Frederick C. Beiser (2011) has recently written that ‘[i]t is the ideal and obligation of every genuine philosophical historian to be original, to get beyond the standard curriculum, to resist the pressure of pedagogical interests and intellectual fashions, so that he can give an accurate account of the depth and breadth of an historical period’. In this volume we will use the ‘monadology’, perhaps one of the most well known metaphysical systems in the history of philosophy, as a focus in order to present a largely unknown and surprising story of the history of philosophy. According to the received view, Kant’s critical revolution put an end to the kind of metaphysics of which the monadology is the example par excellence. This volume will challenge this view and provide a far more nuanced version of philosophy’s ‘post-Kantian’ tradition, spanning from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth-century, by bringing to light a rich tradition of new monadologists, many of whom have been unjustifiably forgotten by contemporary historians of philosophy. Through this complex dialogue, the ‘monadology’ will be shown to be a remarkably fecund hypothesis allowing for many possible variations and developments. By focusing on the monadology, therefore, the depth and breadth of the post-Kantian period will be exposed in an original and previously unexplored way therefore opening up numerous avenues for future research. Crucially, however, the papers in this volume will not only show that monadological metaphysics did continue after Kant, but ask the critical question whether it should have done so too. Consequently, the question whether monadological metaphysics could also have a future will be shown to be relevant in a way that was previously almost inconceivable.
 This introductory overview comprises (i) a brief account of Leibniz's own monadology; (ii) a discussion of the reception of his philosophy up to Kant; and (iii) a short overview of the monadologies developed after Kant's first Critique, made via a summary of key points raised in the papers in this guest issue, highlighting recurrent themes, which include questions of historiography.
 In this article I argue that in his 1838 De l’habitude, Félix Ravaisson uses the analysis of habit to defend a Leibnizian monadism. Recent commentators have failed to appreciate this because they read Ravaisson as a typically post-Kantian philosopher, and underemphasize the distinct context in which he developed his work. I explore three key claims made by interpreters who argue that Ravaisson should be read as a Schellingian, and show [i] that these claims are incompatible with the text of De l’habitude and [ii] how they have obscured from view the monadism at the heart of this work. This article is divided into two sections. First, I explain the importance of Victor Cousin and Maine de Biran for the development of nineteenth-century French philosophy. Second, I argue that to understand the structure of De l’habitude, it should be read as a critique of Cousin’s philosophical method and a demonstration of the superiority of Biran’s Leibniz-inspired introspective method. Like Biran, Ravaisson believes that the introspective method leads to a pluralist metaphysics of forces, but he uses the introspective analysis of habit to go further back to Leibniz than Biran does and develops a pluralist substance metaphysics.
 In France during the nineteenth century the production of new editions, interpretations, and expositions of early modern philosophical texts was a flourishing activity. However, it is important to recognise when examining the scholarly works of this period that such interpretation and exposition was almost never produced without an agenda. A favourable interpretation of one of the giants of early modern philosophy that shows them to be the natural ‘father’ of one’s own philosophical perspective could act as a significant legitimation of this view and, consequently, could become a weapon in philosophical combat. In this chapter I argue that Maine de Biran’s interpretation of Leibniz, and in particular his 1819 Exposition de la doctrine philosophique de Leibniz, should be partially understood in this spirit. I show that the importance of Biran’s selective Leibnizianism is clear already in the 1811 Copenhagen treatise; however, it gains added significance in the 1819 text since he, I argue, uses his selective interpretation as a defence of his own position and critiques the remaining aspects of Leibniz’s philosophy to demonstrate the weaknesses of another philosophical position developed by one of Biran’s contemporaries: the ‘young professor’ Victor Cousin. Furthermore, even after Biran’s death in 1824, this strategic encounter with Leibniz turned out to be crucial for the development of nineteenth-century French thought. Not only did Biran present an alternative spiritualism to Cousin’s eclecticism (which was to become the orthodox philosophy of the State), he correctly identified its major faults, and left the seeds for its eventual overthrow. Understood as such, therefore, we can recognize the vital historical role played by Biran’s short Exposition de la philosophie de Leibniz. It was in part responsible for a significant change of direction in French philosophy and its influence can be recognised in a lineage that passes through Félix Ravaisson, Pierre Leroux, Émile Boutroux, Henri Bergson, to Gilles Deleuze.