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Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Biography

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French-speaking Swiss polymath, writer, educator, philosopher, musician, botanist and naturalist who presented great contradictions that separated him from the main representatives of the Enlightenment. He is considered one of the first writers of pre-Romanticism and one of the forerunners of totalitarianism.

Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712, in Geneva, former Swiss Confederation, and was the son of Isaac Rousseau and Suzanne Bernard Rousseau. Nine days after he was born, his mother passed away.

In 1722, his father was exiled, so he was in charge of his uncle Samuel. During those years he began to show interest in reading and a patriotic feeling for the government of the Republic of Geneva. In the same year, he was sent along with his cousin to the house of the Calvinist Lambercier, where he lived until 1724. A year after returning from Lambercier, he worked as a watchmaker’s apprentice and later, with a master engraver, with whom he acquired experience.

Around 1728, he left his hometown and after being on a pilgrimage for a time and working in different jobs, on the verge of entering into marginality, he abandoned Calvinism and came to Catholicism, from which he later reneged and settled in Annecy, France. He met Madame de Warens, a Catholic lady, who helped him in his discontinuous education and in his love for music.

In 1733, that woman who had been like her mother became a lover.

Four years later, in 1737, Madame Warens got him a job as a preceptor in Lyon and began to forge a character of solitary stroller lover of nature.

Around 1742, he introduced an innovative system of musical notation to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, and a year later published his Dissertation on modern music, where he criticized the French melody very hard since for him it was very inferior to the Italian. Rousseau met Madame Dupin, who hired him as secretary. That same year he was appointed a secretary of the ambassador of France in the Republic of Venice, with whom he had no good relationship and ended up dismissed in 1744.

A year later, Rousseau traveled to Paris, where he lived with Thérèse Levasseur, with whom he had five children. By that time, he contacted Voltaire, D’Alembert, Rameau and, again, with Diderot, to write his most recognized works. In 1749, the Academy of Dijon proposed a contest of dissertations and the central question was “If the restoration of sciences and arts has contributed to improve the customs” and which Jean-Jacques Rousseau won the following year with his “Discourse on the Arts and Sciences” in which he denied the contribution of arts and sciences in the improvement of customs, since the arts and sciences in his opinion supposed a cultural decadence.

In 1751, he resigned his position as secretary of Madame Dupin and devoted himself to copy musical scores to earn money. A year later, he premiered his successful opera in the act “Le Devin du village.”

In 1754, he published his Discourse on Political Economy and Abjure of Catholicism. Then, a year later he published his Discourse on the origin and foundations of inequality among men, which he had presented for another contest of the Dijon Academy without obtaining a prize this time. This last discourse displeased Voltaire and the Catholic Church, which accused him of denying original sin and adhering to the heresy of Pelagianism.

Due to the demands of his friends and his opinions, Rousseau felt betrayed and attacked, so he decided to leave Ermitage in 1756. That same year he moved to Mont Louis, where he rejected the proposal to become librarian of honor in Geneva.

1762 was a very important year for Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his literary creations, since he wrote a play entitled “Pygmalion” considered the creator of a new musical-dramatic genre, also published the capital works: “Emile, or On Education”; “The social contract” and “Principles of the political right.”

In the month of September of the year 1764, he accepted an offer from Pasquale di Paoli to draft a constitution for the ephemeral Corsican Republic. That same year, Voltaire published an anonymous pamphlet against Rousseau entitled “The feeling of citizens” in which he revealed the fate of his five children, given to the care of orphanages because Rousseau thought he was not able to keep them because of their economic conditions.

The persecution triggered in Jean-Jacques Rousseau a paranoia or persecution mania. In addition, he was seriously ill in his bladder. On January 4, 1766, together with David Hume and Jean-Jacques de Luze, they set out for London.

In 1767, he received the name of Jorge III but decided to return to France under the false name of Jean-Joseph Renou, when his overwhelmed English friends had realized that something was wrong, that he had gone mad. Prince de Conti gave him a house in Tyre-le Chateâu and his Music Dictionary was published.

