Born Apr. 6, 1670 or 1671, in Paris; died Mar. 17, 1741, in Brussels. French poet.
Rousseau studied in a Jesuit college. His first literary efforts were praised by Boileau. In 1712, Rousseau was exiled for life from France for defaming his literary rivals. An outstanding versifier, Rousseau became famous for his Odes, which had a variety of subjects and rhythms, and for his versions of the Psalms. Rousseau created a new poetic genre, the cantata, of which his best-known example is the “Cantata on Circe”; he also wrote epigrams and versified epistles. His comedies were unsuccessful. Excessive allegory and didacticism made Rousseau’s poetry an example of second-rate classicism and a target for satire by romantic critics.
WORKSOeuvres complètes, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1795–96.
Oeuvres, vols. 1–5. Paris, 1820.
Oeuvres lyriques. Paris, 1876.
In Russian translation:
Na schast’e. Translated by Sumarokov and Lomonosov. St. Petersburg [n. d.].
REFERENCESlstoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Page 605.
Sainte-Beuve, C. A. Portraits littéraires, vol. 1. Paris, 1862.
Bottet, J. Le Bannissement de J.-B. Rousseau. Paris, 1899.
Grubbs, H. A. Jean-Baptiste Rousseau: His Life and Works. Princeton-London, 1941.
L. N. TOKAREV