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Summary information.

Portable Rousseau
Alternative Title
The Portable Rousseau
De Man, Paul
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
De Man, Patricia
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC Irvine, Libraries, Critical Theory Archive
De Man (Paul) papers
Rights Information
This material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. The authors or their heirs retain their copyrights to the material. Contact the University of California, Irvine Libraries, Special Collections and Archives for more information (
Scope/Content: The Portable Rousseau was commissioned from Paul de Man by Viking Press in 1972. Paul de Man and his wife Patricia spent the next ten years working on the translations for this volume. The collection remained incomplete at the time of Paul de Man’s death in 1983. In line with Viking’s longstanding series, the volume was intended as a pedagogical guide collating significant texts by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The collection was to contain original English-language translations of texts by Paul and Patricia de Man as well as reproductions of certain standard translations of Rousseau. The work presented here includes Paul de Man’s editorial corrigenda, drafts of planned introductions to the volume, and original translations by Paul and Patricia de Man. Translations and editorial texts were done in 1972-1983; revisions and transcriptions were done in 1983-2006. The editorial material includes an agreed ‘Table of Contents’ and ‘Principle of Selection’ that Paul de Man worked to as the volume he imagined to best represent the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. As it became clear that this ‘Table of Contents’ would prove to be both over-length for the commissioned series and too expensive to realize through reproduction rights, a later table of contents ‘Optimal Table of Contents’ was produced for the publisher. This is accompanied by a text on the ‘Status of Translations’ that outlines available possible translations of standard texts by Rousseau and their relation to copyright. Two introductory texts are available. The first, transcribed by Ellen Burt, is a draft of de Man’s proposed introduction to the volume. The second, a twelve page text entitled ‘Rousseau’, comes from the unpublished manuscript Textual Allegories (1972-3) which was retained by Patricia de Man to use as a possible introduction to The Portable Rousseau as she sought to complete the original Viking commission after the death of her husband in 1983. The translations by Paul and Patricia de Man then follow according to the proposed order of the original ‘Table of Contents’. However, some deviations should be noted. The translations from the Nouvelle Héloise by Patricia de Man are taken from a continuously numbered manuscript prepared for final copy. It includes a small number of letters not listed in the ‘Table of Contents’. An extant translation by Patricia de Man of Part I, Letter V of the Nouvelle Héloise is also included as an appendix to the on-line publication although it is not part of the continuous manuscript of translations from this Rousseau text.
Scope/Content: Part of the text presented here was part of the original deposit of the Paul de Man papers in the UC Irvine Libraries. Other parts were retained by Patricia de Man in order to complete the Viking commission posthumously. A transcription of the proposed introduction was undertaken by Professor Ellen Burt. After the death of Patricia de Man, further editing of these papers was undertaken by Professor Cynthia Chase on the request of Patsy de Man (daughter of Paul and Patricia de Man). These parts were finally deposited at the UC Irvine Libraries in 2009 as part of the research project that lea to the transcription of Textual Allegories. Under the supervision of Professor Martin McQuillan, the collection was collated and digitized according to the available items listed on the original ‘Table of Contents’ in April 2010 with a grant from the British Academy.
De Man, Paul
Literary criticism
The Portable Rousseau by Paul de Man

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