Inventing Human Rights

A History

Paperback, 272 pages

English language

Published April 21, 2008 by W. W. Norton.


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How were human rights invented, and how does their tumultuous history influence their perception and our ability to protect them today? From Professor Lynn Hunt comes this extraordinary cultural and intellectual history, which traces the roots of human rights to the rejection of torture as a means for finding the truth. She demonstrates how ideas of human relationships portrayed in novels and art helped spread these new ideals and how human rights continue to be contested today.

1 edition


  • History of specific subjects
  • Human rights
  • History
  • History - General History
  • History: World
  • Modern - 18th Century
  • Political Freedom & Security - Civil Rights
  • Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
  • History / Modern / 18th Century