The late eighteenth century is when modernity (more exactly, the modernities) began. Sterne, Diderot, Rousseau... among the effortlessly brilliant writers of that incandescent era, there still remains Xavier de Maistre to discover or rediscover. His masterpiece, Voyage Around My Room, is one of the most original and mettlesome autobiographical narratives ever written.—Susan Sontag
In 1790, while serving in the Piedmontese army, the French aristocrat Xavier de Maistre (1763-1852) was sentenced to house arrest for forty-two days, for dueling. The result was a discursive, mischievous memoir, his classic Voyage Around My Room. De Maistre’s literary output began with his Voyage (1794) and ended with its sequel, Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room (1825), with a few shorter pieces in between. In addition to the Voyage and Expedition, this selection includes a compelling dialogue, "The Leper of the City of Aosta" (1811) and a preface by Xavier’s better-known older brother, the reactionary Joseph de Maistre.