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Confessions (Oxford World's Classics) Reissue Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Once I got past the first chapter, I found I simply could not put it down. Admittedly, I had the extra advantage of knowing alot about the period in history and the life of Rousseau himself, but that wasn't the magic of the book. It was Rousseau himself who seemed to come alive through the pages. The tortured honesty on every page which excited and shocked me kept me up late every night until I was finished. There were times I simply had to put the book down, catch my breath a little, and think, "Oh My God! I can't believe it!" After, I realized I had finished one of the best reading experiences of my life. It ranked right up there with "The Red and The Black", "Les Mis", "Crime and Punishment" and "Anna Karenina". This book will live through the ages, I had read a hundred times but dismissed it. I only hope you are more trustful than I.
Rousseau, like Voltaire and Diderot, his contemporaries, could look upon his fellow man and himself with both a frown and a smile. He claims at the outset of the work that he is going to show you himself as he honestly is, warts and all. Don't believe him! But don't turn your back on him either, or dismiss him as a liar! You would be denying yourself the company of one of the most charming alluring reconteurs in all of literature, should you do so.
Monsieur Rousseau absolutely loves talking about himself. That sounds like a recipe for boredom, I know. But the trouble is, he's got such a fascinating subject. He knew everyone who was anyone in the 18th century. The women, in particular, were the actual movers and shakers of fin de siecle France. They were figures who presided over literary salons when there actually were literary salons. Madame de Stael is only one matron who looms large in the account. France was basically ruled by powerful and cunning women in that era. Rousseau was there, mentally recording every intimate bon mot and detail.
Then there is his infectious, expansive nature to win you over! Try as you might, self centered as the man is, you can't help liking the guy! He is the ultimate Romantic, in the best sense of the word. He believes in his soul that mankind is noble, that we were put here on earth to enact a divine plan for the benefit of all.Read more ›
P.S. I assume that all editions of the anonymous translation "revised and completed by A.S. Glover" are identical to this one.
What strikes many contemporary readers as somewhat whack about Rousseau is that he gave several of his own children up for adoption, thinking they would be better cared for by a charitable institution than at home. Although he never "officially" tied the knot with Thérèse Levasseur in a religious or civil marriage, he was at the very least what we would today call her common law husband.
As with Montaigne in his essay "Of Experience," we are introduced to Rousseau's painful urinary problems. He had to catheterize himself frequently to be able to urinate at all; and toward the end of the book, he talks about adopting an Armenian garb because he could no longer comfortably wear trousers.
Even more painful than the physical was that Rousseau appeared to be a trusting person who tried to make friends, but was frequently betrayed by them. Some of the betrayers include such famous contemporaries of the author's as Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert. It is possible that Rousseau had a strong streak of paranoia, as it is unlikely that so many of his ex-friends would form conspiracies against him.
Perhaps in no other book is there such stress laid on the perils of having to seek patronage rather than earning money on one's own merits. I know that, if I were living in 18th century France under the old régime, I, too, would have difficulties because of my own blunt personality.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rousseau, in this book, tells the story of his life from his birth to his retirement, a famous -- but hated -- author. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Classics Lover
Not quite finished with the book, but I think it is a remarkable glimpse into the inner workings of a brilliant mind. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Trish
Amazingly up to date and direct/honest. One would not expect this candor from a modern anyone.Published 6 months ago by howard miller
The Confessions will not appeal to everyone, but if you are like me who likes to temper my everyday reading with history and historical figures you will do well to tackle this one... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Annie
An all around solid translation of Rousseau's Confessions. However, a higher quality translation can be purchased for about 10$ extra.Published 14 months ago by Michael Rabinovich
Interesting book about an 18th century person. I purchased it so I could read along with our senior high school student and discuss it with him.Published 14 months ago by Maureen