Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction by Robert Wokler

By Robert Wokler

Essentially the most profound thinkers of contemporary historical past, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was once a imperative determine of the ecu Enlightenment. He used to be additionally its so much bold critic, condemning the political, financial, theological, and sexual trappings of civilization alongside strains that may excite the passion of romantic individualists and radical revolutionaries alike. during this examine of Rousseau's existence and works, Robert Wolker indicates how his philosophy of historical past, his theories of song and politics, his fiction, academic, and non secular writings, or even his botany, have been all encouraged through progressive beliefs of mankind's self-realization in a situation of unfettered freedom. He explains how, in regressing to classical republicanism, historical mythology, direct conversation with God, and solitude, Rousseau expected a few post-modernist rejections of the Enlightenment as well.

Editorial Reviews
"[A] quantity, brought via Christopher Brooke, that every one Rousseau scholars need."--Christopher Bertram, instances Literary Supplement

"[T]his number of essays is a invaluable contribution not just to Rousseau experiences and Enlightenment reports alike, but additionally (and possibly extra importantly) to the continued debate on tips on how to do highbrow heritage and the way to deal with the normative or political use of heritage by means of current thinkers."--Brian Kjær Olesen, eu evaluate of History

"[T]his is a welcome assortment for these drawn to Rousseau and his impact."--Michael Lynn, Historian --This textual content refers to another Paperback edition.
From the interior Flap
"These essays--small masterpieces of study, exposition, and integration, combining mammoth studying with an intuitive clutch of what's vital within the considered person thinkers and epochs--testify to the unifying ardour, highbrow versatility, and lasting contributions of either their writer, and his topics. This scrupulously ready, wide-ranging assortment makes priceless contributions to political conception and cultural and highbrow background. It additionally provides readers of all backgrounds with an schooling, and a feast."--Joshua L. Cherniss, Harvard University

"Blending a historian's sensitivity to context with a theorist?s intuition for problems with paramount political salience, Robert Wokler's contribution to our figuring out of Rousseau and his age was once profound. This selection of his essays bargains straight away an vital advisor to the Enlightenment and its legacy, in addition to a glimpse into the brain and perform of a deeply humane pupil for whom the Enlightenment?s beliefs remained a dwelling reality."--Ryan Patrick Hanley, Marquette University

"Filled with perception, humor, delicate readings, and marvelous analyses, this notable choice of humane and scholarly essays indicates simply how a lot we owe to the Enlightenment--and to Robert Wokler."--Janet Coleman, professor emeritus, London university of Economics and Political Science

"Wokler wrote prose which could function the automobile for his bold erudition, yet which used to be consistently set out with splendor and a shocking lightness of contact. He may possibly deliver to existence not just the arguments of his eighteenth-century philosophers, but in addition these of the twentieth-century commentators with whom he engaged; and his writing used to be constantly quietly yet completely infused with that strange number of political dedication, the type that contributes to, instead of will get within the method of, excellence in scholarship. either Wokler?s Enlightenment and Wokler himself have been cosmopolitan and humanitarian to their core."--from the creation via Christopher Brooke

"Robert Wokler?s essays exhibit the erudition of a guy who was once one of many best students of his new release and the best interpreters of Rousseau and the Enlightenment. furthermore, every one of those essays is written with an beauty and readability that few may possibly rival. Taken jointly they demonstrate a outstanding range."--Jeremy Jennings, Queen Mary, collage of London

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Sample text

He was impressed by the force of some of the objections raised by his critics, and occasionally modified or abandoned certain features of his theory in the light of them. Thus when King Stanislaw challenged his account of the connection between virtue and ignorance, on the grounds that uncultured men whom Rousseau had applauded were sometimes brutal rather than benign, he accepted the point and proposed a distinction between two forms of ignorance, of which one was odious and terrible, and the other modest and pure (P iii 53–4; G 48–9).

With the eventual conquest of the Mediterranean world under a wave of barbarian invasions, the guttural and staccato speech of northern men must have taken precedence over the mellifluous intonations which had served for the expression of human sentiments before, and all the sweetness, measure, and grace of our original languages would have been lost (P v 425–7; G 296–8). The melodic forms of diction would have been suppressed, claims Rousseau, and our utterances would have been progressively deprived of their initial charm.

Frontispiece (‘Il retourne chez ses Egaux’) and title-page of the Discours sur l’inégalité (Amsterdam, 1755).

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