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Recent years have seen a remarkable renewal of interest in the thought of Benjamin Constant (1767–1830). For long recognized as the author of the literary masterpiece Adolphe, Constant is now receiving increasing attention for his political writings. Paperback editions of his major works are presently available in both French and English, helping to establish his growing reputation as a founding father of modern liberalism. Constant's stature as a seminal liberal thinker has benefited from the recent climate of opinion in the Western world and, in particular, from the return to fashion of liberalism as a social and political doctrine. Paradoxically, however, this political climate has also led to some problems, since presentist concerns have left an undeniable imprint on the image we have of Constant.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in Modern Intellectual History. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Rosenblatt, Helena. “Why Constant? A Critical Overview of the Constant Revival." Modern Intellectual History 1, 3 (2004): 439-453] is available online at:



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