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WORLD 28 Jun 2012 Jean-Jacques Rousseau tercentenary observed globally
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva on 28 Jun 1712, became a towering figure in the Age of Enlightenment. But for being born in

June 28, 2012 - NULL

WORLD 28 Jun 2012 Jean-Jacques Rousseau tercentenary observed globally
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva on 28 Jun 1712, became a towering figure in the Age of Enlightenment. But for being born in the wrong century, he might also have been Renaissance Man. His influence spanned many disciplines, as attested by the variety of scholars and others who will observe the tercentenary. He is an ancestor of radical revolutionaries and totalitarian dictators, and the framer of modern notions of the self that underpin both the French and American revolutions.

The main observances will be in France, his adopted country

WORLD 28 Jun 2012 Jean-Jacques Rousseau tercentenary observed globally
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, born in Geneva on 28 Jun 1712, became a towering figure in the Age of Enlightenment. But for being born in the wrong century, he might also have been Renaissance Man. His influence spanned many disciplines, as attested by the variety of scholars and others who will observe the tercentenary. He is an ancestor of radical revolutionaries and totalitarian dictators, and the framer of modern notions of the self that underpin both the French and American revolutions.

The main observances will be in France, his adopted country, but the tercentenary will be observed with conferences and exhibitions in philosophy, political science, history, literature and musicology throughout the world.

He is best known for his philosophical 1762 magnum opus called the Social Contract , which inspired the political manifestos of the time and modern constitutionalism, but he also wrote novels and music that were highly regarded. His novel Julie or the New Heloise, was one of the best selling of the century. An important (if neglected) part of Rousseau's legacy was his role as a successful opera composer. His short opera Le Devin du Village was written in 1752 and became a major success in Paris and London.

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1755) solidified his reputation as a bold philosopher.

Rousseau's famous saying: "Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains", framed the ideological background to wholesale revolution, and Maximilien Robespierre became one of his instruments, taking Rousseau's abstract thoughts and forging them into revolutionary policy, a rationale for terror and ultimately into France's Reign of Terror. (WRITTEN MAY 2012)

RELATED READING:

Rousseau biography (Encyclopedia Britannica)
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/510932/Jean-Jacques-Rousseau

Rousseau 300: Nature, Self and State
http://rousseau300.eventbrite.com/

Date written/update: 2012-06-28