I first read Jon Elster as an undergraduate – Barbara Goodwin recommended his books Sour Grapes and Ulysses and the Sirens in her political theory class. Elster is also known as an analytical Marxist in works like Making Sense of Marx. But I’ve been trying to track down a (reasonably priced) copy of his first book, Leibniz et la formation de l’esprit capitaliste for some time. And now I have one. The internet makes this easier than it used to be, but this one was something of a challenge. In fact, the place I ordered it from charged me, and then sent a message saying they were finding it hard to track down a copy but then, instead of cancelling the order, which I’d expected, they sent another message to say that they had found one, and it was on its way.
The British Library has a copy, which I’d looked at before – it has a very good discussion of Leibniz’s work in the Harz mountains that I used when I was writing the ‘Fossils’ paper/chapter.
But as my interest in Leibniz continues, especially in what I’m calling ‘Another Leibniz’ to the dominant readings of his work, this a book I wanted to be able to refer to more often.
It was, as far as I can tell, never translated into English. There was a 1975 publication by Elster called Leibniz and the Development of Economic Rationality, but that’s only a 20 page pamphlet. A shame this isn’t better known or more widely available.