Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Father of Romanticism

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote his most notable works during the Enlightenment period, but it would be his influence on the next era of artful thinkers which would earn him the title ‘the Father of Romanticism’. Romanticism was born after a time when satire, criticism, scientific thought, and conformity were the order of the day. It replaced the bitter thoughts of previous periods with ones of individualism, a love of nature, and of freedom. Rousseau’s influence on the coming era was most prominent with his autobiography titled Confessions. It told the story of his life starting at a young age until he reached the later years of his life. Rousseau wished to be wholly truthful in the retelling of his life’s history and left little out of his writing. He went to describe his behaviour as a mischievous child, and in his years following adolescence, his various sexual experiences. The description Rousseau gave of his life, and the little reservations he had about retelling it, would have influenced the Romantic period greatly as his autobiography did not follow the societal rules and constructs of the Enlightenment period. Rousseau’s works helped to pave the way for future Romantic period writers like Edgar Allen Poe, William Blake, John Keats, and Mary Shelly who without Rousseau may not have had the chance to free their own creative minds.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply