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Writers
borndied
1671, Apr 61741, Mar 17
a French playwright and poet, particularly noted for his cynical epigrams. Rousseau was born in Paris, the son of a shoemaker, and was well educated. As a young man, he gained favour with Boileau, who encouraged him to write. Rousseau began with the theatre, for which he had no aptitude. A one-act comedy, Le Café, failed in 1694, and he was not much happier with a more ambitious play, Le Flatteur (1696), or with the opera Venus et Adonis (1697). In 1700 he tried another comedy, Le Capricieux, which had the same fate. He then went with Tallard as an attaché to London, and, in days when literature still led to high position, seemed likely to achieve success.
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