Course description

This course is a study of major eighteenth-century autobiographical fictional and philosophical texts that explore the paradoxes of the modern self at a time when traditional religious and philosophical explanations were breaking down. Writers to be read include Mme. de Lafayette Boswell Voltaire Gibbon Diderot Rousseau Laclos Franklin and Blake. Due to the condensed summer schedule the longer works such as Rousseau's Confessions and Laclos's Les Liaisons Dangereuses are read in abridged form.


  • Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Emeritus, Harvard University.

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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