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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2023
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Book description

Montesquieu was among the most influential writers of the eighteenth century, and the study of his thought enriches and complicates our understanding of the Enlightenment. Following renewed interest in his writings over the last three decades, the Cambridge Companion to Montesquieu brings together the variety of disciplinary and interpretive approaches that have shaped the scholarship on his work and legacy. This Companion offers an integrated volume on Montesquieu as philosopher, novelist, historian, economic thinker, political scientist, and political theorist. It introduces readers to key themes and ongoing debates, reflects developments in the field, breaks fresh ground, indicates avenues for future research, and provides multiple perspectives on the relevance of Montesquieu's thought to contemporary problems in political theory.


‘Interest in Montesquieu's nuanced liberalism has surged in recent years across a number of disciplines, and this is now the best and most comprehensive volume on his philosophy. Drawing on a stellar group of scholars and covering the full range of Montesquieu's corpus, it will be an essential starting point for future study and scholarship.'

Dennis Rasmussen - Syracuse University

‘Citizens of a troubled republic are in need of this superb collection of essays by leading authorities on Montesquieu. We need their guidance when casting a skeptical eye on pieties from altars or elites. We need Montesquieu's cold irony, his historical imagination when faced with hypocrisies that he was uniquely able to unmask.'

Margaret C. Jacob - Distinguished Professor of Historical Research, UCLA

‘With incisive contributions from eminent scholars, this expertly edited volume illuminates a tremendous array of the most fundamental concepts and themes across Montesquieu's diverse texts. An essential collection for all those interested in Enlightenment thought and its contemporary legacies.'

Sankar Muthu - University of Chicago

‘An invaluable collection. Surveying the major themes of the Montesquieu's thought – from liberty and virtue to religion and economics - this welcome volume provides a comprehensive introduction to Montesquieu's ideas, as well as a series of crucially-important interventions in contemporary debates over Montesquieu's legacy and his significance for us today. Readers of Montesquieu will long be in debt to this volume's eminent editors and contributors.'

Ryan Patrick Hanley - Boston College

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