Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Graeme Garrard observes the life of a paradoxical revolutionary hero.
According to a popular legend the philosopher Immanuel Kant was so punctual that his neighbours would set their clocks by his daily constitutional. Allegedly, the only time he deviated from this rigid pattern was when he received a copy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s treatise on education, Emile (1762). The book so captivated him that he missed his afternoon walk for several days. Furthermore, the only piece of art that the austere Kant kept in his home was a portrait of Rousseau, which hung above his writing desk. He claimed that “Rousseau set me right” by teaching him to honour mankind.