Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812974 / 1554812976
  • 420 pages; 5½" x 8½"
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings

  • Publication Date: February 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554812974 / 1554812976
  • 420 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings includes the Social Contract, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, and “Preface to Narcissus.”

Each text has been newly translated, and includes a full complement of explanatory notes. The editors’ introduction offers students diverse points of entry into some of the distinctive possibilities and challenges of each of these fundamental texts, as well as an introduction to Rousseau’s life and historical situation, from his early years in Geneva to his final years in relative solitude. Each text is accompanied by images from the original editions. The volume also includes annotated appendices that help students to explore the origins and influences of Rousseau’s work, including excerpts from Hobbes, Pascal, Descartes, Mandeville, Diderot, Voltaire, Madame de Staël, Benjamin Constant, Joseph de Maistre, Kant, Hegel, and Engels.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts
Notes on the Translations

First Discourse: On the Sciences and the Arts
Preface to Narcissus, or the Lover of Himself
Second Discourse: On the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality among Men
On the Social Contract

Appendix A: Points of Departure

  1. From René Descartes, Discourse on Method (1637)
  2. Blaise Pascal, Letter to Monsieur and Madame Périer (24 September 1651)
  3. From Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
  4. From Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1705)
  5. From Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen (1682)

Appendix B: Rousseau and His Contemporaries

  1. From Charles Bordes, Discourse on the Advantages of the Sciences and the Arts (1751)
  2. Charles Bonnet (or “Philopolis”) to Louis de Boissy (25 August 1755)
  3. Denis Diderot, “On Natural Right” (1755)
  4. Voltaire, “Letter to Rousseau” (30 August 1755)
  5. From Adam Smith, “Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review” (1755–56)
  6. From Madame de Staël, Letter V: On the Political Writings of Rousseau (1788)
  7. From Louis-Sébastien Mercier, Preface to the Complete Works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1788–89)

Appendix C: Rousseau and Revolution

  1. From Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, “What is the Third Estate?” (1789)
  2. French National Assembly, “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” (1789)
  3. From Joseph Lakanal, Report on Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1794)
  4. From Joseph de Maistre, On the Sovereignty of the People: An Anti-Social Contract (1794–95)
  5. From Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to all Governments (1815)

Appendix D: Rousseau’s Political Legacies

  1. From Immanuel Kant, “Notes … on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime” (1764–65) and Dreams of a Spirit-Seer (1766)
  2. From J. G. Fichte, The Science of Rights (1796–97)
  3. From G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1821)
  4. From Friedrich Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878)

David Lay Williams is Professor of Political Science at DePaul University. He is the author of Rousseau’s Platonic Enlightenment (2007) and Rousseau’s ‘Social Contract’: An Introduction (2014), as well as co-editor of The General Will: The Evolution of a Concept (2015).

Matthew W. Maguire is Associate Professor of History and Catholic Studies at DePaul University. He is the author of The Conversion of the Imagination: From Pascal through Rousseau to Tocqueville (2006) and Carnal Spirit: The Revolutions of Charles Péguy (2018).

Ian Johnston is Emeritus Professor at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia.