Man or Citizen: Anger, Forgiveness, and Authenticity in Rousseau by Karen Pagani

Man or Citizen: Anger, Forgiveness, and Authenticity in Rousseau

byKaren Pagani

Hardcover | April 13, 2015

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The French studies scholar Patrick Coleman made the important observation that over the course of the eighteenth century, the social meanings of anger became increasingly democratized. The work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau is an outstanding example of this change. In Man or Citizen, Karen Pagani expands, in original and fascinating ways, the study of anger in Rousseau’s autobiographical, literary, and philosophical works. Pagani is especially interested in how and to what degree anger—and various reconciliatory responses to anger, such as forgiveness—functions as a defining aspect of one’s identity, both as a private individual and as a public citizen. Rousseau himself was, as Pagani puts it, “unabashed” in his own anger and indignation—toward society on one hand (corrupter of our naturally good and authentic selves) and, on the other, toward certain individuals who had somehow wronged him (his famous philosophical disputes with Voltaire and Diderot, for example). In Rousseau’s work, Pagani finds that the extent to which an individual processes, expresses, and eventually resolves or satisfies anger is very much of moral and political concern. She argues that for Rousseau, anger is not only inevitable but also indispensable, and that the incapacity to experience it renders one amoral, while the ability to experience it is a key element of good citizenship.

About The Author

Karen Pagani is Assistant Professor of French and Italian at the University of Texas at Austin. Karen Pagani is Assistant Professor of French and Italian at the University of Texas at Austin.

Details & Specs

Title:Man or Citizen: Anger, Forgiveness, and Authenticity in RousseauFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.96 inPublished:April 13, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271065907

ISBN - 13:9780271065908

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Extra Content

Table of Contents



Part I. The Political Significance of Forgiveness and Anger in Rousseau’s Thought: The Dialogues as a Case Study

Chapter 1. The Magnanimous Pardon: A Force to be Reckoned With

Chapter 2. The Philosophes’ Plot and the Frenchman’s Anger

Chapter 3. The Productive Capacities of the Citizen’s Anger

Chapter 4. The Frenchman’s Conundrum

Part II. Private, Interpersonal Forgiveness: The Rousseauvean Intervention

Chapter 5. The Confessions: Saint-Lambert and Rousseau’s Miraculous Reconciliation

Chapter 6. Publicized Anger and the Unforgivable: Reconsidering the Story of the Foundling Hospital

Chapter 7. Forgiveness Among Men and Citizens in Julie

Chapter 8. Émile and Sophie: To forgive or not forgive? That is the Question

Conclusion. Forgiveness Today and Rousseau’s Legacy


Editorial Reviews

“While Rousseau’s conception of natural pity has been the focus of numerous studies attending to issues in his social and political thought, neither anger nor forgiveness has been explored in any great depth. Man or Citizen engages with all the important primary and secondary sources and moves nicely between fiction, autobiography, and social and political texts.”

—Julia Simon, author of Rousseau Among the Moderns