The Solitary Self: Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Exile and Adversity

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 29, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 247 pages
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A monumental achievement, Maurice Cranston's trilogy provides the definitive account of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's turbulent life. Now available in paperback, this final volume completes a masterful biography of one of the most important philosophers of all time. The Solitary Self traces the last tempestuous years of Rousseau's life.

"The Solitary Self is a fitting coda to a magisterial work. Cranston . . . is a compelling stylist who narrates Rousseau's tribulations with a mixture of compassion and dry humor."—Thomas Pavel, Wall Street Journal

"Cranston not only recreates for his readers a rounded view of Rousseau himself, he sets it firmly in the social and political context of Europe's ancien regime. . . . An engrossing work of history."—John Gray, New Statesman

"Cranston's painstaking archival research and lucid style yield the most detailed and thoroughly documented biography of Rousseau written in English. His epilogue masterfully sums up Rousseau's importance as political philosopher and initiator of romantic sensibilities."—Choice

"Anyone curious about the paradoxes of a most paradoxical man will not go wrong by starting with this invaluable biography."—James Miller, Washington Post Book World

"As absorbing as a picaresque novel."—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker

"A monument of scholarship. . . . This amazing biography, like Boswell's account of Johnson, recreates the daily life of Rousseau: what he did, who he saw, what he said, what he wrote. . . . We may be quite confident that we hold in our hands the authoritative account of this life. The definitive Rousseau."—Isaac Kramnick, New Republic

Maurice Cranston (1920-1993), a distinguished scholar and recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography of John Locke, was professor of political science at the London School of Economics. His numerous books include The Romantic Movement and Philosophers and Pamphleteers, and translations of Rousseau's The Social Contract and Discourse on the Origins of Inequality.

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About the author (1997)

Maurice Cranston was Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics. Over a long and distinguished academic career he has taught at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, University of British Columbia, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington and the European University Institute. His many books include a three-volume biography of Rousseau, as well as" John Locke: A Biography, What are Human Rights?" and "The Mask of Politics," Maurice Cranston died in November 1993.

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