Biography of Rousseau

The Oxford Modern Political Theorists page has an on-line biography of Rousseau.

Rousseau Time Line

1712 June 12, born in Geneva to a watchmaker and the daughter of a minister who died after giving birth to him.

1722 His father is exiled from Geneva after a fight and moves to Lyons. Rousseau stays in Geneva in the charge of his mother's relations.

1724 Apprenticed to his uncle a lawyer who finds him incapable and sends him back.

1725 Apprenticed to an engraver.

1728 Runs away from his apprenticeship and wanders about Italy France and Switzerland. Meets Madame de Warens after converting to Catholicism in Turin.

1731 Lives in Chambery protected by the widow Madame de Warens.

1733 Madam de Warens becomes his mistress.

1738 Becomes ill and goes to Montpellier which facilitates a liason with Madame de Larange. Loses his relationship to Madam de Warens.

1740 Tutors at Lyon.

1741 Goes to Paris after discovering he neither likes teaching nor is very good at it.

1742 Unsuccessfully presents a new system of music to the Academy of Sciences. Becomes secretary to the ambassador to Venice, M. de Montaigu.

1743 Meets Therese le Vasseur who will become his mistress, bearing him five children, and whom he marries near the end of his life.

1745 Returns to Paris. Collaborates on the Encyclopedia.

1751 Publishes Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts.

1752 Production of his opera the Village Soothsayer.

1754 Returns to Geneva and abjures his abjuration of the Protestant religion.

1755 Publishes Discourse on Inequality.

1756 April moves back to Paris in a cottage at Montmorency. Writes Heloise.

1757 Leaves Montmorency for nearby Montlouis after a quarrel with Diderot.

1758 Publication of Letter to d'Alembert and final rupture in his relations with Diderot.

1761 Publication of Heloise.

1762 Publication of Emile and The Social Contract which forces him to leave France to avoid arrest. Lives briefly in Neuchatel.

1763 Renounces citizenship of Geneva.

1765 Driven from Motiers to the Island of Saint-Pierre.

1766 David Hume offers him asylum in England. Begins work on Confessions.

1767 Returns to live in various provinces of France.

1770 Returns to live in Paris. Writes many of his most important works while in Paris over the next eight years including his Dialogues and Reveries.

1778 Moves to Ermenonville where he dies suddenly on July 2.

Rousseau Time Line Sources