Romain Rolland


Romain Rolland

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Romain Rolland
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1915

Born: 29 January 1866, Clamecy, France

Died: 30 December 1944, Vézelay, France

Residence at the time of the award: France

Prize motivation: “as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”

Language: French

Romain Rolland received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1916.

Prize share: 1/1


Playwright, novelist and essayist Romain Rolland was educated at the École Normale in Paris, and then attended the French Academy in Rome on a scholarship. Rolland was a mystic and a pacifist who studied yoga, Indian philosophy and spirituality. In 1929 he founded the International Biogentic Society, which promotes peace and a sustainable and harmonious way of life. Through correspondence, he influenced Sigmund Freud, among others, with the “oceanic feeling” concept, which refers to the sensation of being one with the universe.


Regardless of genre, Rolland’s writing revolves around humankind’s search for happiness, meaning and truth. Jean Christophe Krafft and Anette Rivière, the main characters in the sequence of novels Jean-Christophe and L’Ame enchantée (The Soul Enchanted), are fighting for both their spiritual and material survival. Rolland coined the term “roman-fleuve” (literally “river-novel) to describe the nature of the sequence of novels. With the essay titled “The People’s Theatre,” Rolland advocated a democratization of the theatre.

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