By Robert Wokler
Some of the most profound thinkers of contemporary heritage, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) used to be a significant determine of the eu Enlightenment. He was once additionally its so much ambitious critic, condemning the political, monetary, theological, and sexual trappings of civilization alongside strains that might excite the keenness of romantic individualists and radical revolutionaries alike. during this examine of Rousseau's existence and works, Robert Wolker indicates how his philosophy of heritage, his theories of song and politics, his fiction, academic, and non secular writings, or even his botany, have been all encouraged via progressive beliefs of mankind's self-realization in a situation of unfettered freedom. He explains how, in regressing to classical republicanism, old mythology, direct verbal exchange with God, and solitude, Rousseau expected a few post-modernist rejections of the Enlightenment as well.
"[A] quantity, brought via Christopher Brooke, that each one Rousseau scholars need."--Christopher Bertram, occasions Literary Supplement
"[T]his selection of essays is a precious contribution not just to Rousseau stories and Enlightenment reports alike, but additionally (and maybe extra importantly) to the continuing debate on tips to do highbrow background and the way to handle the normative or political use of heritage by means of current thinkers."--Brian Kjær Olesen, ecu evaluation of History
"[T]his is a welcome assortment for these attracted to Rousseau and his impact."--Michael Lynn, Historian --This textual content refers to an alternative Paperback edition.
From the interior Flap
"These essays--small masterpieces of study, exposition, and integration, combining immense studying with an intuitive seize of what's critical 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 worthwhile contributions to political conception and cultural and highbrow heritage. It additionally offers 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 knowing of Rousseau and his age used to be profound. This number of his essays deals right now an critical consultant to the Enlightenment and its legacy, in addition to a glimpse into the brain and perform of a deeply humane student for whom the Enlightenment?s beliefs remained a residing reality."--Ryan Patrick Hanley, Marquette University
"Filled with perception, humor, delicate readings, and terrific analyses, this striking selection of humane and scholarly essays indicates simply how a lot we owe to the Enlightenment--and to Robert Wokler."--Janet Coleman, professor emeritus, London tuition of Economics and Political Science
"Wokler wrote prose that may function the car for his bold erudition, yet which used to be constantly set out with splendor and a shocking lightness of contact. He might carry 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 was once consistently quietly yet completely infused with that strange number of political dedication, the sort that contributes to, instead of will get within the manner of, excellence in scholarship. either Wokler?s Enlightenment and Wokler himself have been cosmopolitan and humanitarian to their core."--from the creation by way of Christopher Brooke
"Robert Wokler?s essays reveal the erudition of a guy who was once one of many best students of his iteration and the best interpreters of Rousseau and the Enlightenment. additionally, each one of those essays is written with an splendor and readability that few may well rival. Taken jointly they exhibit a notable range."--Jeremy Jennings, Queen Mary, collage of London
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Additional info for Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction
It is difﬁcult to grasp why Rousseau thought such sentiments appropriate to a critique of the arts and sciences and a defence of the virtues of ignorance, innocence, and common humanity (P iii 6, 22, 29–30; G 6, 20, 27–8). Nor was he clear as to the precise nature of the contribution which he appeared to be quite simply that the progress of the arts and sciences has been responsible for the debasement of morals, but he also supposed that the arts and sciences were nourished by the indolence, vanity, and luxury to which men aspire and which some enjoy.
Before we acquired the skills and 23 attributes of cultured men, and before our patterns of life came to be moulded by false values and factitious needs, our manners were ‘rustic but natural’. With the birth and dissemination of knowledge, however, our original purity became progressively debased by sophistical taste and custom, by the ‘perﬁdious veil of politeness’, and by ‘all those vicious ornaments’ of fashion, until our pristine virtue had disappeared as if carried away by an ebbing tide (P iii 8, 10, 21; G 7–9, 20).
Henry Fuseli’s frontispiece to his own Remarks on the Writings and Conduct of J. J. Rousseau (London, 1767), depicting Rousseau pointing at Voltaire, astride humanity, with justice and liberty on the gibbet. prematurely, or subjected to exogenous control, by precept or instruction. Rousseau here maps out a genetic account of the spiritual growth of the individual along lines which reﬂect his evolutionary perspective, in the second Discourse, of our passage from a savage to a civilized state, albeit in Emile around images of sentiment and sexuality rather than of reason and authority.