David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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OUP Oxford (2011)
'These hours of solitude and meditation are the only time of the day when I am completely myself' Reveries of the Solitary Walker is Rousseau's last great work, the product of his final years of exile from the society that condemned his political and religious views. Returning to Paris the philosopher determines to keep a faithful record of the thoughts and ideas that come to him on his perambulations. Part reminiscence, part reflection, enlivened by anecdote and encounters, the Reveries form a kind of sequel to his Confessions, but they are more introspective and less defensive: Rousseau finds happiness in solitude, walks in nature, botanizing, and meditation. Writing an account of his walks becomes a means of achieving self-knowledge and safeguarding for himself the pleasure that others, he is convinced, seek to deny him. The Reveries, shaped by the unmediated nature of Rousseau's thought processes, give powerfully lyrical expression to a painfully tortured soul in search of peace. This new translation is accompanied by an introduction and notes that explore the nature of the work and its historical, literary, and intellectual contexts.
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