By 1768, he traveled to Lyon and Grenoble, where he married Thérèse in Bourgoin. In 1770, he was officially allowed to return with his name: but under the condition of not publishing anything else. In 1771, he would write his last work “Confessions,” which was an attempt to resolve or testify to his contradictions. Then, he devoted himself to do the public readings of his books. He left the world definitively and began to write his “Dialogues: Rousseau, Judge of Jean-Jacques” in 1772. However, the damage that had been caused by the violent attacks of Voltaire and those of other characters of his time, ended up removing him from public life without being able to take advantage of the fame and recognition of his work, which inspired romanticism. He prolonged his Considerations on the Government of Poland and in the following years worked on Letters on botany to Mrs. Delessert (1771-1773), Rousseau judge of Jean-Jacques (1772-1776) and the opera Daphnis et Chloé (1774-1776).

Around 1776, he began the writing of Reveries of a Solitary Walker (1776-1778) which was incomplete due to his death.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau died on July 2, 1778, in Ermenonville, France, at the age of 66 years, due to a cardiac arrest. His remains were buried in the Pantheon in Paris, near the tomb of Voltaire and the site is clearly marked by a commemorative bust. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was considered one of the greatest figures of the Enlightenment, for having contributed important works to the theorization of the deism, such as “Profession of faith of the Savoyard vicar” the creation of a new pedagogy with “Emile,” the critique of absolutism with “Discourse on the origin and the foundation of inequality among men” and “The social contract” the controversy about the meaning of human progress with “Discourse on science and the arts,” and the development of the autobiographical genre with “Confessions”.





  • 1742: Projet concernant de nouveaux signes pour la musique.
  • 1743: Dissertation sur la musique moderne.
  • 1750: Discours sur les sciences et les arts.
  • 1751: Discours sur la vertu du héros.
  • 1752: Le Devin du village, 1753.
  • 1752: Narcisse ou l’Amant de lui-même, 1752.
  • 1754: Discours sur l’économie politique.
  • 1755: Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes.
  • 1755: Examen de deux principes avancés par M. Rameau.
  • 1755: Jugement du Projet de paix perpétuelle de Monsieur l’Abbé de Saint-Pierre.
  • 1758: Lettres morales, 1757-1758.
  • 1758: Lettre sur la providence.
  • 1758: J.-J. Rousseau, Citoyen de Genève, Lettre à M. d’Alembert sur les spectacles.
  • 1761: Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse.
  • 1762: Émile.
  • 1762: Du contrat social.
  • 1764: Lettres écrites de la montagne.
  • 1764: Lettres sur la législation de la Corse.
  • 1771: Considérations sur le gouvernement de Pologne.
  • 1771: Pygmalion.
  • 1781: Essai sur l’origine des langues, póstumo.
  • 1765: Projet de constitution pour la Corse.
  • 1767: Dictionnaire de musique.
  • 1770: Les Confessions.
  • 1777: Dialogues: Rousseau, Judge of Jean-Jacques.
  • 1778: Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire.
  • 1781: Émile et Sophie, ou les Solitaires.



  • Le Devin du village: 1752.
  • Salve Regina: 1752.
  • Pygmalion: 1762.
  • Avril
  • Les consolations.
  • Daphnis et Chloé.
  • ¡Que le jour me dure!


Walter Scott

Walter Scott Biography
Henry Raeburn / Public domain

Walter Scott Biography

Sir. Walter Scott (August 15, 1771 – September 21, 1832) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. British writer, poet, and lawyer considered the founder of the historical novel. Scott was one of the key figures of the Romantic Movement in the United Kingdom. He began his long career as a writer at the end of the 18th century, at which time he published the translation of the ballads of G.A. Bürger, The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Among his most acclaimed writings, are The Lady of the Lake (1810), Guy Mannering (1815), Rob Roy (1817), Ivanhoe (1819), The Monastery (1820), and The Talisman (1825). Most of these works were published anonymously. However, towards the end of the 1820s, the identity of the author was revealed.

