The Educational Theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau

By William Boyd | Go to book overview

THE EDUCATIONAL THEORY OF
JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU

CHAPTER I WHAT ROUSSEAU LEARNED FROM HIS OWN BOYHOOD

1.Rousseau's Ancestry. --Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva on the 28th of June, 1712. His father, Isaac Rousseau, a watchmaker and a dancing-master by turns, traced his descent from a Protestant bookseller who had fled from Paris about the middle of the sixteenth century when the wars of religion were raging in France, and had established himself in Geneva. His mother, Susanne Bernard, was a woman of more than ordinary refinement and culture. One of her uncles was a Calvinist minister,1 and both by birth and fortune she belonged to a grade of society somewhat superior to that of her husband. Both of them, as Rousseau is proud to recall, were citizens of Geneva.2

____________________
1
In the Confessions, Rousseau says that it was her father who was a minister. Later inquiry proves that this, like many of the details of the Confessions, is wrong. As the accuracy or inaccuracy of Rousseau's autobiography is of no particular consequence here, I shall make the necessary corrections of his story without comment.
2
"Je suis né à Genève en 1712 d'Isaac Rousseau, citoyen, et de Susanne Bernard, citoyenne."

-1-

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