Synopses & Reviews
In his posthumously published Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) describes the first fifty-three years of his life. With a frankness at times almost disconcerting, but always refreshing, he set out to reveal the whole truth about himself to the world and succeeded in producing a masterpiece which has left its indelible imprint on the literature of successive generations, influencing among others Proust, Goethe and Tolstoy.
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.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About the Author
J. M. Cohen, born in London in 1903 and a Cambridge graduate, was the author of many Penguin translations, including versions of Cervantes, Rabelais and Montaigne. For some years he assisted E. V. Rieu in editing the Penguin Classics. He collected the three books of Comic and Curious Verse
and anthologies of Latin American and Cuban writing. He frequently visited Spain and made several visits to Mexico, Cuba and other Spanish American countries. With his son Mark he edited the Penguin Dictionary of Quotations
and its companion Dictionary of Modern Quotations
J. M. Cohen died in 1989. The Times’ obituary described him as ‘the translator of the foreign prose classics for our times’ and ‘one of the last great English men of letters’, while the Independent wrote that ‘his influence will be felt for generations to come’.
Table of Contents
The First Part
The Second Part