Early years

Son of Walter Scott, lawyer, and Anne Rutherford, with only two years of age, contracted polio. Disease that seriously affected his health, leaving as a limp in his right leg. At this time, he lived with his grandfather Robert Scott in Sandyknowe. After four years he returned to Edinburgh, city in which he carried out his studies. Subsequently entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied law, as did his father.

After graduating he began to practice his profession. At this time, he began to collect information about the myths and legends of Scotland while carrying out his duties. This theme was addressed by Scott in different works.

Literary career

Towards the end of the 1790s he began his career, translating the work of Gottfried A. Bürger, Leonore, as well as the ballads included in The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Shortly thereafter translated Götz von Berlichingen of Goethe, book based on the life of the poet and adventurer Götz von Berlichingen, known as Iron Hand. At the beginning of the 19th century, he published the collection of ballads collected during his travels, entitled Minstrels of the Scottish Border (1802). This includes famous Scottish ballads such as The Young Tamlane, The Twa Corbies, The Douglas Tragedy, The Wife of Usher’s Well, The Cruel Sister and The Daemon Lover. After its publication, the work had little reception, however, the author continued to update this collection until 1830.

In the mid-1800s, he published the poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), a writing that was well-received, followed by Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), a written work while serving as secretary of the courts of justice in Edinburgh. Later, Scott published Marmion: a Tale of Flodden Field (1808), a romantic historical poem that ends with the death of the protagonist in the Battle of Flodden Field. Two years later, he published The Lady of The Lake (1810), one of his most acclaimed poems by the author.

He later published The Vision of Don Roderick (1811) and The Bridal of Triermain (1813). In 1814 he published his first novel Waverley, a work set in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in the United Kingdom; it was published anonymously since the author was a public official. After its publication, the work became a success.

Since then, he published several novels using different pseudonyms as Author of Waverley, Jebediah Cleisbotham, Crystal Croftangry, and Lawrence Templeton, among others. It should be noted that at this time the author’s identity was a fairly well-known secret. After Waverley (1814) wrote Guy Mannering (1815), The Antiquarian (1816), Rob Roy (1818) and Ivanhoe (1819), a novel story set in medieval England that tells the story of Wilfredo de Ivanhoe, noble Saxon, likewise, delves into the contradictions between the Saxon people and the Normans. This is one of the most outstanding works of the author.

Three years later he published The Adventures of Nigel (1822) and Peveril of the Peak (1822), followed by Quintin Durward (1823), a novel set in France by Louis XI. Later published Redgauntlet (1824), Tales of the Crusaders (1825) and Woodstock or The Knights: A Story of 1651 (1826).

That same year the author’s identity was revealed; year in which the author went through one of the most difficult moments of his life, given that his wife Charlotte Carpenter died and the Constable publishing house, in which he had invested a large amount of money he went bankrupt. Leaving a debt of 130,000 pounds, which he paid for the rest of his life.

At the end of the 1820s, he published The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1827), a book in which he delves into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. The following year he published The Beautiful Young Woman of Perth (1828) and Tales of the Grandfather (1828), followed by History of Scotland (1829-1830), The Daughter of the Mist (1829), Bonnie Dundee (1830) and Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1831), the author’s last work. At this time, Scott, stopped writing and his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Scott passed away on September 21, 1832, was buried in Dryburgh Abbey.

The author’s work is considered a pioneer in the field of the historical novel, his writings are exalted by critics, since in these he realistically addresses historical events linked to his native Scotland and the Middle Ages, vividly evoking the context in which the protagonist of the history. Scott profoundly influenced the work of European writers, as well as painters and musicians; the writings of this have been represented in the theater, cinema, and television on several occasions.

