Posterity and Progeny: Memoirs and Autobiographical Writing in the Late Eighteenth Century
Eighteenth Century Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Leigh, J. (2018). Posterity and Progeny: Memoirs and Autobiographical Writing in the Late Eighteenth Century. Eighteenth Century Studies, 40 (1), 79-92. https://doi.org/10.1080/20563035.2018.1473072
Plato said that humans reproduce not only to ensure the survival of the race, but also to overcome our own deaths — children preserve our memory and continue a bloodline. In his Confessions, and other works, Rousseau writes explicitly for a putative reader of the future, an inhabitant of a more enlightened posterity. It is in reaction both to these claims and to Rousseau’s notorious abandonment of his children, that — I think — Marmontel dedicates and shapes his own memoirs. This article looks at the first-person writing of Marmontel and other authors, examining a new trend for envisaging posterity incarnated more humbly in their children and thereby redeeming or excusing the vanity of which first-person writers had previously been accused.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/20563035.2018.1473072
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/279797