Jean Jacques Rousseau

Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

On August 5, 1735, German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was born. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms. His affair with Queen Caroline Matilda caused his downfall and dramatic death. Johann Friedrich Struensee – Early Years Johann Friedrich Struensee was born in Halle as the second of six children of the pietist…
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Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

On February 13, 1766, English cleric and scholar Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus was born. His An Essay on the Principle of Population observed that sooner or later population will be checked by famine and disease, leading to what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. He thought that the dangers of population growth precluded progress towards a utopian society. Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. His views became…
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Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

On February 7, 1741, Swiss-English painter and publicist Johann Heinrich Füssli – in the UK better known as Henry Fuseli – was born. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell‘s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake. “Life is rapid, art is slow, occasion coy, practice…
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Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Probably on November 11, 1729, French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born. A contemporary of James Cook,[5] he gained fame for his expeditions, the first recorded settlement on the Falkland Islands and his voyages into the Pacific Ocean. The largest of the Solomon Islands is named after him, as is the colorful tropical climbing plant bougainvillaea. Louis Antoine de Bougainville – Early Years Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born in Paris on Rue Barre-du-Bec. His parents were…
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Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

On September 30, 1714, French philosopher and epistemologist Étienne Bonnot de Condillac was born. A leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke de Condillac further emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis.[4] “The art of reasoning is nothing more than a language well arranged.” – Étienne de Condillac, as quoted in [5]  Étienne de Condillac…
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Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

Friedrich Schlegel – Towards a unifying Presentation of Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Genius and Criticism

On March 10, 1772, German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist Friedrich Schlegel was born. A zealous promoter of the Romantic movement, together with his older brother, August Wilhelm Schlegel, he was one of the main figures of the Jena romantics. Schlegel was a pioneer in Indo-European studies, comparative linguistics, and morphological typology. “It is equally deadly to the mind to have a system and not to have one. So it…
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Ernst Moritz Arndt – Key Figure of the German Nationalism

Ernst Moritz Arndt – Key Figure of the German Nationalism

On December 26, 1769, German nationalist historian, writer and poet Ernst Moritz Arndt was born. Early in his life, he fought for the abolition of serfdom, later against Napoleonic dominance over Germany. Arndt had to flee to Sweden for some time due to his anti-French positions. He is one of the main founders of German nationalism and the 19th century movement for German unification. “He who does not respect and love his…
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Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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If the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy

If the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy

On September 9, 1828, Russian writer Count Lyov (also Lev) Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was born. Tolstoy is considered one of the greatest authors of all times. His main works War and Peace and Anna Karenina are classics of the realistic novel. “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1875-1877), first sentence Family…
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“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712. The writer, philosopher, composer, and pioneer of the Age of Enlightenment had a great influence in educational and political matters throughout the French Revolution and beyond. “It is ordinary people who have to be educated, and their education alone can serve as a pattern for the education of their fellows. The others find their way alone.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Early…
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