporary environmental movement.

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