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Works #10: Letter to Dalembert and Writings for the Theaterby Jean Jacques Rousseau
Synopses & Reviews
In 1758, Jean Le Rond d'Alembert proposed the public establishment of a theater in Geneva--and Jean-Jacques Rousseau vigorously objected. Their exchange, collected in volume ten of this acclaimed series, offers a classic debate over the political importance of the arts. As these two leading figures of the Enlightenment argue about censorship, popular versus high culture, and the proper role of women in society, their dispute signals a declaration of war that divided the Enlightenment into contending factions. These two thinkers confront the contentious issues surrounding public support for the arts through d'Alembert's original proposal, Rousseau's attack, and the first English translation of d'Alembert's response as well as correspondence relating to the exchange. <BR>The volume also contains Rousseau's own writings for the theater, including plays and libretti for operas, most of which have never been translated into English. Among them, Le Devin du village was the most popular French opera of the eighteenth century while his late work Pygmalion is a profound meditation on the relation between an artist and his creation. This volume offers English readers a unique opportunity to appreciate Rousseau's writings for the theater as well as his attack on the theater as a public institution.
Book News Annotation:
The goal of this series is to present Rousseau's collected works in English, either by creating new translations, or reprinting earlier ones. In this volume, the "Letter to d'Alembert" and the "Geneva" article (by d'Alembert) are translations by the late Allan Bloom (formerly U. of Chicago), originally printed in Politics and the Arts by Simon and Schuster in 1960 (and somewhat edited for this edition). Rousseau's plays, operas, and a collection of correspondence he wrote concerning the "Letter to d'Alembert" were translated and edited by Christopher Kelly (political science, Boston College), except for The death of Lucretia, translated by Charles E. Butterworth (government and politics, U. of Maryland, College Park). An introduction describes the history of the works included and their place in Rousseau's oeuvre.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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