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Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music
Jean Jacques Rousseau; John T. Scott, trans.; John T. Scott, ed.

Collected Writings of Rousseau

1998 • 658 pp. 2 illus. 5 tables. Musical examples. 6 x 9"
Philosophy / Literary Criticism - French / Music

$65.00 Paperback, 978-1-58465-800-9
$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-127-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Trans. from the French

“The volume shows that his work on music is not a by-way but belongs to the mainstream of his thought. For Rousseau, the volume shows, music is inseperable from... [continued in Reviews below]”—Choice

Rousseau's major works, available for the first time in a uniform English edition, continue with a work that situates Rousseau's linguistic and musical theory within his larger philosophical system.

"J.J. was born for music," Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote of himself, "not to be consumed in its execution, but to speed its progress and make discoveries about it. His ideas on the art and about the art are fertile, inexhaustible." Rousseau was a practicing musician and theorist for years before publication of his first Discourse, but until now scholars have neglected these ideas.

This graceful translation remedies both those failings by bringing together the Essay, which John T. Scott says "most clearly displays the juncture between Rousseau's musical theory and his major philosophical works," with a comprehensive selection of the musical writings. Many of the latter are responses to authors like Rameau, Grimm, and Raynal, and a unique feature of this edition is the inclusion of writings by these authors to help establish the historical and ideological contexts of Rousseau's writings and the intellectual exchanges of which they are a part.

With an introduction that provides historical background, traces the development of Rousseau's musical theory, and shows that these writings are not an isolated part of his oeuvre but instead are animated by the same "system," this volume fashions a much-needed portal through which literary scholars, musicologists, historians, and political theorists can enter into an important but hitherto overlooked chamber of Rousseau's vast intellectual palace.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“The volume shows that his work on music is not a by-way but belongs to the mainstream of his thought. For Rousseau, the volume shows, music is inseperable from the distinctive expressions of different human cultures and gives voice to the moral passions of the people. A brief but informative survey of the writings provides an excellent introduction to the substance of the volume . . . Invaluable to all serious students of Rousseau.” —Choice

JOHN T. SCOTT, Assistant Professor of Political Science and in the Honors College, University of Houston, is currently completing a book on Rousseau's political theory.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:07:47 -0500