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Romain Rolland Biography
Romain Rolland (January 29, 1866 - December 30, 1944) was a French writer. His first book was published in 1902, when he was already 36 years old. Thirteen years later, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1915 for his most important work, Jean-Christophe.

His mind sculpted by a passion for music and hero-worship, he sought a means of communion among men for his entire life. Because of his insistence upon justice and his humanist ideal, he looked for peace during and after the First World War in the works of the philosophers of India ("Conversations with Rabindranath Tagore", and Mohandas Gandhi), then in the new world that the Soviet Union initially wanted to achieve. But he would not find peace except in writing his works.

Rolland was born in Clamecy, Nièvre to a family of notaries; he had both peasants and wealthy townspeople in his lineage. Writing introspectively in his Voyage intérieur (1942), he sees himself as a representative of an "antique species". He will cast these ancestors in a truculent bawdy tale Colas Breugnon (1919).

Accepted to the École normale supérieure in 1886, he first studied philosophy, but his independence of spirit led him to abandon that so as not to submit to the dominant ideology. He received his degree in history in 1889 and spent two years in Rome, where his encounter with Malwida von Meysenburg -- who had been the friend of Nietzsche and of Wagner -- and his discovery of Italian masterpieces were decisive for the development of his thought. When he returned to France in 1895, he received his doctoral degree with his thesis The origins of modern lyric theatre and his doctoral dissertation, A History of Opera in Europe before Lully and Scarlatti.

A teacher, a pacifist, and a loner
He became a history teacher at Lycée Henri IV, then at the Lycée Louis le Grand, and the École française de Rome, then a professor of the History of Music at the Sorbonne, and History Professor at the École Normale Supérieure.

A demanding, yet timid, young man, he did not like teaching. Not that he was indifferent to the youth: Jean-Christophe, Olivier and their friends -- the heroes of his novels -- are young people. But with living youths, like adults, Rolland only maintained distant relationships. He was above all a writer. Assured that literature would provide him with a modest income, he resigned from the university in 1912.

Romain Rolland was a lifelong pacifist. In 1924, his book on Gandhi contributed to the latter's reputation, and the two men met in 1931.

He moved to the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) to devote himself to writing. His life was interrupted by health problems, and by travels to art exhibitions. His voyage to Moscow (1935), on the invitation of Maxim Gorky, was an opportunity to meet Stalin, and he served unofficially as ambassador of the French artists to the Soviet Union.

In 1937, he came back to live in Vézelay, which, in 1940, was occupied by the Germans. During the occupation, he isolated himself in complete solitude.

Never stopping his work, in 1940, he finished his memoirs. He also placed the finishing touches on his musical research on the life of Ludwig van Beethoven. Shortly before his death, he wrote Péguy (1944), in which he examines religion and socialism through the context of his memories. He died December 30, 1944 in Vézelay.

