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On Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Considered as One of the First Authors of the Revolution (Atopia: Philosophy, Political Theory, Aesthetics)
On Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Considered as One of the First Authors of the Revolution (Atopia: Philosophy, Political Theory, Aesthetics) by James Swenson 0804735557 9780804735551
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On Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Considered as One of the First Authors of the Revolution (Atopia: Philosophy, Political Theory, Aesthetics) by James Swenson

In order to grasp what it means to call Rousseau an author of the Revolution, as so many revolutionaries did, it is necessary to take full measure of the difficulties of literary interpretation to which Rousseaus work gives rise, particularly around such a charged term as author. On Jean-Jacques Rousseau shows that Rousseaus texts consistently generate a division in their own reading, a division both designated and masked by the fiction of authorship. These divisions can occur successivelyas in the narrative reversals and discontinuities characteristic of Rousseaus fictional and autobiographical worksor simultaneously, in the form of incompatible attempts to apply the lessons of a single text to an urgent historical moment. Given the structure of these texts, their influence can only occur in an equally paradoxical form. Rousseaus contribution to revolutionary thinking lies in his conceptualization of the constitutive function of misunderstanding and narrative discontinuity, in history and political action as well as in literature. Such misunderstandings and discontinuities are particularly well illustrated by the vicissitudes of the reading of Rousseaus texts during the revolutionary period, a moment when readings occurred as political programs. The Revolution enacted Rousseau precisely to the extent that revolutionaries could not agree on what action he called for. He is one of the first authors of the Revolution not because he was one of its causes, but because he provided the terms in which the logic of the revolutionary process becomes intelligible.

Author: James Swenson

Language: English

Edition: 1

Binding: Hardcover

Pages: 344

Publisher: Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 2000-03-01

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ISBN: 0804735557


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James Swenson (Edition: 1) Hardcover


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