The Reveries of the Solitary Walker, Botanical Writings, and Letter to Franquieres / Edition 1

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Overview

“I am now alone on earth, no longer having any brother, neighbor, friend, or society other than myself” proclaimed Rousseau in Reveries of the Solitary Walker. Reveries, along with Botanical Writings and Letter to Franquières, were all written at the end of his life, a period when Rousseau renounced his occupation as author and ceased publishing his works. Presenting himself as an unwilling societal outcast, he nonetheless crafted each with a sharp eye on his readership. Whether addressing himself, a mother hoping to interest her child in botany, or a confused young nobleman, his dialogue reflects the needs of his interlocutor and of future readers.

Although very different in style, these three works concern overlapping subjects. Their unity comes from the relation of the other writings to the Reveries, which consists of ten meditative “walks” during which Rousseau considers his life and thought. The third and fourth walks discuss truth, morality, and religious belief, which are the themes of the Letter to Franquières; while the seventh is a lengthy discussion of botany as a model for contemplative activity. The overarching themes of the volume—the relations among philosophic or scientific contemplation, religion, and morality—provide Rousseau’s most intimate and final reflections on the difficulties involved in understanding nature.

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What People Are Saying

TAXON
“We botanists should be indebted to historian Alexandra Cook, not only for her offering such a complete rendition of Rousseau’s botanical writings . . . but also for the translations themselves, her marvelously detailed annotations and editing of the botanical writings, and her coauthored introduction . . . volume 8 on Rousseau’s botanical writings is immensely important to the history of botany and should not be overlooked by biology or botany libraries.”
Taxon
We botanists should be indebted to historian Alexandra Cook, not only for her offering such a complete rendition of Rousseau's botanical writings . . . but also for the translations themselves, her marvelously detailed annotations and editing of the botanical writings, and her coauthored introduction . . . volume 8 on Rousseau's botanical writings is immensely important to the history of botany and should not be overlooked by biology or botany libraries.
The Society for the History of Natural History
“This will be a useful source for anyone who needs to know something about ‘Rousseau’s botany’ and the letters themselves are beautifully fresh and lively, despite the formalities of style.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584650072
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Series: Collected Writings of Rousseau Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER KELLY is professor of political science at Boston College, translator of several other volumes in this series, and author of Rousseau’s Exemplary Life and Rousseau as Author.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Reveries of the Solitary Walker 1
Botanical Writings 91
Fragments for a Dictionary of Terms of Usage in Botany 100
Letters to Mme Madeleine-Catherine Delessert: The So-Called "Elementary Letters on Botany" 130
Further Letters to Mme. Delessert 164
Letters to Margaret Cavendish Harley Bentinck, Duchess of Portland 173
Letters to Pierre Liotard 194
Letters to Pierre-Alexandre Du Peyrou 196
Letters from Abraham Gagnebin to Albrecht von Haller 200
Letters to Pierre-Alexandre Du Peyrou 201
Letters to Dr. Pierre Clappier 204
Letters to Antoine Gouan 209
Letters to Marc-Antoine-Louis Claret de Latourette 214
Letters to Chretien-Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes 228
Letter of Jacob Jonas Bjornstall to Carl Christoffer Gjorwell 242
Letter to Carl von Linne (Carolus Linnaeus) 244
Letter to Andre Thouin 245
Letter to Marc-Michel Rey 246
Letter to Pierre Guy 247
Letter to the Duchess of Portland 248
Letter to the Abbe de Pramont 249
Fragments on Botany 250
Letter to Franquieres 257
Notes 271
Index 339
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