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Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau Review

Title: Confessions

Author: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

First published January 1, 1773

676 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780192822758 (ISBN10: 0192822756)

Rating: 3.59


Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions is a captivating memoir that takes readers on a journey through his life. From his modest beginnings in Geneva to his rise as a renowned philosopher and novelist in Paris, Rousseau shares his experiences of fame, persecution, and exile.

Through his unique perspective, he delves into the complex relationship between his true self and the various social roles he played. This book offers profound insights into the nature of autobiography, as Rousseau grapples with the challenge of putting his personal existence into words.

With a mixture of vulnerability, defiance, and detachment, Confessions is a remarkable exploration of the human experience.

About the Author

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a significant figure in the history of philosophy due to his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology, as well as his influence on later thinkers. However, Rousseau himself had a negative view of philosophy and philosophers.

He believed that they were rationalizing self-interest, apologizing for tyranny, and playing a role in alienating individuals from their natural impulse to compassion. His primary concern was how to preserve human freedom in a world where people are becoming increasingly dependent on each other.

This concern had two dimensions: material and psychological, with the latter being more important. In the modern world, people derive their sense of self from the opinions of others, which Rousseau saw as destructive to individual authenticity and freedom.

He explored two routes to achieving and protecting freedom: constructing political institutions that allow for the co-existence of free and equal citizens and fostering autonomy through child development and education. Despite this, Rousseau remained pessimistic about humanity’s ability to escape from a dystopia of alienation, oppression, and unfreedom.

In addition to his philosophical contributions, Rousseau was also a composer, music theorist, pioneer of modern autobiography, novelist, and botanist. His appreciation for nature and emphasis on feeling and emotion influenced the romantic movement.

His interests and concerns in these other fields illuminated his philosophical commitments and arguments.

Editoral Review

Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a classic and influential work that delves into the author’s deepest thoughts and emotions. Originally published in 1773, the book is written in the form of an autobiography that details the experiences, struggles, and desires of Rousseau.

Considered a significant landmark in the history of the novel, Confessions is one of the earliest examples of the modern psychological novel.

The author, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, was a prolific philosopher, writer, and musician of the Enlightenment era.

Born in Switzerland in 1712, Rousseau’s works focused on topics such as individual freedom, education, and politics. Confessions is a personal account of his life, and it stands as a primary source for understanding the mind of the author himself.

The book is structured into twelve “books,” each of which covers a different phase of Rousseau’s life. He does not shy away from revealing intimate details of his life, including his relationships, flaws, and insecurities.

Confessions provides an unfiltered view of his inner thoughts and feelings, allowing readers to connect with his experiences on a deeper level. Rousseau’s writing style is eloquent and passionate, which adds to the overall emotional intensity of the book.

The themes explored in Confessions include love, self-discovery, betrayal, and forgiveness. While some readers may find the book slow-paced due to its introspective nature, others will appreciate its depth and introspection.

One of the notable aspects of the book is its historical significance. Confessions highlights the cultural, social, and philosophical trends of the eighteenth century.

It examines the role of the individual in society and the impact of social and cultural constraints on personal freedom. While Confessions is a remarkable work, it is not without flaws.

Some critics have questioned the accuracy of Rousseau’s account, while others have found the language too flowery and verbose. However, despite these criticisms, the book remains a masterpiece of literature.

In conclusion, Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the inner workings of the human mind. It is a classic that has stood the test of time and continues to be relevant today.

The book offers a unique insight into the personal life of one of the most significant thinkers of the Enlightenment, and it is a valuable source for understanding the intellectual, cultural, and social trends of the era. I would strongly recommend Confessions to anyone interested in philosophy, literature, or history.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.