To be free in this sense, said Rousseau, was to be happy. Originally entitled Lettres de deux amants, habitants d'une petite ville au pied des Alpes, the work was structurally a novel in letters, after the fashion of the English author Samuel Richardson —
Rousseau senior had an equally glorious image of his own importance; after marrying above his modest station as a watchmaker, he got into trouble with the civil authorities by brandishing the sword that his upper-class pretentions prompted him to wear, and he had to leave Geneva to avoid imprisonment.
Rousseau was fortunate in finding in the province of Savoy a benefactorthe baroness de Warenswho provided him with a refuge in her home and employed him as her steward. She also furthered his education to such a degree that the boy who had arrived on her doorstep as a stammering apprentice who had never been to school developed into a philosopher, a man of letters, and a musician.
Her morals distressed Rousseau, even when he became her lover. But she was a woman of taste, intelligence, and energy, who brought out in Rousseau just the talents that were needed to conquer Paris at a time when Voltaire had made radical ideas fashionable.
Rousseau reached Paris when he was 30 and was lucky enough to meet another young man from the provinces seeking literary fame in the capital, Denis Diderot.
Rousseau, the most original of them all in his thinking and the most forceful and eloquent in his style of writing, was soon also the most conspicuous. He went on to write his first important work, a prize essay for the Academy of Dijon entitled Discours sur les sciences et les arts ; A Discourse on the Sciences and the Artsin which he argues that the history of human life on earth has been a history of decay.
Throughout his life he kept returning to the thought that people are good by nature but have been corrupted by society and civilization.
He did not mean to suggest that society and civilization are inherently bad but rather that both had taken a wrong direction and become more harmful as they became more sophisticated.
Many Roman Catholic writers, for example, deplored the direction that European culture had taken since the Middle Ages.
They shared the hostility toward progress that Rousseau had expressed. What they did not share was his belief that people are naturally good. It was, however, just that belief that Rousseau made the cornerstone of his argument. Rousseau may well have received the inspiration for that belief from Mme de Warens; for although she had become a communicant of the Roman Catholic Churchshe retained—and transmitted to Rousseau—much of the sentimental optimism about human purity that she had herself absorbed as a child from the mystical Protestant Pietists who were her teachers in the canton of Bern.
At all events, the idea of human goodness, as Rousseau developed it, set him apart from both conservatives and radicals. His speciality there was musicand it was in this sphere that he first established his influence as a reformer.
Controversy with Rameau The arrival of an Italian opera company in Paris in to perform works of opera buffa comic opera by Giovanni Battista PergolesiAlessandro ScarlattiLeonardo Vinciand other such composers suddenly divided the French music-loving public into two excited camps, supporters of the new Italian opera and supporters of the traditional French opera.
He was the only one to direct his fire squarely at the leading living exponent of French operatic music, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Rousseau and Rameau must at that time have seemed unevenly matched in a controversy about music.
Rousseau, by contrast, was 30 years younger, a newcomer to music, with no professional training and only one successful opera to his credit.
Yet the dispute was not only musical but also philosophical, and Rameau was confronted with a more-formidable adversary than he had realized. Rousseau built his case for the superiority of Italian music over French on the principle that melody must have priority over harmony, whereas Rameau based his on the assertion that harmony must have priority over melody.
By pleading for melody, Rousseau introduced what later came to be recognized as a characteristic idea of Romanticismnamely, that in art the free expression of the creative spirit is more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures.
By pleading for harmony, Rameau reaffirmed the first principle of French Classicismnamely, that conformity to rationally intelligible rules is a necessary condition of art, the aim of which is to impose order on the chaos of human experience.
In music, Rousseau was a liberator. He argued for freedom in music, and he pointed to the Italian composers as models to be followed. European music had taken a new direction. But Rousseau himself composed no more operas.Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born to Suzanne Bernard and Isaac Rousseau on June 28, , in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nine days later his mother died. At the age of three, he was reading French novels with his father, and Jean-Jacques acquired his passion for music from his srmvision.com: Jul 02, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in the independent Calvinist city-state of Geneva in , the son of Isaac Rousseau, a watchmaker, and Suzanne Bernard.
Rousseau’s mother died nine days after his birth, with the consequence that Rousseau was raised and educated by his father until the age of ten. the idea, presented by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that children are inherently good life-span development development from the point in time when life begins until the time it ends.
Rousseau: Judge of Jean Jacques; Historical and Philosophical Influence ; References and Further Reading. Works by Rousseau ; Works about Rousseau ; 1. Life a. Traditional Biography. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born to Isaac Rousseau and Suzanne Bernard in Geneva on June 28, Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland, 28 June, , the second son of Isaac Rousseau, descendant of French Huguenots, and Susanne Bernard (who died a week after he was born).
Young Jean’s Calvinist father went into exile when he was charged with poaching and tried to slash his accuser. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a noted Swiss-born philosopher, writer and composer.
Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his srmvision.com Of Birth: Geneva.