Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778

Confessions published 1781
	Anticipating the revolution he did not live to see
1789 the French Revolution

Two Major Themes of the Book
1 The poor boy become a culture hero
2. the confession (political, sexual) become fascinating
	every personal experience of potential public interest
The oddly embarrassing shamelessness     
And yet Rousseau is a serious thinker. 

Some Samples from his Confessions

"I have resolved on an enterprise which has no precedent, and which, once
complete, will have no imitator. My purpose is to display to my kind a portrait
in every way true to nature, and the man I shall portray will be myself."

"So let the numberless legion of my fellow men gather round me, and hear my
confessions. Let them groan at my depravities, and blush for my misdeeds. But let
each of them reveal his heart... with equal sincerity, and may any man who dares,
say 'I was a better man than he'." 

"When I read of the cruelties of a fierce tyrant, of the subtle machinations of a
rascally priest, I would gladly go and stab the wretch myself, even if it were to
cost me my life a hundred times over. I have often run till I dropped, flinging
stones at some cock or cow or dog, or any animal that I saw tormenting another
because it felt itself the stronger." 

This helps explain the basis of his political arguments

Rousseau's friend "was overtaken by one of his fits, which was so violent that it
quite terrified me... while the crowd gathered and pressed around him, where he
had fallen insensible and foaming in the middle of the street.... I seized a
moment when no one was looking, dodged round the street corner and disappeared." 

"Here begins the short period of my life's happiness.... I rose with the sun, and
I was happy; I went for walks, and I was happy; I saw Mamma, and I was happy; I
left her, and I was happy....happiness followed me everywhere, it lay in no
definable object, it was entirely within me; it would not leave me for a single

Mamma was Rousseau's pet name for his lover

"By handling my children over for the State to educate... by destining them to
become workers and peasants instead of adventurers and fortune-hunters, I thought
I was acting as a citizen and a father.... My third child, therefore, was taken
to the Foundling Hospital like the others, and the next two were disposed of in
the same way...."

This from a man who wrote a treatise on education! 

Rousseau, full of paradoxes, was never boring.