Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Best Guide in 2023

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a philosopher, author, and political theorist who was born in Switzerland and died on July 2, 1778, in Ermenonville, France. The authors of the French Revolution and the Romantic era found inspiration in his treatises and novels.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau was one of the most influential modern philosophers but also the least educated. His theories marked the end of the European Enlightenment, also known as the “Age of Reason.”. He created fresh perspectives on politics and ethics. His modifications sparked a revolution in taste, first in music and then in other forms of art. On people’s way of life, he had a big impact. He urged parents to take an interest in their children differently and to educate them that way. Additionally, he encouraged emotional outbursts over polite restraint in friendship and romantic relationships. He exposed those who had rejected religious dogma to the cult of religious sentiment. He inspired admiration for the wonders of nature and made liberty into a nearly universal aspiration.

Young Age

Following the death of his mother while giving birth, Rousseau was raised by his father, who instilled in him the conviction that the city of his birth was a republic as magnificent as Sparta or ancient Rome. to avoid being imprisoned, he was forced to leave Geneva. The older Rousseau also had a magnificent understanding of his own importance. Rousseau’s mother’s family then treated him patronizingly and humiliatingly for six years before Rousseau himself.
He was fortunate to meet a like-minded individual in the province of Savoy in the form of the baroness de Warens, who gave him asylum in her home and hired him as her steward. She continued his education to the point where the apprentice with a stammer who had never attended school had come to her door became a philosopher, a scholar, and a musician.

Controversy Involving Rameau

The new Italian opera and the traditional French opera were supported by opposing factions of the nation’s music-loving populace, respectively. The philosophers of the Encyclopédie, including Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, Diderot, and Paul-Henri Dietrich, baron d’Holbach, entered the conflict as defenders of Italian music, but Rousseau, who had arranged for the publication of Pergolesi’s music in Paris and who knew more about the topic than most Frenchmen after months spent touring the opera houses of Venice during his time as secretary to, stood in opposition. Only Jean-Philippe Rameau, the greatest living French opera singer, was the target of his gunfire.

Rousseau and Rameau must have seemed to be losing the musical argument at the time. As the author of the renowned Traité de l’harmonie (1722; Treatise on Harmony) and other technical works, Rameau, who was already in his 70s, was not only a prolific and successful composer but also Europe’s foremost musicologist. In contrast, Rousseau was untrained in the arts, 30 years younger, new to the music scene, and only recognized for one successful opera. His proposal for a new musical notation was turned down by the Academy of Sciences, and the majority of his musical entries for Diderot’s Encyclopédie were still unpublished.

Rameau, however, discovered that he was facing a more formidable opponent than he had anticipated because the conflict was not only musical but also philosophical. According to Rousseau, melody should come before harmony, in contrast to Rameau’s contention that French music is superior to Italian music. By pleading for melody, Rousseau introduced what would later be viewed as a key idea of Romanticism: the notion that artistic freedom should take precedence over strict adherence to formal guidelines and accepted conventions. Rameau’s call for harmony reaffirmed the central tenet of French Classicism, which maintains that the goal of art is to impose order on the disarray of human experience and that art must abide by rules that are rationally comprehensible.

Political Philosophy

Rousseau began to reflect on some of the austere lessons he had learned as a youngster in the Calvinist republic of Geneva as he went through what he called his “reform,” or development of his own character. He did make the decision to return there, to renounce his Catholicism, and to submit an application for readmission to the Protestant church. In the interim, Thérèse Levasseur, a laundry maid without a formal education, had become his mistress. To the surprise of his friends, he brought her with him to Geneva while pretending to be a nurse. Because of his literary success, which had made him feel extremely welcome in a city that took great pride in both its culture and morals, Rousseau was quickly re-admitted into the Calvinist communion despite the fact that her presence caused some to raise an eyebrow.

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