100 books like The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau, J. Cohen (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau fans have personally recommended if you like The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter

Fiona Sampson Author Of Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

From my list on literary biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, awarded an MBE for services to literature. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Her twenty-eight books include the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and she’s Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton.

Fiona's book list on literary biographies

Fiona Sampson Why did Fiona love this book?

Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter is a classic. First published in France in 1958, it’s the opening volume of an autobiographical trilogy. This exploration of the childhood and young womanhood that created the world-famous writer and intellectual is compendious, descriptive – and alert at every turn, as befits the mother of existentialism, to how the emerging psyche understands the world around it.

By Beauvoir Simone De, James Kirkup (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[Beauvoir’s] graciously written memoirs carry distinct appeal in recording the emotional and intellectual birth pangs of a fascinating woman.” —Time

A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly rare in a young woman in the 1920s.

Beauvoir vividly evokes her friendships, love interests, mentors, and the early days of the…


Book cover of Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art

Miriam Schulman Author Of Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity

From my list on artists monetizing their creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

With over 20 years of experience as a professional artist and a successful track record of earning six figures a year from my art, I know firsthand what it takes to build a thriving artistic career. As the host of the Inspiration Place podcast, and founder of the Artist Incubator program, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to helping artists everywhere achieve their full potential and reach their goals. When you overcome the common challenges and mindset blocks that hold so many artists back and learn the practical tools and strategies you need for selling your art, you too find the same success.

Miriam's book list on artists monetizing their creativity

Miriam Schulman Why did Miriam love this book?

This is an in-depth and well-researched exploration of the abstract expressionist movement, with a particular focus on the female artists who played a crucial role in shaping the movement. This book offers a fresh perspective on a significant period in the history of modern art and provides readers with a deeper understanding of the contributions made by women artists during this time. What I liked most about this book was the spotlight it shines on the critical role of key female artists in the abstract expressionist movement, who often get overlooked in traditional art historical narratives. Overall, Ninth Street Women is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the groundbreaking contributions of female artists in the 20th century, and the impact of the abstract expressionist movement on contemporary art.

By Mary Gabriel,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Ninth Street Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NINTH STREET WOMEN is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating story of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting--not as muses but as artists. From their cold-water lofts, where they painted, drank, fought, and loved, these pioneers burst open the door to the art world for themselves and groundbreaking artists to come.

They include Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning, whose careers were at times overshadowed by the fame of their husbands, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, but who emerged as stunning talents in their own right, as well as a younger…


Book cover of Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer

Elizabeth Buchan Author Of Two Women in Rome

From my list on soothing after a love affair, divorce or Covid.

Why am I passionate about this?

Elizabeth Buchan began her career as a blurb writer at Penguin Books. She moved on to become a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full-time. Her novels include the award-winning Consider the Lily, The Museum of Broken Promises, and the international bestseller, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, which was made into a CBS Primetime Drama. Elizabeth’s short stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines. She has reviewed for The Times, the Sunday Times, and the Daily Mail, and has chaired the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliot literary prizes. She has been a judge for the Whitbread First Novel Award and for the 2014 Costa Novel Award.

Elizabeth's book list on soothing after a love affair, divorce or Covid

Elizabeth Buchan Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I first read this many years ago and it has stayed with me. Every so often, I return to it in order to immerse myself in its wonderful prose and insights. It combines travelogue with biography, detective work with a probing inner exploration and is both an account of a physical journey and a remap of the writer’s imagination. He begins with his homage to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey and describes his own trek over the Cevennes. He starts out with the idea that he will be a poet and finishes his walk having been led "far away into the undiscovered land of other’s men and women’s lives. It led towards biography."

It is the turning point of his life and for the remainder of the book – as he hunts down his subjects which include Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley, Gerard de Nerval, and Gautier – he goes…

By Richard Holmes,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Footsteps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Holmes knew he had become a true biographer the day his bank bounced a check that he had inadvertently dated 1772. Because for the acclaimed chronicler of Shelley and Coleridge, biography is a physical pursuit, an ardent and arduous retracing of footsteps that may have vanished centuries before.
 
