Modern Intellectual History 3 (1):65-73 (2006)

People often seem to forget that Rousseau dedicated his SecondDiscourse to This is a shame because, in doing so, they miss precious clues not only about the meaning of the Discourse itself, but also about its place in Rousseau's political thought as a whole. It is also rather curious, because Rousseau's dedicatory letter to Geneva is actually not so easy to overlook; in the Pléiade edition it takes up more than ten pages of tightly worded text and is thus almost twice as long as Rousseau's more frequently cited that follows it. Ignoring the dedication is, of course, part of a larger and more general problem in Rousseau scholarship: the still widespread tendency to read Rousseau out of historical context and with little concern for his intended meaning
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DOI 10.1017/s1479244305000600
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