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Faculty members offer new translation of Rousseau writings

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings

Edited by: David Lay Williams, Department of Political Science; Matthew Maguire, Department of History

This classroom edition of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s political writings includes On the Social Contract, the Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, the Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, and the Preface to Narcissus. Each text has been newly translated and includes a full complement of explanatory notes. The introduction also 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. 

What inspired you to write this book? 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Fundamental Political Writings
(Image courtesy of Broadview Press)

As DePaul colleagues with a shared consuming interest in Rousseau’s political philosophy, the opportunity to work together on a project of mutual interest, once presented, was too appealing to pass up. While there also are many collections of Rousseau's political writings, no other offered the opportunity to engage both Rousseau's influences and those he influenced himself. This Broadview series presented a chance to offer a greater intellectual context than is typically available to first-time readers of Rousseau.

Persuade someone to read your book in less than 50 words: 

Of enormous historical consequence in his own times, Rousseau's observations about human nature, social and economic inequality, the arts and sciences, the nature of social bonds, and the obligations of citizenship are arguably more important now than ever.

About the editors:

David Lay Williams is a professor of political science at DePaul. Professor Williams teaches and conducts research in political theory, especially the history of political thought. He has twice held research fellowships at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, and in 2012-13, he held a faculty fellowship at the DePaul Humanities Center. He also writes short pieces connecting the history of political thought to contemporary political concerns for outlets such as the Washington Post's Monkey Cage and Bloomberg News.

Matthew W. Maguire is an associate professor of history and Catholic studies at DePaul University. He is a European intellectual historian by training, and has devoted his research and writing to modern European intellectual history. His first book, “The Conversion of Imagination,” explored how an important tradition in modern philosophy, cultural reflection and literature identifies imagination as a preeminent faculty to account for and work through theological, philosophical, psychological, political and moral questions.

Publisher, publication date, length:

Broadview Press, March 2018, 393 pages

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