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Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo Biography
Taken from @mariekondo. Link:

Marie Kondo Biography

Marie Kondo (October 9, 1984) was born in Tokyo, Japan. Writer and businesswoman, famous for being the creator of the Konmari method. A system that explains the proper way of organizing the home so that only the necessary is available and what makes the owner happy, avoiding the accumulation derived from the tendency to cling to the past. Kondo’s method has become a trend, after the publication of her first book The Magic of Order (2011), in which she delves into the method and highlights the positive aspects of order, emphasizing the serenity and relaxation an organized house inspires, which will be reflected in the daily life of people living in the home.

Early years

Kondo was interested at an early age in order and cleanliness, influenced by magazines about decoration and the home that her mother bought. While growing up, she spent a lot of time alone, since her mother took care of her younger sister, who at that time was just a baby. During these years she studied and continued to cultivate her love for order. When she entered the institute she began ordering the shelves while other students practiced sports.

Upon entering the University of Tokyo, she noticed that ordering helped her stay calmed and release the stress produced by the studies and partials. One day she organized for the first time she experienced a state of total calm and perfect order, which motivated her to choose the organization as a profession.

The Konmari method

At 19, while studying at the University of Tokyo, she became a consultant and created the Konmari method, a System in which she explains the proper way to organize the home and other spaces, so that they become spaces of inspiration and serenity, which to some extent influences the mental health of the people who inhabit the place. The Kondo method proposes the elimination of unnecessary things, likewise, on a more personal level, it promotes the termination of unproductive relationships that do not positively influence the person. The goal of the system is to bring happiness and serenity to the person who carries it out.

Konmari is based on the steps that Kondo followed in the organization of her home, as well as certain aspects of Eastern philosophy, feng shui, and inspirational coaching. This is divided into five steps: the first is the selection and organization of clothing, only what is used is chosen, looks good or produces happiness to the owner. After the selection must be organized so that everything is visible and accessible.

The second is focused on books, only those that are of great importance are chose, preventing them from exceeding 30 books. The next step is the papers, keeping what is in force or necessary, then they are stored in folios. The fourth step is the komono, also understood as various objects that you have in the home such as photos, CDs, magazines, among others, of these should only remain what has great emotional value.

Finally, sentimental articles should be selected and organized, as mentioned above, only objects that have a deep sentimental value and that produce happiness should be chosen. If that is not the case, it should be discarded since only objects that do not contribute to growth would be accumulating and peace of the person. This method has been widely disseminated since the publication of Kondo’s first book, entitled The Magic of Order (2011), which was well-received by the public. Shortly thereafter launched happiness after order (2012), in which delves into the method and well-being that it brings; subsequently published The magic of order. An illustrated novel (2017).

These books were transformed into lectures, audiobooks, and articles, through which, Kondo, has become one of the most prominent figures of recent years. After the publication of these, the author has participated in various radio and television programs in Japan and other countries, such as Ellen Show and Rachael Ray Show. Also has been interviewed by the Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Magazine, among others.

In 2015, she was included in the list of the 100 most influential people in the world created by Time magazine, list in which the outstanding Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has also been included. At present, her company has a long list of clients whom she helps transform her spaces into places of inspiration and serenity. In January 2019, the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was launched from Netflix, in which Kondo is seen visiting and organizing homes based on her method.

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Joël Dicker

Joël Dicker Biography
Krimidoedel / CC BY-SA

Joël Dicker Biography

Joël Dicker (June 16, 1985) Born in Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss writer considered one of the most relevant writers of recent years. Before devoting himself fully to writing he studied for a short time Drama in Paris, and Law at the University of Geneva, a career that ended in 2010; Dicker rose to fame that same year, winning the prestigious Prix des Ecrivains Genevois award, an award aimed at highlighting unpublished works.  Subsequently published the successful books: The Last Days of Our Fathers (2011), The Truth About The Harry Case Quebert (2012), The Book Of The Baltimore (2015) and The Disappearance Of Stephanie Mailer (2018). Their success turned Dicker into a phenomenon of international sales.

