Voltaire and Rousseau are two of the most important thinkers in the whole of Western Civilization. They both lived in the middle of the Eighteenth Century and they knew each other and each other's work. They wrote to each other and about each other and one could suggest without distorting things that their dialogue is essentially the dialogue that all of Western Civilization was having with itself in mid century. The change from the world of Voltaire to the world of the upstart Rousseau was the change that would usher in Romanticism and would change the way the West was thinking forever. We will read a beautiful essay on nature by Rousseau. His ideas changed how people thought about nature and his ideas still dominate our modern vision of nature.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Reveries of the Solitary Walker,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140443630