The Social Contract and the Discourses (Hardcover)
Two works in one volume
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the first, and the most eloquent and versatile, of that extraordinary line of radical modern thinkers who aimed their disenchantment at the very roots of the human social order and thereby forever reshaped the way we deal with one another. Of Rousseau’s many contributions to the tradition he inaugurated, the one for which he is most revered and that makes these pages glow with conviction is his passionate indignation about anything that trammels individual freedom.
This revised edition of G. D. H. Cole’s celebrated translation includes an appendix of sections from the first manuscript draft of The Social Contract and the passage in Rousseau’s novel Émile in which he summarizes its argument, along with Cole’s original preface, which has itself become a classic.
Translated by G. D. H. Cole
Revised and augmented by J. H. Brumfitt and John C. Hall
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought. Rousseau's novel Emile, or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings - his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker - exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. He argued that private property was conventional and the beginning of true civil society. Rousseau was a successful composer of music, who wrote seven operas as well as music in other forms, and made contributions to music as a theorist. As a composer, his music was a blend of the late Baroque style and the emergent Classical fashion, and he belongs to the same generation of transitional composers as Christoph Willibald Gluck and C.P.E. Bach. One of his more well-known works is the one-act opera Le devin du village, containing the duet "Non, Colette n'est point trompeuse" which was later rearranged as a standalone song by Beethoven. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophes among members of the Jacobin Club. Rousseau was interred as a national hero in the Pantheon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death..
About the Author
Alan Ryan is Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including Social Explanation, Justice, and Essays on Thomas Hobbes, all published by Oxford.
“The Social Contract has beguiled generations of readers since its first publication in 1762 . . . In any competition for the best-known line in political literature The Social Contract’s ‘man is born free but
is everywhere in chains’ holds a commanding lead.”
—from the Introduction by Alan Ryan