e all know the stereotype of the professor, sitting alone late at night in a study or library. By the light of a single lamp in an otherwise dark room, the professor flips backward and forward in a book, reading intently, taking notes, pulling down other texts from the shelves, rereading again and again in search of some profound insight.

Such an image may seem quaint, even tedious, but the type of reading described--repeated study, noting points, finding connections--serves the larger goals of the Core Course. This section of the Web site presents passages of Rousseau's text for you to examine. As you read the text that follows, you may explore links between related passages, consult Rousseau's notes, or consider Voltaire's biting, and often very funny, attacks.

We hope that this reading practice will suggest how works like Rousseau's are packed with information. Each phrase or reference can open new avenues to explore. As you read, take notes about:

--Joe Essid, Department of English