Rousseau (1712-78) was one of the forerunners of the Romantic movement, and also one of the prophets of
the French Revolution. He was by nature a rebel
against existing conceptions of religion, art, education,
marriage, government, and in book after book he
propounded his own theories on these subjects.
Rousseau advocated a return to nature. In the natural
state, he held, man is happy and good, and it is only
society that, by making life artificial, produces evil. His
Emile, a treatise on education, advocated that children
should be brought up in an atmosphere of truth, and it
condemned the elaborate lies that society imposed on
the average child including myths and fairy-stories.