Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland Romain Rolland (29 January 1866 – 30 December 1944) was a French writer, art historian and mystic who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.

“Every man who is truly a man must learn to be alone in the midst of all others, and if need be against all others.”

- Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland Bio

Romain Rolland  the great French savant, novelist, dramatist, essayist, and mystic—Romain Rolland (1866 – 1944) was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915.

He was born in Clamecy, Nièvre,  France. His family was of mixed stock including both wealthy townspeople and poorer labourers.

Romain Rolland went to University in 1886 where he studied philosophy, however he didn’t enjoy the rigid nature of the philosophy syllabus and so left before he had finished his course. Instead he received a degree in history. After university he spent a couple of years in Italy, greatly admiring Italian art and the great masterpieces.

On returning to France he took up a posts teaching at various university’s including the Sorbonne. However his heart was never in teaching, he preferred to be a writer. Therefore he quit his teaching post to dedicate his time to writing.

Rolland was my nature introverted he didn’t make close friendships but absorbed himself in his writing. During the German occupation of France from 1940 he led a life of isolation and was very much a loner.

“The sages, who discovered the law of non-violence in the midst of violence, were greater geniuses than Newton, greater warriors than Wellington. Non-violence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute.”

- Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland was a lifelong pacifist. He was a great admirer of Gandhi and in 1924 wrote a book on Gandhi. This book was important for both himself and for Gandhi’s reputation in Europe. The two men were able to meet in 1931.  Throughout his life Romain Rolland retained a keen interest in India and Indian spirituality.

If there is one place on the face of the earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India. … For more than 30 centuries, the tree of vision, with all its thousand branches and their millions of twigs, has sprung from this torrid land, the burning womb of the Gods. It renews itself tirelessly showing no signs of decay.

- Romain Rolland, Life of Ramakrishna (1929)

He also wrote a biography of the great Hindu Saint Sri Ramakrishna. Romain Rolland was also a keen admirer of Sri Aurobindo a leading Indian nationalist and later a teacher of Yoga.

Romain Rolland died on Dec 30,1944 in Vezelay.

-Richard

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