In this gripping book, Holmes takes us from France’s Massif Central, where he followed the route taken by Robert Louis Stevenson and a sweet-natured donkey, to Mary Wollstonecraft’s Revolutionary Paris, to the Italian villages where Percy Shelley tried to cast off the strictures of English morality and marriage. Footsteps is a…


Book cover of Stravinsky's Lunch

Fiona Sampson Author Of Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

From my list on literary biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, awarded an MBE for services to literature. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Her twenty-eight books include the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and she’s Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton.

Fiona's book list on literary biographies

Fiona Sampson Why did Fiona love this book?

Drusilla Modjeska’s Stravinsky’s Lunch is an absolutely original study of art and life. Its starting and finishing points are the contrasting lives of two major Australian artists, Stella Bowen and Grace Cossington, born twelve months apart in the 1890s. Don’t be put off if you’ve never heard of them (though their work is wonderful). This brilliant book involves its author – and even the reader – in an untricksy but radical look at the self who makes.

By Drusilla Modjeska,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stravinsky's Lunch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving, deeply insightful study of two artists-both twentieth-century Australian women-who lived and worked in divergent realms

Drusilla Modjeska's title derives from an anecdote about the composer who, while creating a piece of music, ordered his family to remain silent while taking a meal with him-so Stravinsky could preserve his concentration on his work. Modjeska's book investigates the life patterns of women artists, most of whom have been unable to manage such a neat compartmentalization of daily life and creativity.

Stravinsky's Lunch tells the stories of two extraordinary women, both born close to the turn of the century in Australia…


Book cover of Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and Its Background, 1760-1830

Lawrence Lipking Author Of The Ordering of the Arts in Eighteenth-Century England

From my list on the arts as crucial elements of human life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a chameleon scholar. Though my first love is poetry, I have written about all the arts, about 18th-century authors (especially Samuel Johnson), about theories of literature and literary vocations, about Sappho and other abandoned women, about ancients and moderns and chess and marginal glosses and the meaning of life and, most recently, the Scientific Revolution. But I am a teacher too, and The Ordering of the Arts grew out of my fascination with those writers who first taught readers what to look for in painting, music and poetrywhat works were best, what works could change their lives. That project has inspired my own life and all my writing.

Lawrence's book list on the arts as crucial elements of human life

Lawrence Lipking Why did Lawrence love this book?

This book about rebels itself rebels against historians such as Abrams, who view Romanticism as a single movement unified by an expressive theory of art. 

Instead, Butler argues, there are many different sorts of Romantics, and they are best understood not through theories of art but through "the fierce personal and artistic politics of an age in the midst of profound change." That Age of Revolution had begun in the 1760s, and the ordering of the arts reflects debates about the social standing of the arts, not any consensus. Butler relishes these conflicts.

She pays attention to the groundswell of "art for the people" as well as "the war of the intellectuals," and she is not afraid to embrace the chaos and complications that thwart any effort to paint all arts and artists with one brush.

By Marilyn Butler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Age of Revolutions and its aftermath is unparalleled in English literature. Its poets include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats; its novelists, Jane Austen and Scott. But how is it that some of these writers were apparently swept up in Romanticism, and others not? Studies of Romanticism have tended to adopt the Romantic viewpoint. They value creativity, imagination and originality - ideas which nineteenth-century writers themselves used to
promote a new image of their calling. Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries puts the movement in to its historical setting and provides a new insight in Romanticism itself, showing that one…


Book cover of The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present

Brett Bowden Author Of The Strange Persistence of Universal History in Political Thought

From my list on humankind’s place in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

The search for meaning in history is all part of the search for meaning in life. Whether archaeologists or historians, economists or physicists, they are not just looking for artefacts when digging in the dirt or scanning the skies, they are looking for evidence to piece together a bigger picture—meaning in the minutiae. I’m sceptical, but the philosophy of history remains a fascinating subject, which is why I’ve explored ideas about civilization, progress, and progressive history in a number of books and articles. My primary concern about teleological accounts of history is that they tend to deny people's agency, especially non-Western peoples.

