The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Confessions, Les
CONFESSIONS, Les, an autobiographical work of Jean Jacques Rousseau (q.v.). It was written during the six most agitated years of his life, from 1765 to 1770; and his state of health at this time, both mental and bodily, may account for some of its peculiarities. The first six books were not published until 1781, and the second six not until 1788. According to more than one critic, the ‘Confessions,’ however charming as literature, are to be taken as documentary evidence with great reserve. They form practically a complete life of Rousseau from his earliest years, in which he discloses not only all his own weaknesses, but the faults of those who had been his friends and intimates.