Autobiographical, Scientific, Religious, Moral, and Literary by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Christopher Kelly (ed. & tr.)

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

Among the real theoretical writings chanced on listed below are the “Fiction or Allegorical Fragment on Revelation” and the “Moral Letters,” that are between Rousseau’s clearest statements in regards to the nature and boundaries 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 offer his rules to the general public. He ponders the probabilities for and outcomes of air trip in “The New Daedalus.” This quantity additionally comprises either his first and final autobiographical statements.

Some of those writings express Rousseau’s lesser-known playful facet. a comic book fairy story, “Queen Whimsical”, explores the consequences—both severe 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 an outstanding monarch. whilst Rousseau used to be requested no matter if a fifty-year previous guy may perhaps write love letters to a tender lady with no showing ridiculous, he replied with “Letters to Sophie,” which try to exhibit that this kind of guy may well write as many as four—but no longer as many as six—letters sooner than he grew to become a laughingstock. In “The Banterer,” he demanding situations readers to wager even if the paintings they're studying used to be written by way of an writer who's “wisely mad” or via person who is “madly wise.” whilst Rousseau was once challenged to jot down a merry story, “without intrigue, with out love, with out 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

II, 1124–1126 Although I might have promised never to rhyme, Here I dare to sing the fruits of your benefits. Yes, if my heart enjoys the most tranquil fate, If I follow virtue in an easy path, If I taste an innocent repose in these places, I owe such a rare gift only to you alone; Vainly a base heart,8 mercenary souls, By cruel, rather than salutary advice, Have tried to deprive me of your kindnesses a hundred times. They do not know the good you taste In making people happy, in wiping away tears, For them these delicate pleasures have no charms.

But, alas! for giving myself scope, I do not have The warlike assurance of a lively athlete; And from the first steps, anxious and astonished, Breath abandons me and I give up the prize. Bordes, worthy to judge my just alarms: See what are the struggles, and what are the arms. These laurels are very sweet, certainly,30 to carry oV: But what audacity for me to dare to contend for them! What! 31 Happier, if you wish, although reckless, If my feeble talents would find the art of pleasing; If, by chance32 saved from public hisses, My verses could be approved by people with taste, Tell me upon what subjects my muse will exert itself.

The truly sensible man gives the disdain he owes To the lies of the conceited, and the fool who believes them. No, I cannot force my mind, born sincere, To disguise my own Character this way It would cost too much constraint to my heart I renounce happiness at that unworthy price. Moreover, it would then be necessary for a cowardly and mercenary son Unworthily to betray the kindness of a mother And, paying as an ingrate for all the benefits received To leave to other hands the cares that are due to her.

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