In the first volume of his trilogy, noted political philosopher Maurice Cranston draws from original manuscript sources to trace Rousseau's life from his birth in provincial obscurity in Geneva, through his youthful wanderings, to his return to Geneva in 1754 as a celebrated writer and composer.
"[An] admirable biography which is as meticulous, calm, reasonable, and judicious as its subject is passionate and tumultuous."â€”Keith Michael Baker, Washington Post Book World
"The definitive biography, as scholarly as it is entertaining."â€”The Economist
"Exceptionally fresh . . . . [Cranston] seems to know exactly what his readers need to know, and thoughtfully enriches the backgroundâ€”both physical and intellectualâ€”of Rousseau's youthful peregrinations . . . . He makes the first part of Rousseau's life as absorbing as a picaresque novel. His fidelity to Rousseau's ideas and to his life as it was lived is a triumph of poise."â€”Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
"The most outstanding achievement of Professor Cranston's own distinguished career."â€”Robert Wokler, Times Literary Supplement
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.