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Title: The German reception of Romain Rolland and Jean-Christophe, 1910-1945
Author: Harrison, Geraldine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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Romain Rolland, Jean-Christophe and Germany have long been linked. Critics have traditionally assumed that Rolland was better received in Germany than in France, both as an artist and as a pacifist spokesman for humanity. This study attempts to give a representative picture of the critical reception Rolland and his chef d'oeuvre Jean-Christophe received in the German-speaking world 1910-1945. His reception was not, however, unreserved and uncritical, but varied both in the degree of support for his political goals as for his artistic aims. The plurality and diversity of readings is striking, with many divergent interpretations being based upon the same textual content. Socio-political readings of the text before 1918 were commonplace with German critics attempting to understand the ideological, particularly nationalist messages of Jean-Christophe. Liberal humanist readings followed in the Weimar era, with critics searching for the lasting significance of the novel and the man. Weimar Rolland scholars recognised in Jean-Christophe the passionate need for man to address both temporal and spiritual needs. They also acknowledged Rolland's intuitive understanding of life as a process of perpetual transformation, of Werden. Nevertheless, his life was generally the subject of greater praise than his work. The placing of the man before the artist was a trend which was to dominate Rolland criticism throughout the Weimar Republic and beyond. The relationship between the political dimension of Rolland's life and his standing as an artist was to present German critics just as their French counterparts with a considerable problem, which for many has not been satisfactorily resolved to this day.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available