Brett's book list on humankind’s place in history

Brett Bowden Why did Brett love this book?

It is difficult to settle on just five books; I include Iggers here because this book transcends its primary subject, German historiography. It offers an insight into some of the key thinkers that have helped to shape predominant and pervasive thinking about human progress and socio-political development. Thinkers such as Kant and Herder, Hegel and Schiller. It is important to have a good understanding of the foundations of a train of thought, and Iggers knows his subject matter well and astutely highlights the various strengths and weaknesses. 

By Georg G. Iggers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The German Conception of History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first comprehensive critical examination in any language of the German national tradition of historiography. It analyzes the basic theoretical assumptions of the German historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and relates these assumptions to political thought and action.
The German national tradition of historiography had its beginnings in the reaction against the Enlightenment and the French Revolution of 1789. This historiography rejected the rationalistic theory of natural law as universally valid and held that all human values must be understood within the context of the historical flux. But it maintained at the same time the Lutheran…


Book cover of When the King Took Flight

Peter McPhee Author Of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution

From my list on understanding the French Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent much of my adult life studying the French Revolution with students who, like me, are engrossed by the drama, successes and tragedies of the Revolution, and the scale of the attempts to arrest or reverse it. Why and how did an apparently stable regime collapse in 1789? Why did it prove to be so difficult to stabilize a new order? How could claims to “liberty” and “equality” be balanced? And why was there a period of “terror” in 1793-94? When the Revolution was finally over, how had France and other parts of the world been changed? The answers to those questions remain open and continue to fascinate. 

Peter's book list on understanding the French Revolution

Peter McPhee Why did Peter love this book?

At the celebrations on 14 July 1790 for the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, Louis XVI took an oath to work with the National Assembly as a constitutional monarch. Less than a year later, on 20 June 1791, the royal family tried to flee the Revolution. The king’s flight convinced masses of French people that he was a perjurer: the monarchy never recovered its mystique.

In contrast, his capture near the border with Luxembourg convinced the crowned heads of Europe that the royal family was in mortal danger. Ten months later France was at war with Marie-Antoinette’s native Austria, and Europe was engulfed in a generation of bloodshed. The great American historian of the Revolution, Timothy Tackett, recounts the engrossing story of the botched flight and its repercussions for a cast of unforgettable characters.    

By Timothy Tackett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When the King Took Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a June night in 1791, King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette fled Paris in disguise, hoping to escape the mounting turmoil of the French Revolution. They were arrested by a small group of citizens a few miles from the Belgian border and forced to return to Paris. Two years later they would both die at the guillotine. It is this extraordinary story, and the events leading up to and away from it, that Tackett recounts in gripping novelistic style.

The king's flight opens a window to the whole of French society during the Revolution. Each dramatic chapter spotlights a different…


Book cover of Scotland and the French Revolution

Emma Macleod Author Of A War of Ideas: British Attitudes to the Wars Against Revolutionary France, 1792-1802

From my list on British political debate in the age of revolutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by what people make of political events at home and abroad. The rapid expansion of public opinion in later eighteenth-century Britain, in tandem with the explosion of the press—newspapers, books, sermons, plays, poetry, novels, magazines, and cartoons—makes it a wonderful period to explore. People in the past were no less complex and sophisticated than we are; they simply lived in different circumstances, opportunities, and constraints, with different assumptions and priorities. My British Visions of America, 1775–1820 (2013) also deals with the British trying to understand foreign affairs, while The Wodrow-Kenrick Correspondence, 1750–1810, eds Fitzpatrick, Macleod and Page is full of events at home and abroad.

