The Noble Savage: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1754-1762

Maurice Cranston, Author University of Chicago Press $59 (413p) ISBN 978-0-226-11863-5
Rousseau's life is shot through with ironies. The Reformed Calvinist true-believer who illiberally condemned the theater would later find his own Emile subject to censorship and public burning. The moralist who preached control of women's sexuality was consumed with lust for Mme. d'Houdetot, wife of a Norman count and mother of three children. In his Confessions Rousseau painted himself as a genial rustic, happy to escape the corrupt metropolis of Paris, but the itinerant philosopher we meet in this magisterial, scintillating biography grows increasingly irritable, suspicious and peevish in his dilapidated cottage in Montmorency. This second installment in a three-volume opus, following Jean-Jacques , offers a fresh look at Rousseau's life in the years when he wrote The Social Contract and Emile , refined his romantic creed of the ``natural man'' and got himself banished from Geneva. Illustrations. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 413 pages - 978-0-226-11864-2
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