Irving Babbitt Rousseau and Romanticism

ISBN 13: 9781518682421

Rousseau and Romanticism

 
9781518682421: Rousseau and Romanticism

Jean-Jacques Rousseau ; (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the Enlightenment in France and across Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the overall development of modern political and educational thought. Rousseau's novel Emile, or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings — his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker — exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing. His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau was a successful composer of music, who wrote seven operas as well as music in other forms, and made contributions to music as a theorist. As a composer, his music was a blend of the late Baroque style and the emergent Classical fashion, and he belongs to the same generation of transitional composers as Christoph Willibald Gluck and C. P. E. Bach. One of his more well-known works is the one-act opera Le devin du village, containing the duet "Non, Colette n'est point trompeuse" which was later rearranged as a standalone song by Beethoven. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophes among members of the Jacobin Club. Rousseau was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.

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About the Author:

Irving Babbitt (August 2, 1865 – July 15, 1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 and 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Politically he can, without serious distortion, be called a follower of Aristotle and Edmund Burke. He was an advocate of classical humanism but also offered an ecumenical defense of religion. His humanism implied a broad knowledge of various moral and religious traditions. Babbitt’s humanism emphasized the need for self-discipline and control, and suppression of the impulses seeking liberation from all restraints. He warned that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the major corrupting influence on modern culture. He complained that Romanticism celebrated too much the individual instinct and uniqueness of personality by denying the universal aspects of human nature as depicted in classical pre-romantic literature. He also attacked naturalism, which was popular at the time because it depicted man as a reflex agent of natural forces, and stressed the dominance of the environment over human institutions.

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