The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Volume 01 This book story a momentous epoch, when absolutism and feudalism were rallying for their last struggle against the modern spirit, chiefly represented by Voltaire, the Encyclopedists, and Rousseau himself a struggle to which, after many fierce intestine quarrels and sanguinary wars throughout Europe and America, has succeeded the prevalence of those more tolerant and rational principles by which the statesmen of our own day are actuated. The Rousseau’s lengthy and sometimes anguished dossier on the Self is one of the most remarkable and courageous works of introspection ever undertaken. Some readers may be repelled by his tendency to revel in embarrassing accounts of humiliation and fiasco, as if he were striving too hard to achieve an ultimate nakedness, a nakedness of the soul perhaps. Others may recall the compulsive self-searching of the narrator of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, who also rather dwelt on the co-existence in the individual of the vile and the virtuous. The two opening volumes of the Confessions, presented in this inevitably censored edition of 1903, deal with the author’s childhood and callow adolescence.