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Monday, January 29, 2018

Writing to 'create sunshine'

“It is the artist's business to create sunshine when the sun fails.” – Romain Rolland

Born on this date in 1866, Rolland was a French dramatist, novelist, essayist, and art historian who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1915.  Also known as “The People’s Playwright,” Rolland's most significant contribution to the theatre might lie in his advocacy for a "popular theatre."   He won acclaim for his essay The People's Theatre (Le Théâtre du people).

His novels and works of nonfiction also were widely read and quoted, and he authored noted biographical works on German composer Ludwig von Beethoven and French poet and essayist Charles Péguy.  A professor as well as writer and critic, he and psychologist Sigmund Freud were good friends and longtime correspondents.  Rolland died in 1944, shortly after the publication of his book Péguy.          
                                Rolland's dramas were staged by some of the most influential theatre directors of the 20th century, including Max Reinhardt and Erwin Piscator, who directed the world première of Rolland's pacifist drama The Time Will Come.  

A lifelong pacifist, Rolland wrote from his home in occupied France during WWII, “I find war detestable, but those who praise it without participating in it even more so.”

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