Diderot and Rousseau: Networks of Enlightenment

Marian Hobson

Edited by Kate E. Tunstall and Caroline Warman

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ISBN: 9780729410113

Publication: April 5, 2011

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 2011:04

In the USA? Buy the Paperback US edition
Marian Hobson’s work has made a seminal contribution to our understanding of the European Enlightenment, and of Diderot and Rousseau in particular. This book presents her most important articles in a single volume, translated into English for the first time.

Hobson’s distinctive approach is to take a given text or problématique and position it within its intellectual, historical and polemical context. From close analysis of the underlying conceptual structures of literary texts, she offers a unique insight into the vibrant networks of people and ideas at work throughout Europe, and across disciplinary boundaries as diverse as literature and mathematics, medicine and music.

In their translations of Hobson’s essays, Kate Tunstall and Caroline Warman present the primary sources in both the original eighteenth-century French and modern English, making the detail of these debates accessible to everyone, from the specialist to the student, whatever their academic discipline or interest.

Kate E. Tunstall and Caroline Warman, Opening lines

1. Introduction. From Diderot to Rousseau via Rameau (2005)

I. The Paradoxe sur le comédien
2. The Paradoxe sur le comédien is a paradox (1973)
3. Sensibility and spectacle: the medical context for the Paradoxe (1977)

II. Le Neveu de Rameau
4. Pantomime, spasm and parataxis: Le Neveu de Rameau (1984) 
5. Deictics and dialectics in Le Neveu de Rameau (1992)
6. Lists, parataxis and Le Neveu de Rameau (1995)

III. Causality
7. Jacques le fataliste: the art of the probable (1985)
8. ‘Nexus effectivus’ and ‘nexus finalis’; causality in Rousseau’s Discours sur l’inégalité and the Essai sur l’origine des langues (1992)

IV. Aesthetics
9. Philosophy and Rococo style (2002)
10. Diderot’s Lettre sur les sourds et muets: language and labyrinth (1976)
11. Kant, Rousseau and music (1980)

V. Measurement
12. Architecture, analogy and proportion (1991)
13. How to take the measure of a character (2002)
14. Measuring statues, or, special neutrality (2004)



Written in French, Hobson’s early articles from the 1970s played a major role in the new reading of key Enlightenment texts that emerged in the wake of post-structuralism and in particular the work of Jacques Derrida. It is a pleasure to read them again in Tunstall and Warman;s fine translations. They are as acute and relevant today as ever. […] I would argue that Hobson’s readings exemplify ‘deconstructive’ reading at its best: philosophically rigorous, historically precise, and attuned to the text in all its multifarious affiliations and subcurrents.
- French Studies

This is an inspiring volume that has much to teach scholars of the Enlightenment hailing from a broad range of disciplines.
- H-France Review

…plus qu’une simple collection d’articles, le volume permet d’apprécier, pour ainsi dire "de haut", la cohérence de la carrière de Marian Hobson, et de prendre la mesure de la considérable contribution qu’elle laisse aux études diderotiennes.
- Recherches sur Diderot et l’Encyclopédie

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 × 384 mm

385 Pages

Copyright: © 2011

ISBN: 9780729410113

Publication: April 5, 2011

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 2011:04

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