The purpose of this chapter is to say something necessarily brief and highly selective about the influence that Rousseau and his writings have had upon subsequent philosophers, creative writers, upon social and political events and upon changes in sensibility, forms of self-understanding and visions of the good life. I shall be concentrating on his influence in Western Europe in the nearly three hundred years since his birth. That he has been, and remains, a profoundly influential figure is seldom disputed. Quite what form his influence has taken, and whether it has been for good or ill, is not so easily stated.