Jean-Jacques Rousseau (3689 words)

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Rousseau's insistence that his life and his writings are inseparable is one of the many ways in which he changes cultural history. He is the creator of the modern genre of autobiography, and the first writer to attend closely to childhood and to the formation of his own sexuality. He is also a leading figure of the French Enlightenment, the philosopher of nature, a major political thinker, a prime theorist of education, the proponent of a new religious sensibility and author of a hugely influential novel. Celebrated and reviled in his own time, he will be later adopted by the French Revolution as the martyr of virtue and by Romanticism as the hero of feeling. Originating perhaps both the idea of social determinism (we are what society …

Citation: Howells, Robin. "Jean-Jacques Rousseau". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 June 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3865, accessed 22 January 2020.]

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