This book rescues Joubert from the ranks of minor French moralistes, and, by tracing the development of his thought from his time as secretary to Diderot through to the period of his association with Chateaubriand, demonstrates that he was a writer on aesthetics of considerable sensitivity. Examination of his manuscripts and of his annotation to books in his library shows that Joubert's primary concern, during the period that witnessed the
gradual but profound change from the intellectual values of the Enlightenment to those of the Romantic period, was to establish the status and nature of art and poetry. Reading widely among philosophers
and poets from Plato and Homer to Kant and André Chénier, Joubert consigned his thoughts and perceptions to a series of carnets which form the basis of this study and bear witness to an unusually eclectic and enquiring mind. Joubert's significance is not confined to the Enlightenment and Romantic periods. He is unique among writers of his day in the way that his own interrogation of the very act of writing anticipates the aesthetic of later, highly
influential writers such as Mallarmé.
`the first really scholarly book about Joubert in English ... David Kinloch has made a heroic effort to put the pieces, and the thoughts, into order.'
Times Literary Supplement
'Kinloch's style is lively and incisive, with flashes of humour as he discusses the background to Joubert's aesthetics. Kinloch has given us a very good preface to a future critical edition of the Carnets, for which this study lays the groundwork.'
Dennis Wood. University of Birmingham. French Studies. Vol 48
`Kinloch's splendid introduction and aesthetic ideas in The Thought and Art of Joseph Joubert is based on his comprehensive reading of Joubert's Carnets...Kinloch can present us with a more detailed and more coherent version of Joubert's Neoplatonnism and his thinking about art, including his own, than had previously been available to anyone with only printed sources to go by.'