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Romain Rolland

Romain Rolland

The Man and His Work

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Excerpt:

he universal poietic personality.

School days passed quickly and somewhat joylessly. Too sudden had been the transition from the romanticist home to the harshly realist Paris. To the sensitive lad, the city could only show its teeth, display its indifference, manifest the fierceness of its rhythm. These qualities, this Maelstrom aspect, aroused in his mind something approaching to alarm. He yearned for sympathy, cordiality, soaring aspirations; now as before, art was his savior, "glorious art, in so many gray hours." His chief joys were the rare afternoons spent at popular Sunday concerts, when the pulse of music came to thrill his heart--how charmingly is not this described in Antoinette! Nor had Shakespeare lost power in any degree, now that his figures, seen on the stage, were able to arouse mingled dread and ecstasy. The boy gave his whole soul to the dramatist. "He took possession of me like a conqueror; I threw myself to him like a flower. At the same time, the spirit of music flowed ove