One of the pioneers of comparative literary studies and a founder of Germanistik, Johann Gottfried Herder has long been acclaimed as a major literary scholar. His reputation among philosophers, however, has not always been unassailable. While the Nazi ideologists celebrated him as a creator of modern nationalism (having grossly misinterpreted his ideas about national language and culture), in the post–World War II philosophy, after Isaiah Berlin portrayed him as one of the three major critics of the Enlightenment (along with Giambattista Vico and J. G. Hamann), Herder reemerged as a controversial figure. Kristin Gjesdal’s new monograph reflects an increasingly influential counter-tendency aimed at recovering Herder’s legacy as an enlightenment thinker in a broader sense of the term. As Gjesdal points out in the introduction, although Herder was an outspoken critic of certain branches of rationalist-school philosophy (particularly those developed by the...

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