Robert Wokler was one of the world's leading experts on Rousseau and the Enlightenment, but some of his best work was published in the form of widely scattered and difficult-to-find essays. This book collects for the first time a representative selection of his most important essays on Rousseau and the legacy of Enlightenment political thought. These essays concern many of the great themes of the age, including liberty, equality and the origins of revolution. But they also address a number of less prominent debates, including those over cosmopolitanism, the nature and social role of music and the origins of the human sciences in the Enlightenment controversy over the relationship between humans and the great apes. These essays also explore Rousseau's relationships to Rameau, Pufendorf, Voltaire and Marx; reflect on the work of important earlier scholars of the Enlightenment, including Ernst Cassirer and Isaiah Berlin; and examine the influence of the Enlightenment on the twentieth century.
One of the central themes of the book is a defense of the Enlightenment against the common charge that it bears responsibility for the Terror of the French Revolution, the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth-century and the Holocaust.
Robert Wokler (1942-2006) was at the time of his death Senior Lecturer in Political Science and in the Directed Studies program at Yale University. He was formerly Reader in the History of Political Thought at the University of Manchester. He was the author of Rousseau on Society, Politics, Music and Language and Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction. He was also the editor or coeditor of many books, including The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, Diderot: Political Writings, The Enlightenment and Modernity and Inventing Human Science.
Foreword: Bryan Garsten vii Introduction: Christopher Brooke ix Acknowledgements xv Abbreviations Used in Citations of Rousseau's Work xvii Chapter 1. Perfectible Apes in Decadent Cultures: Rousseau's Anthropology Revisited 1 Chapter 2. Rites of Passage and the Grand Tour: Discovering, Imagining and Inventing European Civilization in the Age of Enlightenment 29 Chapter 3. Rousseau on Rameau and Revolution 46 Chapter 4. Vagabond Reverie 68 Chapter 5. The Enlightenment Hostilities of Voltaire and Rousseau 80 Chapter 6. Rousseau's Pufendorf: Natural Law and the Foundations of Commercial Society 88 Chapter 7. Rousseau's Reading of the Book of Genesis and the Theology of Commercial Society 113 Chapter 8. The Manuscript Authority of Political Thoughts 121 Chapter 9. Preparing the Definitive Edition of the Correspondance de Rousseau 136 Chapter 10. Rousseau's Two Concepts of Liberty 154 Chapter 11. The Enlightenment and the French Revolutionary Birth Pangs of Modernity 185 Chapter 12. Rousseau and Marx 214 Chapter 13. Ernst Cassirer's Enlightenment: An Exchange with Bruce Mazlish 233 Chapter 14. Isaiah Berlin's Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment 244 Chapter 15. Projecting the Enlightenment 260 Notes 279 Bibliography of the Published Work of Robert Wokler 363 Index 375