Rolland, born on this date in 1866, was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, art historian and mystic. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1915 "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.”
He advocated for making the theater accessible to “ordinary people” and often expressed frustration with those he was trying to convince that this was a good idea. “Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth but already to possess it,” he once noted. Sounds a lot like our political races of today, doesn’t it?
His friend Sigmund Freud said he was profoundly influenced by Rolland’s views, especially on mysticism. Freud also was a great admirer of Rolland’s 10-volume novel Jean-Christophe,
written over an 8-year period and setting the
“The main thing is not to accumulate as much knowledge as possible, but to make sure that this knowledge is the child of your own efforts,” Rolland said. “Skepticism, riddling the faith of yesterday, prepares the way for the faith of tomorrow.”
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