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In 1766, Scottish philosopher David Hume helped the radical Swiss intellectual Jean-Jacques Rousseau find asylum in England; a few months later, the volatile philosopher accused his benefactor of masterminding a murky conspiracy against him and triggered a virulent response. The argument had nothing to do with philosophy (or Rousseau's dog), but, as in their well-received Wittgenstein's Poker, the authors use the dispute as a pretext for an engaging rundown of the two thinkers' great ideas—with a big swig of human interest to wash down the philosophical morsels. Their (sometimes excessively) detailed, meandering account of the feud points to something larger: the contrast between the affable, urbane rationalist Hume and the moody, paranoid, emotionally overwrought Rousseau prefigures, they believe, the shift from the Enlightenment cult of reason to the Romantic cult of feeling. The authors widen their vivid portraits of the antagonists into a panorama of the cross-Channel intellectual community that refereed the squabble, taking in the ancien régime salons and their brilliant hostesses and the London and Paris streets where visiting philosophers were mobbed like rock stars. The result is an absorbing cultural history of the republic of letters in its exuberant youth. (Mar.)
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“A detailed and fascinating reexamination of this story by David Edmonds and John Eidinow.” (New York Review of Books)
“Sprightly and accessible . . . David Edmonds and John Eidinow have heightened intellectual feuds beyond the shallows of anecdote.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“As we’ve come to expect from Edmunds and Eidinow, their analysis of the personalities in question is sharp and engaging.” (Los Angeles Times)
“An enthralling account of a trifling provocation inflated to epic proportions.” (Kirkus Reviews)
I first started reading this book several years ago and I quit it after about 50 pages. I attributed it to the fact that I wasn't familiar with the time period, I was reading it... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Igor Faynshteyn
This story has a moral that will be true for all time: you bring a madman into your house at your own peril.Published 22 months ago by R A Cooper
Pretty mediocre book restating well known facts regarding Rousseau's split with David Hume...I expected more! Well, if Amazon asks me for five more words, here they are!Published 23 months ago by Dr. Michael J. Storek
ROUSSEAU'S DOG: Two Great Thinkers at War in the Age of Enlightenment (a Harper Perennial paperback)
Lord, will the madness never stop? Now this! Read more
The "research" for this book appears to come almost exclusively from Mossner's excellent biography of Hume written in the 1950's. Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by Adrian Heathcote
I was disappointed with Rousseau's Dog, not because it largely ignored the philosophies made famous by the two gentlemen at the heart of the story - Jean-Jaques Rousseau and David... Read morePublished on October 9, 2011 by Timothy McNeil
Is there in all the world a sillier spectacle than that of two intellectuals in a public dogfight? Any reader of academic journals must be familiar with that kind of thing, but the... Read morePublished on May 20, 2009 by DAVID BRYSON
First, a note or two about some other comments about this book as philosophy or not.
Edmonds and Eidenow don't make that claim, any blurbs aside. Read more