Romain Rolland Bibliography

Year Work
1888 Amour d'enfants
1891 Les Baglioni Unpublished during his lifetime.
1891 Empédocle
(Empedocles) Unpublished during his lifetime.
1891 Orsino Unpublished during his lifetime.
1892 Le Dernier Procès de Louis Berquin
(The Last Trial of Louis Berquin)
1895 Les Origines du théâtre lyrique moderne
(The origins of modern lyric theatre) Academic treatise, which won a prize from the Académie Française
1895 Histoire de l'opéra avant Lully et Scarlatti
(A History of Opera in Europe before Lully and Scarlatti) Dissertation for his doctorate in Letters
1895 Cur ars picturae apud Italos XVI saeculi deciderit Latin-language thesis on the decline in Italian oil painting in the course of the sixteenth century
1897 Saint-Louis
1897 Aërt Historical/philosophical drama
1898 Les Loups
(The Wolves) Historical/philosophical drama
1899 Le Triomphe de la raison
(The Triumph of Reason) Historical/philosophical drama
1899 Danton Historical/philosophical drama
1900 Le Poison idéaliste
1901 Les Fêtes de Beethoven à Mayence
1902 Le Quatorze Juillet
(July 14 -- Bastille Day) Historical/philosophical drama
1902 François-Millet
1903 Vie de Beethoven
(Life of Beethoven) Biography
1903 Le temps viendra
1903 Le Théâtre du peuple
(People's Theater)
1904 La Montespan Historical/philosophical drama
1904 - 1912 Jean-Christophe Cycle of ten volumes divided into three series -- Jean-Christophe, Jean-Christophe à Paris, and la Fin du voyage, published by Cahiers de la Quinzaine
1904 L'Aube First volume of the series Jean-Christophe
1904 Le Matin
(Morning) Second volume of the series Jean-Christophe
1904 L'Adolescent
(The Adolescent) Third volume of the series Jean-Christophe
1905 La Révolte
(The Revolt) Fourth volume of the series Jean-Christophe
1907 Vie de Michel-Ange
(Life of Michelangelo) Biography
1908 Musiciens d'aujourd'hui
(Contemporary Musicians) Collection of articles and essays about music
1908 Musiciens d'autrefois
(Musicians of the Past) Collection of articles and essays about music
1908 La Foire sur la place First volume of the series Jean-Christophe à Paris
1908 Antoinette Second volume of the series Jean-Christophe à Paris
1908 Dans la maison
(At Home) Third volume of the series Jean-Christophe à Paris
1910 Haendel
1910 Les Amies
(Friends) First volume of the series la Fin du voyage
1911 La Vie de Tolstoï
(Life of Tolstoy) Biography
1911 Le Buisson ardent Second volume of the series la Fin du voyage
1912 La Nouvelle Journée Third volume of the series la Fin du voyage
1912 L'Humble Vie héroïque
(The Humble Life of the Hero)
1915 Au-dessus de la mêlée Pacifist manifesto
1915 Received the Nobel Prize in Literature
1917 Salut à la révolution russe
(Salute to the Russian Revolution)
1918 Pour l'internationale de l'Esprit
(For the International of the Spirit)
1918 L'Âge de la haine
(The Age of Hatred)
1919 Colas Breugnon Burgundian story
1919 Les Précurseurs
(The Precursors)
1920 Founded the review Europe
1920 Clérambault
1920 Pierre et Luce
1921 Pages choisies
(Selected Pages)
1921 La Révolte des machines
(The Revolt of the Machines)
1922-1933 L'Âme enchantée
(The Enchanted Soul) Seven volumes
1922 Annette et Sylvie First volume of l'Âme enchantée
1922 Les Vaincus
1924 L'Été
(Summer) Second volume of l'Âme enchantée
1924 Mahatma Gandhi
1925 Le Jeu de l'amour et de la mort
(The Game of Love and Death)
1926 Pâques fleuries
1927 Mère et fils
(Mother and Child) Third volume of l'Âme enchantée
1928 Léonides
1928 De l'Héroïque à l'Appassionata
(From the Heroic to the Passionate)
1929 Essai sur la mystique de l'action
(A study of the Mystique of Action)
1929 L'Inde vivante
(Living India) Essays
1929 Vie de Ramakrishna
(Life of Ramakrishna) Essays
1930 Vie de Vivekananda
(Life of Vivekananda) Essays
1930 L'Évangile universel Essays
1930 Goethe et Beethoven Essay
1933 L'Annonciatrice
1935 Quinze Ans de combat
1936 Compagnons de route
1937 Le Chant de la Résurrection
(Song of the Resurrection)
1938 Les Pages immortelles de Rousseau
(The Immortal Pages of Rousseau)
1939 Robespierre Historical/philosophical drama
1942 Le Voyage intérieur
(The Interior Voyage)
1943 La Cathédrale interrompue
(The Interrupted Cathedral) Volumes I and II
1945 Péguy Posthumous publication
1945 La Cathédrale interrompue
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Romain Rolland.