4. From Literature to Politics: How Rousseau Has Come to Symbolize Totalitarianism

  • Christophe Salvat

Abstract

It was widely believed after WW2 that totalitarianism could be traced back to Rousseau’s rationalistic utopia. This idea conveyed, in particular, by Berlin’s Two Concepts of Liberty and  Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, is still popular in some political circles. This article intends, however,  to demonstrate that rather than originating from Kantian readings of the Social Contract, the totalitarian interpretations of Rousseau’s work essentially arose from his literary and autobiographical writings. It is Romanticism, and its alleged political and moral deviances, that is indeed targeted through Rousseau.

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Published
2017-08-15
Section
Articles