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Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

By Robert Wokler, Charles Timbrell (Editor), Bas Rutten (Foreward By), M.D. Gerson Weiss (Editor), Anna Kuzio (Editor) & C. A. Rodger
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Item Specifications...

Pages   171
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.02" Width: 4.52" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 6, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0192801988  
EAN  9780192801982  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
One of the most profound thinkers of modern history, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was a central figure of the European Enlightenment. He was also its most formidable critic, condemning the political, economic, theological, and sexual trappings of civilization along lines that would excite the enthusiasm of romantic individualists and radical revolutionaries alike. In this study of Rousseau's life and works, Robert Wolker shows how his philosophy of history, his theories of music and politics, his fiction, educational, and religious writings, and even his botany, were all inspired by revolutionary ideals of mankind's self-realization in a condition of unfettered freedom. He explains how, in regressing to classical republicanism, ancient mythology, direct communication with God, and solitude, Rousseau anticipated some post-modernist rejections of the Enlightenment as well.

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More About Robert Wokler, Charles Timbrell, Bas Rutten, M.D. Gerson Weiss, Anna Kuzio & C. A. Rodger

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Robert Wokler is based at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University, where he is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science and the Special Program in the Humanities.


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A practical overview  Feb 18, 2008
ALL of the "Very Short Introduction" series offered by Oxford University press are useful, and this is no exception. As a college professor in Humanities, I teach a rolling schedule of courses that cover different periods. Prior to teaching these, I like to review the works of major authors of the periods I will be presenting, as in this case, Rousseau. Each book presents the overview I need to refresh my knowledge, including biographical details and insights on the most important characteristics of their writings and philosophy.
 
Assumes too much and does not deliver on the Rest  May 15, 2007
Rousseau is one of the giants of western thought and also one of the most controversial. Although I am no expert on Rousseau, his influence is too profound in history and current political thought to give him short shrift.

In this (not really too slim) volume, there is much food for thought -- perhaps too much: there is a lot of presumed knowledge of the generation and Rousseau's contemporaries. That, at times, is a little disconcerting and can only be remedied by a good read of contempory thinkers.

Like most contemporary biographies, there is a tendency to deemphasise the major, more popular currents of the subjects thougths. There is also an attempt to get more milage out of his idle reveries... and lesser known works. Not that Emile is one of the lesser works, but much of the volume deals with this work and manages, with critical aplomb, to link these ideas back into the mainstream of Rosseau's political thought, that functioned so much on his critical assumptions of psychology.

I found it hard going at times... I wanted more of a balance in some of the chapters. The writing could be clearer at times, but one could do a lot worse than to choose this volume as their critical introduction to one of the greatest French thinkers.
 

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