Jean Baptist Rousseau
The great Jean Baptist Rousseau (6 April 1671 – 17 March 1741) was the son of a poor shoemaker. He was well educated and his penchant for satirical verses made him the most popular lyrical poet of his time. Also the lack of genuine poets in the genre after Jean Racine and Andre de Chenier tilted the scale in Rousseau’s favour. His successive stints in theatre always ended in great dismay with, Le Café, Le Flatteu, Venus et Adonis and Le Capricieux failing miserably one after another. It was his poems which were either published singly or in manuscript that he gained attention. More often than not he got into series of disputes and verbal exchanges with his detractors and critics; this also resulted to the sour fate of his theatrical ventures. Rousseau is among the select few group of writers whose odes and cantatas were reprinted during 18th century.
Ode A La Fortune remains to be his most memorable work. In 1712, Rousseau was convicted of defamation and libel charges when he truthfully accepted that he had never written a satirical verse. He led the rest of his life in exile, wandering through Europe and finally dying in acute poverty in the year 1741.