Title: Benjamin Constant and the Post-Revolutionary...
Publication Date: 1991
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition.
FONTANA, BIANCAMARIA. Benjamin Constant and the PostRevolutionary Mind. Yale University Press, 1991. 165 pp., 1st ed., v.g.+/no d.j. Bookseller Inventory # 45762
Synopsis: The Swiss writer and political theorist Benjamin Constant was a key figure in the early 19th century attempt to come to terms with the new political world created by the French Revolution of 1789. In this book, Biancamaria Fontana presents an overview of Constant's life and writings, showing the unity of his vision and exploring analogies between the issues he discussed and those that confront modern democratic states today. According to Fontana, Constant indicated the principles and designed the constitutional arrangements best suited for a new society that was to be ruled by popular sovereignty and direct political representationa nd oriented toward economic growth and social equality. What made Constant's contribution unique, was the fact that he did not confine himself to investigating the social and political characteristics of the new order, but explored its implications from the perspective of individual existential experience. In his writings on religion, his literary works, and his journals, he analyzes the changes that the end of the culture of the old regime had brought to the moral, aesthetic, and emotional life of the members of the post-revolutionary society. Constant's intelligence, sensibility, and literary imagination were especially directed toward investigating the strategies that would allow people to operate individually and collectively in this new world without apparent rules, in which escaping from the tyranny of dogmatism and absolute authority meant confronting the new dangers of solipsism, moral relativism, and alienation. Fontana shows how Constant accepted the challenge of the new condition, exposing its precariousness and contradictions as well as its hopes and rewards.
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