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The Confessions and Correspondence, Including the Letters to Malesherbes
Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Christopher Kelly, trans.; Christopher Kelly, ed.; Roger D. Masters, ed.; Peter G. Stillman, ed.

Collected Writings of Rousseau

1995 • 736 pp. 2 illus. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4"
Philosophy / Biography / Memoir / French Literature & Language

$65.00 Paperback, 978-0-87451-836-8
$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-288-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Trans. from the French

“Enhanced by revealing slices of the correspondence . . . an exemplary introduction and notes . . . An English translation of the French classic has to bear comparison with J. M. Cohen's Penguin Classics version of 1953. Kelley passes that test with flying colors . . . Kelly's will certainly endure as the work of reference in English, as Bernard Gagnebin's Pléiade edition of 1959 provides the basic reference in French.” —Civilization

A new English translation, the first to be based on the definitive French Pléiade edition.

When Rousseau first read his Confessions to a 1770 gathering in Paris, reactions varied from admiration of his candor to doubts about his sanity to outrage. Indeed, Rousseau's intent and approach were revolutionary. As one of the first attempts at autobiography, the Confessions' novelty lay not in just its retelling the facts of Rousseau's life, but in its revelation of his innermost feelings and its frank description of the strengths and failings of his character.

Based on his doctrine of natural goodness, Rousseau intended the Confessions as a testing ground to explore his belief that, as Christopher Kelly writes, "people are to be measured by the depth and nature of their feelings." Re-created here in a meticulously documented new translation based on the definitive Pléiade edition, the work represents Rousseau's attempt to forge connections among his beliefs, his feelings, and his life. More than a "behind-the-scenes look at the private life of a public man," Kelly writes, "the Confessions is at the center of Rousseau's philosophical enterprise."

Reviews / Endorsements:

“Kelly's careful translation, based on the latest French critical edition, seems likely to become the standard English version of the Confessions . . . Highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“This new translation is a most commendable and ingenious feat, whose advantages may be fully understood only when compared to previous efforts.”—Aubrey Rosenberg, University of Toronto

CHRISTOPHER KELLY, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Maryland Baltimore County, is author of Rousseau's Exemplary Life (1987).

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:15:21 -0500