Ron's Reviews > Rousseau's Dog: Two Great Thinkers at War in the Age of Enlightenment

Rousseau's Dog by David Edmonds
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's review
May 08, 2009

really liked it
Read in May, 2009

A study of the dust up between two of Europe's brightest thinkers in the 1760s, David Hume and JJ Rousseau. Its a terrfic example of historical research, with emphasis on the actual correspondence not only between the two, but amongst the men and women of letters of the time. The heavy reliance on quotation from these various letters has the effect of painting a vivid picture the era. The story of the fight itself is mostly unremarkable - Hume found himself working to secure a safe haven in England for the oft-persecuted and less than grateful Rousseau - and presented as unabashedly pro-Rousseau. The authors go to great lengths to contrast the two protagonists personalities, sometimes reducing Hume to a caricature, when their respective writings would have served to make the point better. But the structure of the book - a laser focus on a very small period of time, described from multiple points of view - is very effective for this kind of story. I enjoyed it and will read more from these gents.

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