Romain Rolland - Encyclopedia


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"ROMAIN ROLLAND (1866-), French man of letters, was born at Clamecy, Nievre, Jan. 29 1866. He was educated at Clamecy, and later in Paris, where he had a distinguished academic career. From 1889-91 he was a member of the French School in Rome, in 1892 went with an archaeological expedition to Italy, and in 1895 was appointed professor of the history of art at the Ecole Normale Superieure, later occupying the same position at the Sorbonne, where he introduced the study of the history of music. He produced many critical and historical works, among them Histoire de l'Opera en Europe avant Lulli et Scarlatti (1895); Des Causes de la Decadence de la Peinture italienne (1895); and Le Theatre du Peuple (1903); besides studies on Millet (1902); Beethoven (1903) and Michel-Ange (1906). His most famous work, however, is the romance of Jean Christophe, the biography of a German musician, one of the most remarkable productions of the present day. The work is in three series, Jean Christophe, Jean Christophe a Paris and La Fin du Voyage. It appeared in Io volumes, the first, L' Aube, in 1904, and the last, La Nouvelle Journee, in 1912. A series of articles published by Romain Rolland in the Journal de Geneve during Sept. and Oct. 1914 created an extremely bad impression in France owing to the " defeatist " attitude of the author. His later works include Au-dessus de la Melee, of which the ninth edition appeared in 1915; Colas Brangnon, a novel (1918); Les Precurseurs (1919) and Voyage musical aux pays du passe (1919).

See Jan Romein, Romain Rolland (1918); I. Debran, M. R. Rolland, initiateur du defaitisme (1918); W. Kuechler, Romain Rolland (1919).

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