Early years

Son of a high school teacher and a bookstore; he has three brothers. Dicker spent his childhood in Geneva, the city where he began his academic training. While studying he began to be interested in writing, an interest he cultivated by becoming the manager of nature and animal magazine. After attending elementary school, he entered the Collège Madame de Staël, an institution where he continued polishing his writing skills. It is worth mentioning that although he was attracted to writing, he did not like to study.

At the end of this training period, he moved to Paris, where he began taking acting classes at the renowned French drama school, Cours Florent. After a year he dropped out of school and returned to his hometown, where shortly thereafter he began studying law at the University of Geneva. At 19 he wrote his first work, The Tiger (2005), a short story set in Tsarist Russia, specifically in the government of Tsar Nicholas II. Five years later he graduated, obtaining the title of Lawyer.

Joël Dicker’s work

The trajectory of the young writer began in the mid-2000s, at which time he published the story, The Tiger (2005), a work he presented in a youth literary contest but was dismissed since for the judges it was suspected that such work was written by someone so young. In the story, he deepens on topics such as existential dilemmas, violence, the possibility of redemption and the great questions that human beings pose, this was set in the government of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.

Five years later he won the Prix des Ecrivains Genevois prize, awarded by the Geneva Writers Society for the best manuscript not published for the work The Last Days of Our Fathers, written that was published a year later thanks to the prize. The Last Days of Our Fathers (2011), set in the period covered by World War II, focused on the strategy of Winston Churchill and the actions of the Special Operations Executive, an espionage agency infiltrated in the Nazi army lines.

In 2012, he published the criminal mystery, The Truth About The Case Harry Quebert (2012), a work that revolves around Marcus Goldman’s investigation of the murder of Nola Kellergan, who was close to the friend and mentor of writer Harry Quebert. This paper was awarded the Goncourt Prize and the Novel Grand Prix of the French Academy.

In 2018, the work was adapted to television in the miniseries format, which was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Patrick Dempsey. Three years after the publication of The Truth About The Harry Quebert Case (2012), The Baltimore Book (2015) came out, written that continues the investigations of the young writer Marcus Goldman, this time he investigates the Goldman family of Baltimore, from the period of opulence to the decline of the family and the emergence of drama.

The most recent work of the author is The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer (2018), a thriller that revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a journalist who at that time had discovered the irregularities of an old homicide case, by revealing this information to the police officer in charge of case disappears.

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Henri de Saint-Simon

Public domain

Henri de Saint-Simon Biography

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Count of Saint-Simon (October 17, 1760 – May 19, 1825) was born in Paris, France. Historian and political theorist, he was one of the founders and theorists of modern socialism. The Count of Saint-Simon was part of the military who fought in the War of Independence of the United States (1775-1783), later joined the revolutionary cause in Paris becoming a Republican.

He was appointed president of the Paris Commune in 1792, at which time he renounced his noble title and changed his name to Claude Henri Bonhomme, after being accused of speculation and spending a short time in jail focused on writing, publishing the books The industrial system (Du système industriel) and New Christianity (Nouveau Christianisme).

Early years

He was born into an aristocratic family. Among his relatives is Duke Louis de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, author of Memories (1739-1752), a book in which he described the court of Louis XIV of France. Due to family tradition, he began his military career at an early age actively participating in the United States War of Independence (1775-1783), in favor of the colonies. After returning to the country began the revolutionary movement that ended in the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789-1799), political and social conflict that marked the history of the eighteenth century, driving profound changes in various parts of the world as the establishment of the republican model. During the development of the revolution, Saint-Simon became a Republican and was appointed president of the Paris Commune in 1792.

In the course of his government he was accused of speculation of national assets and criticized for his close relationship with Georges-Jacques Danton, which caused him to be detained between 1793 and 1794. During the Directory (1795-1799), Saint-Simon lived on comfortably, since he had a good fortune, at that time his home was visited by prominent figures of the time such as Gaspard Monge, Joseph-Louis de Lagrange, and Guillaume Dupuytren. Later, he traveled to Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, in the course of the trip he began writing his first works.

