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"Confessions" is an autobiographical book which covers the first fifty-three years of Rousseau's life, up to 1765. It was completed in 1769, but not published until 1782, four years after Rousseau's death, even though Rousseau did read excerpts of his manuscript publicly at various salons and other meeting places. He wrote of his own life mainly in terms of his worldly experiences and personal feelings.
"Emile, or On Education" or "Émile, or Treatise on Education" is a treatise on the nature of education and on the nature of man. Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered it to be the "best and most important" of all his writings. During the French Revolution, Emile served as the inspiration for what became a new national system of education. Rousseau seeks to describe a system of education that would enable the natural man he identifies in The Social Contract (1762) to survive corrupt society. Emile is scarcely a detailed parenting guide but it does contain some specific advice on raising children. It is regarded by some as the first philosophy of education in Western culture to have a serious claim to completeness, as well as being one of the first Bildungsroman novels.

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