Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Music

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Michael O'Dea
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) had a career as a musician that was important to him and of interest to his contemporaries. He was well known in his lifetime as a composer, a music theorist and polemicist and for part of his life earned a living as a music copyist.

Rousseau as Composer

Rousseau as Composer

Rousseau’s opera Le Devin du village (1752-53) [The Village Soothsayer] contributed almost as much to his contemporary reputation as his prose writings. The plot, simple and lightly sentimental, concerns a young woman, Colette, who seeks advice from le devin du village [the village soothsayer] because she fears her beloved has been distracted from her by a lady of high rank. The soothsayer’s advice allows her to win back her Colin and all ends happily. Lasting less than an hour, the

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Citation: O'Dea, Michael. "Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Music". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 October 2022 [, accessed 15 June 2024.]

19688 Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Music 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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