Synopses & Reviews
A lively new translation of Rousseau's best-known work, accompanied by additional political writings
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains" are the famous opening words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract
, a work of political philosophy that has stirred vigorous debate ever since its publication in 1762. Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to sovereignty, Rousseau argues instead for a pact—a "social contract"—that should exist among all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of governing power. From this premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a blueprint for totalitarianism, to others a declaration of democratic principles.
Great Ideas... is the right name for these slim, elegant paperbacks... They are written with precision, force, and care. (The Wall Street Journal) Penguin Books hopes to provide an economical remedy for time-pressed readers in search of intellectual sustenance. (USA Today)
This volume brings together three of Rousseau's most important political writings--The Social Contract and The First Discourse (Discourse on the Sciences and Arts) and The Second Discourse (Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality)--and presents essays by major scholars that shed light on these texts.
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world.
Rousseau's explosive cry for human liberty helped to spark the French Revolution and has haunted our discussions of how we should rule one another ever since—seen as both a blueprint for political terror and as a fundamental statement of democracy.
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguins Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of historys most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmakers art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world.
About the Author
(1712–1778) is the author of numerous political and philosophical texts as well as entries on music for Diderot's Encyclopédie
and the novels La nouvelle Héloïse
. Quintin Hoare
has translated from Italian, French, German, Russian, and Bosnian and is a winner of the John Florio Prize, the Scott-Moncrieff Prize, and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize. Christopher Bertram
is a professor of social and political philosophy at the University of Bristol in England. He is the author of Rousseau and the Social Contract
and is a past president of the Rousseau Association.