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Imperfect Garden:
The Legacy of Humanism
Tzvetan Todorov

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"Tzvetan Todorov's timely book centers on examinations of French thinkers of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries--Montaigne, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Constant--but its importance extends well beyond these canny analyses and the particular culture they probe. Imperfect Garden is a moving defense of humanism, an eloquent articulation of its central values of freedom, responsibility, and decency. There is nothing facile about this defense: Todorov enables us to see the fragility, fault lines, and complexity of secular, democratic thought. But by the close of this richly thoughtful study, the whole project of modernity has been clarified and powerfully reaffirmed."--Stephen Greenblatt

"Imperfect Garden is a splendid defense of moderate humanism. Tzvetan Todorov carefully reads older French thinkers--Montaigne, Descartes, Montesquieu, and Rousseau--to find a solution to modernity's predicaments. While rejecting twentieth-century overconfidence in the human ability to invent its future (an overconfidence that has led to catastrophe), Todorov remains a strong defender of human autonomy, of respect for the Other, and of the universality of human values."--Thomas Pavel

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File created: 4/17/2014

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