Rolland, Romain

born Jan. 29, 1866, Clamecy, France
died Dec. 30, 1944, Vézelay

French novelist, dramatist, and essayist.

At age 14 he went to Paris to study and found a society in spiritual disarray, and his life and writings came to reflect his concern with major social, political, and spiritual events. From 1910 he taught music history at the Sorbonne. His best-known novel is Jean-Christophe (1904–12), a 10-volume epic whose protagonist is modeled half on Ludwig van Beethoven and half on himself. His pamphlet Above the Battle (1915) calls on France and Germany to respect truth and humanity during World War I. In the 1920s he turned to interpreting the mystical philosophy of Asia, especially India, in works such as Mahatma Gandhi (1924). He wrote several other major biographies, including Beethoven (1910). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.

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▪ French writer
born Jan. 29, 1866, Clamecy, France
died Dec. 30, 1944, Vézelay
 French novelist, dramatist, and essayist, an idealist who was deeply involved with pacifism, the fight against fascism, the search for world peace, and the analysis of artistic genius. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.

      At age 14, Rolland went to Paris to study and found a society in spiritual disarray. He was admitted to the École Normale Supérieure, lost his religious faith, discovered the writings of Benedict de Spinoza and Leo Tolstoy, and developed a passion for music. He studied history (1889) and received a doctorate in art (1895), after which he went on a two-year mission to Italy at the École Française de Rome. At first, Rolland wrote plays but was unsuccessful in his attempts to reach a vast audience and to rekindle “the heroism and the faith of the nation.” He collected his plays in two cycles: Les Tragédies de la foi (1913; “The Tragedies of Faith”), which contains Aërt (1898), and Le Théâtre de la révolution (1904), which includes a presentation of the Dreyfus Affair, Les Loups (1898; The Wolves), and Danton (1900).

      In 1912, after a brief career in teaching art and musicology, he resigned to devote all his time to writing. He collaborated with Charles Péguy in the journal Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine, where he first published his best-known novel, Jean-Christophe, 10 vol. (1904–12). For this and for his pamphlet Au-dessus de la mêlée (1915; “Above the Battle”), a call for France and Germany to respect truth and humanity throughout their struggle in World War I, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. His thought was the centre of a violent controversy and was not fully understood until 1952 with the posthumous publication of his Journal des années de guerre, 1914–1919 (“Journal of the War Years, 1914–1919”). In 1914 he moved to Switzerland, where he lived until his return to France in 1937.

      His passion for the heroic found expression in a series of biographies of geniuses: Vie de Beethoven (1903; Beethoven), who was for Rolland the universal musician above all the others; Vie de Michel-Ange (1905; The Life of Michel Angelo), and Vie de Tolstoi (1911; Tolstoy), among others.

      Rolland's masterpiece, Jean-Christophe, is one of the longest great novels ever written and is a prime example of the roman fleuve (“novel cycle”) in France. An epic in construction and style, rich in poetic feeling, it presents the successive crises confronting a creative genius—here a musical composer of German birth, Jean-Christophe Krafft, modeled half after Beethoven and half after Rolland—who, despite discouragement and the stresses of his own turbulent personality, is inspired by love of life. The friendship between this young German and a young Frenchman symbolizes the “harmony of opposites” that Rolland believed could eventually be established between nations throughout the world.

      After a burlesque fantasy, Colas Breugnon (1919), Rolland published a second novel cycle, L'Âme-enchantée, 7 vol. (1922–33), in which he exposed the cruel effects of political sectarianism. In the 1920s he turned to Asia, especially India, seeking to interpret its mystical philosophy to the West in such works as Mahatma Gandhi (1924). Rolland's vast correspondence with such figures as Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and Rabindranath Tagore was published in the Cahiers Romain Rolland (1948). His posthumously published Mémoires (1956) and private journals bear witness to the exceptional integrity of a writer dominated by the love of mankind.

Additional Reading
Harold March, Romain Rolland (1971), introduces Rolland's life and works.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rolland, Romain — (1866 1944)    writer, Nobel laureate    Born in Clamecy, during a sojourn at the École française de Rome (1889 91), Romain Rolland met Malwilda von Meysenbug, who introduced him to Germanic culture. Passionate about music as well as art history …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Rolland, Romain — ► (1866 1944) Escritor francés. Su fecunda producción comprende biografías y estudios de musicología como La vida de Beethoven (1903). Fue premio Nobel de Literatura en 1915. * * * (29 ene. 1866, Clamecy, Francia–30 dic. 1944, Vézelay). Novelista …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rolland,Romain — Rol·land (rô läɴʹ), Romain. 1866 1944. French writer whose varied works include Jean Christophe (1904 1912), a series of satirical novels. He won the 1915 Nobel Prize for literature. * * * …   Universalium

  • Rolland — Rolland, Romain …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Romain Rolland — Born 29 January 1866(1866 01 29) Clamecy, Nièvre Died 30 December 1944(1944 12 30) (aged 78) …   Wikipedia

  • Romain Rolland — (1915) Romain Rolland (* 29. Januar 1866 in Clamecy (Nièvre), Département Nièvre; † 30. Dezember 1944 in Vézelay) war ein französischer Schriftsteller und Musikkritiker. Er wurde 1915 als dritter Franzose mit dem Nobelpreis für Literatur… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Romain Rolland — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Romain Rolland escritor francés nacido en Clamecy, Nièvre, el 29 de enero de 1866 y fallecido en Vézelay el 30 de diciembre de 1944. Su primer libro fue publicado en 1902, cuando tenía 36 años. Trece años más tarde,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Rolland — (Romain) (1866 1944) écrivain français. Il associa l idéal patriotique et l internationalisme: pièces de théâtre, biographies (Beethoven, 1903, etc.), manifeste pacifiste (Au dessus de la mêlée, 1915), récits (Colas Breugnon, 1919), cycles… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Romain Rolland — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rolland. Romain Rolland Romain Rolla …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Romain Rolland : sa vie, son œuvre (livre de Stefan Zweig) — Romain Rolland : sa vie, son œuvre (en allemand Romain Rolland: der Mann und das Werk) est une biographie de Romain Rolland écrite par Stefan Zweig en 1921, avec un additif sur la période allant de 1921 à 1929. C est un vibrant hommage rendu …   Wikipédia en Français

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