In Subjects
 
Rousseau

Rousseau

Volume 1 and 2

Published

Excerpt:

ng away the overgrowth of errors, simplification of social relations by equality, of literature and art by constant return to nature, of manners by industrious homeliness and thrift,--this is the revolutionary process and ideal, and this is the secret of Rousseau's hold over a generation that was lost amid the broken maze of fallen systems.

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The personality of Rousseau has most equivocal and repulsive sides. It has deservedly fared ill in the esteem of the saner and more rational of those who have judged him, and there is none in the history of famous men and our spiritual fathers that begat us, who make more constant demands on the patience or pity of those who study his life. Yet in no other instance is the common eagerness to condense all predication about a character into a single unqualified proposition so fatally inadequate. If it is indispensable that we should be for ever describing, naming, classifying, at least it is well, in speaking of such a nature as his, to enlarge the vo