Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Publisher

Duke University Press

Abstract

In a certain respect, nineteenth-century intellectual and political history is the story of the liberal individual and his foes. From conservative Christian thinkers to Socialists to Communists, French intellectuals of the first part of the century were engaged in one long conversation about the individual and his (and later, her) rights, responsibilities, and relationship to society. This conversation was not narrow or singular, as it engaged questions of economic equality, political rights and participation, and gender equity and equality. Socialists of the pre-Marx generation in particular articulated their critique of capitalism and the politics it spawned through their analysis of individualism. These critiques were both explicit and metaphorical. One theme in particular stands out as both puzzling and recurring in the writings of French thinkers throughout the century: androgyny.

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History Commons

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