Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712, at Geneva, Switzerland, the second child of a strange marriage. His mother, Suzanne Bernard, who died nine days later after Rousseau's birth, had at the age of 33 married Isaac Rousseau, a man less well-born than she.
At the age of 3, Jean-Jacques was reading and weeping over French novels with his father. From his uncle, the boy acquired his passion for music. His father fled Geneva to avoid imprisonment when Jean-Jacques was 10.