After its publication in 1782, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions were often read and discussed in the Netherlands. Although the work was not translated in Dutch until more than a century later, just like elsewhere in Europe, many Dutch writers considered Rousseau's Confessions to be a milestone in the developing genre of autobiography. Dutchmen without knowledge of French could get acquainted with its content through reviews and discussions in the press. Nevertheless, like Rousseau's earlier works, the Confessions provoked mixed and often ambivalent reactions. As a case study the changing attitude of Dutch author Eduard Douwes Dekker - Multatuli -, towards Rousseau's Confessions is distilled from his works and letters. In his younger years Douwes Dekker jokingly announced to write his own Confessions, but in old age wrote that he would never do that, fearing the public discussion that had always surrounded Rousseau's work would also affect him. That is, however, in itself a sign of the influence of Rousseau's controversial autobiography.
Negentiende Eeuw
Department of History

Baggerman, J.A, & Dekker, R.M. (2013). Jean-Jacques rousseau's confessions in the netherlands in the nineteenth century. Negentiende Eeuw, 37(1), 36–56. Retrieved from