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Title: The political thought of Romain Rolland and its place in his work
Author: Hanley, D. L.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3530 1119
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1972
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This thesis begins with an examination of the religious thought of Romain Rolland, showing how he derived an ethic of human solidarity that is fundamental to his later theorising about society and politics. The main sources of Rolland's ethic are indicated, and an attempt is made to set it in the context of modern French philosophy. Having established this base, the thesis goes on to examine chronologically the development of Holland's thought about politics, having as its central premise the notion that it is Rolland's search for a political system which would give full expression to his ideal of human solidarity that leads him towards various types of politics in turn. Several phases are distinguished in this evolution, starting with a period of vacillation between largely unformulated liberal beliefs and a violent, authoritarian style of politics, at the beginning of Rolland's adult life. We then take up his first involvement with socialism in the mid-1890's, his failure to elaborate a meaningful type of socialism in the context of his day, and his gravitation towards Darwinian and similar types of historical-political theorising; this phase culminates in the period of intense activity represented by Le Théâtre de la Révolution, coinciding with the Dreyfus case. Chapters V and VI deal with the period prior to 1914, dominated by Rolland's search for an 'internationalist' or European style of politics, and his analyses of national cultures and life-styles in Jean-Christophe: it is argued that this marks to some extent a regression from his previous socialistic preoccupations. Chapter VII shows Rolland's change of attitude during World War I, and his return to the conviction that social change was an absolute necessity in Europe. The next two chapters analyse Rolland's exploration of possible political bases for such a change, including such alternatives as Wilsonian internationalism, Gandhian non-violent protest and, eventually, Soviet Communism which, according to this thesis, Rolland accepted with slight reserve. The final chapter is retrospective, and aims to show how at key moments in Rolland's life, his artistic conception and execution was crucially shaped, if not determined by his political preoccupations. At all stages great attention is paid to the question of Rolland's intellectual sources and to putting his political thought firmly into the social and intellectual context of its day, rather than attempting to see it as an isolated phenomenon. To this end, numerous historical analyses and comparisons with contemporary figures are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures