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By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Christopher Kelly (ed. & tr.)

Newcomers to Rousseau’s works and those that are acquainted with his writings will locate whatever to shock them either during this big range of brief items from each interval of his existence.

Among the real theoretical writings discovered listed here are the “Fiction or Allegorical Fragment on Revelation” and the “Moral Letters,” that are between Rousseau’s clearest statements concerning the nature and bounds of philosophic reasoning. within the early “Idea of a mode for the Composition of a Book,” Rousseau lays out prematurely his figuring out of the way to give his rules to the general public. He ponders the chances for and effects of air trip in “The New Daedalus.” This quantity additionally comprises either his first and final autobiographical statements.

Some of those writings exhibit Rousseau’s lesser-known playful facet. a comic book fairy story, “Queen Whimsical”, explores the consequences—both critical and ridiculous—for a country while the male inheritor to the throne, endowed with the frivolous features of his mom, has a sister with the entire features of a very good monarch. while Rousseau used to be requested no matter if a fifty-year outdated guy may perhaps write love letters to a tender lady with no showing ridiculous, he answered with “Letters to Sophie,” which try and reveal that this type of guy may well write as many as four—but now not as many as six—letters prior to he grew to become a laughingstock. In “The Banterer,” he demanding situations readers to bet even if the paintings they're analyzing used to be written by means of an writer who's “wisely mad” or by way of one that is “madly wise.” whilst Rousseau was once challenged to jot down a merry story, “without intrigue, with out love, with no marriage, and with out lewdness,” he produced a piece thought of too bold to be released in France.

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Extra resources for Autobiographical, Scientific, Religious, Moral, and Literary Writings (Collected Writings of Rousseau, Volume 12)

Sample text

My Portrait 1 1 Readers, I willingly think about myself and I am speaking as I think. Dispense yourself then from reading this preface if you do not like anyone to talk about himself. 2 I am approaching the end of life and I have not done any good on earth. I have good intentions, but it is not always as easy as one thinks to do good.

In my leisure times you too find your place: Claville, St. Aubin, Plutarch, Mezerai,25 Despréaux, Cicero, Pope, Rollin, Barclai,26 And you too sweet la Motte,27 and you touching Voltaire, Your reading will always remain dear to my heart. But my taste turns aside from all frivolous writing, Whose author’s goal is merely pleasing28 the mind. He might well lavish the brilliant Antithesis, Scatter flowers everywhere, seek a turn of phrase that pleases, With me the heart more than the mind has needs, And if it is not melted, rebuVs all your eVorts.

It is thus that my days flow away without alarms: My eyes shed no tears over my misfortunes: If crying sometimes impairs my repose It is for other subjects than my own ills. Vainly do pain, fears, misery, Want to dishearten the end of my life, The stoic pride of the enslaved Epictetus Teaches me to bear ills, poverty. I see the languishing that overwhelms me without grieving; The approach of death is not at all frightening to me, And the illness from which my body feels itself almost prostrate, For me is only a subject for strengthening my virtue.

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