The first impression of the writings of Mr. J. J. Rousseau received by a knowledgeable reader, who is reading for something more than vanity or to kill time, is that he is encountering a lucidity of mind, a noble impulse of genius and a sensitive soul of such a high level that perhaps never an author of whatever epoch or of whatever people has been able to possess in combination. The impression that immediately follows is bewilderment over the strange and contradictory opinions, which so oppose those which are in general circulation that one can easily come to the suspicion that the author, by virtue of his extraordinary talent, wishes to show off only the force of his bewitching wit and through the magic of rhetoric make himself something apart who through captivating novelties stands out among all rivals at wit.
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April 22, 1724
February 12, 1804