'Rousseau: The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings'
By Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Author), Victor Gourevitch (Editor)Purchase Book:
The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is presented in two volumes, which together form the most comprehensive anthology of Rousseau's political writings in English. Volume I contains the earlier writings such as the First and Second Discourses (Discourse on Inequality). The American and French Revolutions were profoundly affected by Rousseau's writing, thus illustrating the scope of his influence.
A contemporary of Voltaire, Rousseau was also a French philosopher who, however, spent much of his time in Switzerland where he wrote most of the works which were to inspire the leaders of the French Revolution. He came from a Calvinist background, but converted to Roman Catholicism. He was also interested in literature and music and wrote the article on music for Diderot's Encyclopedie. He also composed musical pieces though without much success. Later in life Rousseau turned back to Protestantism while living in Geneva which was then the major center of Protestant thought. His most important works are Emile, about education, and a treatise on social contract which caused storms politically and brought much opposition against him. In fact, he was exiled and went to England, returning incognito to Paris where he wrote his famous Confessions and where he died.
Again as in the case of Voltaire, the influence of Rousseau was great not only in the philosophical field but also ilJ practical political move- ments especially the French Revolution, and he was also highly admired by a number of the founders of the United States. Likewise, Rousseau's educational ideas wielded much influence and have been discussed by many Muslim educators during the past century.
(Seyyed Hossein Nasr)