French poet, was
See also:born at
See also:Paris on the 6th of
See also:April 1671; he died at Brussels on the 17th of
See also:March 1741 . The son of a shoemaker, he was well educated and early gained favour with Boileau, who encouraged him to write . He began with the theatre, for which he had no aptitude . A one-
See also:comedy, Le Cafe, failed in 1694, and he was not much happier with a more ambitious
See also:play, Le Flatteur (1696), or with the
See also:opera of
See also:Venus et
See also:Adonis (1697) . He tried in 1700 another comedy, Le Capricieux, which had the same
See also:fate . He then went with Tallard as an attache to
See also:London, and, in days when literature still led to high position, seemed likely to achieve success . His misfortunes began with a
See also:club squabble at the Cafe
See also:Laurent, which was much frequented by
See also:literary men, and where
See also:Rousseau indulged in lampoons on his companions . A shower of libellous and sometimes obscene verses was written by or attributed to him, and at last he was turned out of the cafe . At the same
See also:time his poems, as yet only singly printed or in
See also:manuscript, acquired him a
See also:great reputation, due to the dearth of genuine lyrical
See also:poetry between Racine and Chenier . He had in 17or been made a member of the Academie
See also:des inscriptions; he had been offered, though he had not accepted, profitable places in the revenue department; he had become a favourite of the libertine but influential coterie of the
See also:Temple; and in 1710 he presented himself as a
See also:candidate for the Academie francaise . Then began the second
See also:chapter of an extraordinary
See also:history of the animosities of authors . A copy of verses, more offensive than ever, was handed
See also:round, and gossip maintained that Rousseau was its author .
Legal proceedings of various kinds followed, and Rousseau ascribed the
See also:lampoon to
See also:Joseph Saurin . In 1712 Rousseau was prosecuted for
See also:defamation of character, and, on his non-appearance in
See also:court, was condemned
See also:par contumace to perpetual
See also:exile . He spent the
See also:rest of his
See also:life in
See also:foreign countries except for a clandestine visit to Paris in 1738, refusing to accept the permission to return which was offered him in 1716 because it was not accompanied by
See also:complete rehabilitation .
See also:Eugene and then other persons of distinction took him under their
See also:protection during his exile, and he printed at Soleure the first edition of his poetical
See also:works . Voltaire and he met at Brussels in 1722 . Voltaire's Le Pour el le contre is said to have shocked Rousseau, who expressed his sentiments freely . At any
See also:rate the latter had thenceforward no fiercer enemy than Voltaire . His
See also:death elicited from Lefranc de Pompignan an ode of real excellence and perhaps better than anything of Rousseau's own
See also:work . That work is divided, roughly speaking, into two contrasted divisions . One consists of formal and partly sacred odes and cantatas of the stiffest character, of which perhaps the Ode d la
See also:fortune is the most famous; the other of brief epigrams, sometimes licentious and always, or almost always,
See also:ill-natured . As an epigrammatist Rousseau is only inferior to his friend Alexis
See also:Piron . In the former he stands almost alone .
The frigidity of conventional diction and the disuse of all really lyricalrhythm which characterize his
See also:period do not prevent his odes and cantatas from showing at times true poetical
See also:faculty, though cramped, and inadequate to explain his extraordinary vogue . Few writers were so frequently reprinted during the 18th century, but even in his own century La Harpe had arrived at a truer estimate of his real value when he said of his poetry: " Le fond n'est qu'un lieu commun
See also:charge de declamations et meme d'idees fausses." Besides the Soleure edition mentioned above Rousseau published another issue of his work in London in 1723 . The chief edition since is that of J . A . Amar (5 vols., 1820), preceded by a
See also:notice of his life . M . A. de Latour published (1869) a useful though not complete edition, with notes and a
See also:biographical introduction .
JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1633-1693)
JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778)
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