Literary Works

At the beginning of the 19th century, he published his first work entitled Letter from a resident in Geneva to his contemporaries (Lettres d’un habitant de Genève à ses contemporains), where he outlined what he would later define as capacity theory. After spending several years living comfortably, his fortune began to decrease, which is why he faced serious economic problems. To sustain himself he wrote several scientific and philosophical articles with which he managed to stabilize his economic situation. For this same period he mentioned one of his best-known phrases in the newspaper L’Organisateur:

 If France lost its main physicists, chemists, bankers, merchants, farmers, blacksmiths, etc., it would be a body without a soul. On the other hand, if I lost all the men considered most important in the State, the fact would not bring more pain than the sentimental one

This statement was seen negatively and he was prosecuted for it. Starting the 1820s he published his next work called The Industrial System (Du système industriel, 1821) and four years later he published his most exalted work New Christianity (Nouveau Christianisme, 1825), a work in which he criticized the doctrine of Jesus and sat the basis for establishing a new Christianity that was more in line with the original evangelical teachings. After the publication of the book, he was ruined again, which is why he planned to take his life off of a shot. However, he failed and was injured in one eye, a short time later driven by one of his disciples decided to create the newspaper Le Producteur, but shortly before his appearance, he passed away. The renowned French theorist died on May 19, 1825, in Paris.

After his death, his approaches and ideas were disseminated by his disciples who created the ideological movement known as Saint-simonianism which was of great relevance in later generations influencing the formation of utopian socialism. His ideas were exalted by philosophers Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim. Saint-Simonianism’s thinking was based on his personal experience during the development of the French Revolution and the fall with the coup d’état orchestrated by Napoleon Bonaparte. In this, he stated that the government should be managed by industrialists such as workers, peasants, and owners, mentioned that the place that clerics had in the social order should be occupied by scientists; religion should guide social classes so that they improve their quality of life.

Finally, he mentioned that the redistribution of goods should be based on the capacity of each individual. These ideas influenced the work of Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, and various socialist philosophers.

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John Ruskin

John Ruskin Biography

John Ruskin Biography

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 – January 20, 1900) writer, painter, art critic, and reformer. He was born in London, England. His parents were Margaret Cox and John James Ruskin, a rich merchant who instilled in him a passion for art, literature, and adventure. He studied at the University of Oxford. In 1837, he entered the University of Oxford. Then, he founded a drawing school for students: the Company of St George, for social improvement, useful arts, and the defense of an ornamentalism linked to the reform of society.

He received socialist influences, especially from the group of “Sheffield socialists,” as did William Morris. He advanced a postulate regarding the relationship between art and morals, these dissertations appear in the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), a work that provided an important place among art critics. Later, he published The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1851-1853), where the moral, economic and political importance of architecture were analyzed. In 1851 he became interested in pre-Raphaelist painters such as Dante Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and John Everett Millais.

His ideas denounce the aesthetic numbness and the pernicious social effects of the Industrial Revolution. His work at Oxford ended in the rejection of the vivisection practices carried out in the laboratories of that institution. After marrying Effie Gray, he published Conferences on architecture and painting (1854), Conferences on the political economy of art (1858) and Fors Clavigera (1871-1884).

Ruskin suffered some psychiatric episodes and little by little he lost the sense of reality. Finally, he died in Lancashire on January 20, 1900. He aroused the admiration of generations of Victorian artists, especially as an introducer of the neo-Gothic taste in England, the greatest champion of pre-Raphaelism. Currently, part of his works is preserved between drawings of nature and different Gothic cathedrals at the University of Oxford.



  • Modern painters
  • The seven lamps of architecture
  • The stones of Venice
  • Conferences on architecture and painting
  • The political economy of art
  • Two ways
  • Sesame and lilies
  • The morale of dust
  • The crown of wild olive
  • Fors Clavigera
  • The Amiens Bible
  • Preterite
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