Rousseau's Ghost


Set primarily in Paris and Oxford, this fast-paced mystery novel links a long-missing manuscript from a famous eighteenth-century philosopher with a dark secret to a late twentieth-century murder of a prominent Princeton professor.
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Albany, NY 1998 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 206 p. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that ... a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Rousseau's Ghost

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Set primarily in Paris and Oxford, this fast-paced mystery novel links a long-missing manuscript from a famous eighteenth-century philosopher with a dark secret to a late twentieth-century murder of a prominent Princeton professor.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Synthesizing echoes of Poe and state-of-the-art Internet issues, an unlikely plot achieves a tone of lucid, camp humanity in the fiction debut of political scientist Ball (Reappraising Political Theory). New York lawyer Jack Davis reaches Paris to find his old friend, Princeton scholar Ted Porter, dead as a result of a computer short-circuit. Knowing his friend's contempt for computers, Jack smells a rat. Teaming up with Ted's research assistant, Danielle Dupin, Jack airs his suspicions to old Christ Church Oxford tutor Sir Jeremiah Altmann. The octogenarian is equally suspicious and decodes Ted's cryptic note "Inst pol?!?!" as a reference to 18th-century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Institutions Politiques, a larger work, rumored to have been destroyed, from which Rousseau extracted only Le Contrat Social. It seems Ted's conviction that Institutions had survived may have enraged the mysterious Societe de Jean-Jacques, which is devoted to controlling the master's legacy. After a philosophical lull, the plot accelerates to a cinematic action scene, the climax of the struggle to define intellectual property. Although parts are contrived (Danielle is too much the middle-aged man's erotic fantasy, the francophobia and anglophilia naive, and the supposedly brilliant narrator's bewilderment comprehensible only as a ruse), the novel has a winning integrity. (Oct.)
A connection between a long-missing manuscript from a famous 18th- century philosopher with a dark secret, and the late 20th-century murder of a prominent Princeton professor, forms the core of this fast-paced mystery novel. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
The Parisian police tell Jack Davis that his old friend Professor Ted Porter was accidentally electrocuted by a miswired laptop computer. But Jack, summoned to Ted's side by a frantic telegram, knows that Ted hated computers and would never have used one; and Jack's legal secretary and sometime lover Grace Wu, when he ships the offending machine back home to her, discovers that it's been deliberately booby-trapped. So it looks like Ted was murdered, and it looks like Jack is the only person in France who has any interest in tracking down his killerþunless you count the mysterious Danielle Dupin, the entrancing research assistant to whom Ted had dedicated his latest book, the subversive and revelatory study Rousseau's Ghost. As Jack makes his way to Oxford, where he and Ted had been Rhodes Scholars together, and then back to an increasingly dangerous Paris, it becomes clear from Ted's work on Rousseau's lost magnum opus Institutions politiques that author Ball (Political Science/Arizona State) is aiming for a slimmed-down American Name of the Roseþand equally clear that his first novel, which swings from improbable melodrama to heartfelt swipes at deconstructionism and etymological disquisitions on the virtue proper to dogs, owes a lot more to the canons of the academic mystery than to Umberto Eco. Ball's greatest success in bringing Rousseau and his work to life, making it a lot easier to generate the interest in Rousseau readers will need to get immersed in the half-hearted mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791439340
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.74 (d)

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