Emma's book list on British political debate in the age of revolutions

Emma Macleod Why did Emma love this book?

This is very much the oldest of my choices, and there are some great recent books on Scotland in the 1790s, but for me, this one still stands up for detail, excitement, clarity, and pace.

I live in Edinburgh, where much of the central action in this book takes place—there were radical reform societies all over Lowland Scotland in the 1790s, but they sent delegates to national conventions in Edinburgh, and Edinburgh was where many of the state trials for treason and sedition took place. 

By Henry W Meikle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Scotland and the French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the "public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank…


Book cover of The Complete Poems of John Keats

Cassia Hall Author Of Songs of Love & Longing: Poem & Songs from the Seasons Cycle

From my list on romantic fantasy poetry to make you swoon and sigh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up loving the works of Shakespeare and the Romantic poets. Now I write romantic fantasy with a lyrical, fairy-tale vibe. The Seasons Cycle is a spin-off series from my main Lake Traveler saga. My poetry includes Poems of Myth & Magick, and Songs of Love & Longing. I compose songs and background music for key scenes in my stories. My music has been described as GoT meets LoTR with a lyrical twist and a musical theatre vibe. You can check out my songs and instrumental pieces on my youtube channel and my music website.

Cassia's book list on romantic fantasy poetry to make you swoon and sigh

Cassia Hall Why did Cassia love this book?

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci" may not be Keats’ most well-known poem but it’s right up there with his best, and Keats’ best might just be the very best when it comes to romantic poetry. This is a beautiful fantasy poem that’s both hot and disturbing. It’s dark fantasy at its best. Its lyrical and sensuous beauty will give you chills and goosebumps. Other fantasy-themed poems in this collection include "Endymion," "Lamia and Hyperion," "Isabella," and "St Agnes’ Eve," all based on myths and legends.

By John Keats,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Poems of John Keats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by Paul Wright.

'What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth' So wrote the Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821) in 1817. This collection contains all of his poetry: the early work, which is often undervalued even today, the poems on which his reputation rests including the 'Odes' and the two versions of the uncompleted epic 'Hyperion', and work which only came to light after his death including his attempts at drama and comic verse.

It all demonstrates the extent to which he tested his own dictum throughout his short creative life. That life spanned one of…


Book cover of The Terror: Civil War in the French Revolution

Marisa Linton Author Of Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship, and Authenticity in the French Revolution

From my list on French Revolutionary terror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of eighteenth-century France, above all, the French Revolution. Throughout my career, my primary goal has been to try to reconstruct the experience of revolution in all its dimensions. I have published extensively on subjects relating to the French Revolution, including the French revolutionary terror; the politics of the Jacobins; ideology, emotions, and revolution; revolutionary leaders – including Robespierre and Saint-Just; fear of conspiracy as a driver of actions; the influence of classical antiquity; women participants in the Revolution.

Marisa's book list on French Revolutionary terror

Marisa Linton Why did Marisa love this book?

This is a gripping, wide-ranging, and detailed study of the explosive years of ‘the Terror’. Andress ranges far beyond the claustrophobic assemblies, clubs, and streets of Paris to show the country-wide impact of war, revolution, and terror. Andress has little time for revolutionary idealism, and there are no heroes in this book. His deep knowledge of his subject shines out from every page. The result is a vivid and disturbing account, dense, lively, and well-written. 

By David Andress,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The French Revolution marks the foundation of the modern political world. It was in the crucible of the Revolution that the political forces of conservatism, liberalism and socialism began to find their modern forms, and it was the Revolution that first asserted the claims of universal individual rights on which our current understandings of citizenship are based. But the Terror was, as much as anything else, a civil war, and such wars are always both brutal and complex. The guillotine in Paris claimed some 1500 official victims, but executions of captured counter-revolutionary rebels ran into the tens of thousands, and…


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