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.