by Romain Rolland, Frederic Lees

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Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure.It is also searchable and contains hyper-links to chapters.


The Nobel Prize in Literature 1915 was awarded to Romain Rolland "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".

...and when a Nobel Laureate writes a biography, you can bet it will be compelling.

This edition also contains twenty-three images as the appeared in the edition of 1912.


An excerpt from the beginning of the Introduction:

He was a Florentine citizen—of that Florence with sombre palaces, landform towers, dry undulating hills, sharply defined against a deep blue sky and covered with little black fusiform cypresses and a silver scarf of olive trees
which move like the waves of the sea—of that intensely elegant Florence where the pale, ironic face of Lorenzo de' Medici, and Machiavelli, with his large, cunning mouth, used to meet "La Primavera," and the chlorotic, pale golden-haired Venuses of Botticelli—of that feverish, proud and neurotic Florence which was the prey of every form of fanaticism, which was agitated by every form of religious or social hysteria, where every one was a free man and where every one was a tyrant, where it was so good to live, and where life was a hell—of that city of intelligent, intolerant, enthusiastic and malignant citizens, who possessed tongues that could sting and minds that were full of suspicion, who jealously spied one another and tore each other to pieces—that city where there was no room for the free mind of a Leonardo, where Botticelli ended in the deluded mysticism of a Scotch Puritan; where the goat-like visaged, ardent-eyed Savonarola ordered his monks to dance around a bonfire of works of art, and where, three years later, the pile was raised to bum the prophet.

Michael Angelo belonged to that city and to those days, with all their prejudices, passions, and feverish life.

Certainly he was not tender towards his compatriots. With his broad-chested, open-air genius, he despised their narrow artistic outlook, their pretentious intellect, their dull realism, their sentimentalism, and their morbid subtlety. He handled them roughly; but he loved them nevertheless. As regards his native place, he did not possess Leonardo's smiling indifference. When far from Florence he was consumed with home-sickness. During his whole life he
wore himself out in vain efforts to live there. He was in Florence in the tragic hour of war; and it was his desire "to return there at least when dead, since he had been unable to do so when alive."

Old Florentine that he was, he was filled with the pride of his blood and his race. He was prouder of his lineage than of his genius even. He would not permit people to regard him as an artist. "I am not the sculptor Michael Angelo . . ." he said, "I am Michael Angelo Buonarroti. . . ."

He was mentally an aristocrat and possessed all the prejudices of his caste. He even went so far as to say that "art ought to be exercised by nobles, not by plebeians."

He had a religious, antique, almost barbarian conception of the family. He sacrificed everything to it and wished others to do the same. As he himself said, he would have "sold himself as a slave for its sake." Affection had little
to do with this. He despised his brothers, who well merited his scorn. He despised his nephew—his heir. But, as representatives of his family, he respected them. We find these words continually recurring in his letters: "Our
family ... la nostra gente ... uphold our family ... so that our family die not...."

He possessed all the superstitions and fanaticism of that rough, strong family. They were the dust from which his being was formed. But from that dust sprang the fire which purifies everything—genius....

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013034235
Publisher: Leila's Books
Publication date: 08/22/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,117,017
File size: 1 MB

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