Romain Rolland, "Jean-Christophe": review, summary, features and reviews
Romain Rolland, "Jean-Christophe": review, summary, features and reviews

Romain Rolland is known to Russian readers, perhaps, like no other French writer. His work was perceived as an example of humanism and realism. This article tells about one of his most significant works by Romain Rolland - "Jean-Christophe" - a summary of the novel, the history of writing, features are given in the article.

A little about the author

The French writer was born in January 1866 in the city of Clamcy in the family of a notary. From childhood he was fond of the history of music and played the piano. He graduated from the prestigious Lyceum in Clamcy and the École Normale in Paris. After graduation, he lived in Italy for two years, where he studied art. He returned to his homeland and defended his dissertation at the Sorbonne. He lectured at the Sorbonne as professor of music history.

Rolland was well versed in philosophy and painting. He published a music magazine, published artistic and dramatic works. He appreciated the work of Leo Tolstoy, knew him personally and corresponded. Your own moral codedefined as follows: “Dedicate life to the good of people, persevere in the search for truth.”

romain rolland

Rolland's work

Romain Rolland left an extremely diverse creative heritage: plays, essays, novels, memoirs and biographies - Leo Tolstoy, Michelangelo, Ramakrishna, Mahatma Gandhi, Beethoven, Vivekananda. In 1914 he completed the novel "Jean-Christophe", followed by "Cola Breugnon". In 1920 he published the story Pierre and Luce. The writer's articles on the tasks of art and social contradictions are collected in the collections Through Revolution to Peace and Fifteen Years of Struggle.

In 1933, the novel "The Enchanted Soul" was published, followed by the essays "Lenin", "Valmy", the drama "Robespierre". In 1942, Rolland completed his autobiographical work Inner Journey, in 1946 he published the Circumnavigation of the World, in 1944 - a cycle about Beethoven, a biography of Peguy. A few months before his death, the French writer was lucky to see Paris free. Romain Rolland died in December 1944 in German-occupied Vezelay.

romain rolland and his novel jean christophe


The most significant work of Romain Rolland - "Jean-Christophe". The writer worked on it for eight years. The idea to create a "musical novel" was born in the late 90s. According to the author, he did not want to "analyze", but to evoke a feeling in the reader like music. This desire determined the genre specifics of the work.

Romain Rolland and his novel "Jean-Christophe" destroyed the traditional ideas about the form of the novel. Each of the three parts has its own rhythm and tonality.This is a novel-symphony, a novel-flow. Without disturbing the usual course, the life of the hero, the impressions and emotions of Jean-Christophe open before us. In Books 1 and 5, Rolland Romain remarkably revealed the first impressions of a child, then, already in Paris, a young man. Insert episodes and lyrical digressions create an atmosphere of emotional uplift.

After several editions, the author combined ten books and the novel appears before the reader "like a four-part symphony".

  • In the first volume of Jean-Christophe, Romain Rolland covers the young years of the hero - the first impulses of the heart and feelings, the first losses and trials. But they help Christoph understand his mission in life.
  • Volume II tells how a young hero will come to grips with lies that corrode both art and society.
  • Volume III, on the contrary, sounds like a song in praise of love and friendship.
  • Volume IV is the middle of life's journey, where the spiritual storms and doubts of the hero are ready to destroy everything, but are resolved by a serene ending.

The author wrote a new version of the intellectual novel, where the struggle of characters reveals the clash of ideas. L. Aragon said about this work - "a novel-idea".

Romain Rolland's ten-volume novel "Jean-Christophe" was published in separate parts and immediately brought fame to its creator. After international recognition, Rolland left the Sorbonne and devoted his life to creativity. Mainly thanks to "Jean-Christophe", the author was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1915, which he received only in 1916 because of the scandal that erupted around anti-war articles,published by Rolland.

jean christophe romain rolland book

The plot of the novel

The book "Jean-Christophe" by Romain Rolland is based on constant motives and ethical postulates - rebirth through death, victory in defeat, defeat in victory. In the image of the main character, the musical genius Jean-Christophe, the dream of a "modern Beethoven" is embodied. The plot is based on his biography.

Revolting against the violence and despotism of the German authorities, the hero of the novel flees to France, but he perceives European culture and politics as a "fair in the square", where everything is bought and sold. After going through many trials, Jean-Christophe understands that freedom is limited only for himself. So, alone, ridiculously and accidentally, his best friend Olivier dies. At the end of the work, the hero loses his rebellious spirit, but remains true to his talent and nature.

romain rolland jean christophe summary


Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland takes place in a small German town where a boy is born into a family of musicians. Little Christoph is delighted with everything - the sound of a drop, the singing of birds, the sound of the wind. Everywhere he hears music and, unnoticed by himself, comes up with melodies. Grandfather writes down and collects them in a separate notebook. Soon the boy becomes a court musician and earns his first money.

Most of the income the father spends on drink and the mother is forced to work as a cook. Christoph realizes that they are poor and others laugh at their bad manners and illiteracy. To help the family, Christoph plays in an orchestra withfather and grandfather, gives music lessons. He has little contact with his peers, and the only consolation is conversations with his grandfather and a traveling merchant.

Heavy losses

After the death of his grandfather, the family was on the verge of poverty. The father drinks, and the mother asks the duke to give the money earned by the father to his son. At one of the concerts, the father behaves disgustingly and he is refused a place. Christoph writes music and dreams of a great future.

But not everything is going smoothly in his life. He found a friend, but soon he and Otto broke up. Christoph fell in love with a girl from a noble family, but he was pointed out the difference in position. The father dies and the family is forced to move to more modest housing. Christoph meets the owner of a haberdashery shop, Sabina. The unexpected death of a girlfriend leaves a deep wound in his soul.

Uncle's words - "The main thing is not to get tired of wanting to live" - ​​give him strength. Unknown forces wake up in it. He hears false notes in the works of famous musicians and folk songs. Christoph declares this publicly and writes a melody. But the people are not ready for innovative music and soon the whole city turns its back on Christophe.

jean christophe romain rolland work

Forced escape

Acquaintance with a French actress makes him think of going to Paris, but he cannot leave his mother. But fate decreed otherwise. At one of the village holidays, he quarrels with the soldiers, a criminal case is opened against him and he is forced to flee the country.

Dirty, bustling Paris met Christophe unfriendly. He earns fromlife by private lessons, and soon notices that French society is no better than German. Party leaders cover up selfish interests with loud phrases. The press is false, and works of art are created to please the rich. The young man sees falsehood and mediocrity everywhere. The audience boos the symphony he composed.

Christophe is starving but not giving up. After a serious illness, he feels renewed, and the unique charm of Paris opens before him. He has a friend - a young poet Olivier. In the house where they rent an apartment, people of different social strata live and shun each other. But Christophe's music brings them closer.


Kristof comes to fame. He becomes a fashionable composer and the doors to secular society open before him. At one of the receptions, Olivier meets Jacqueline, marries and leaves for the province. Soon the spouses return to Paris, but there is no former understanding between them. Jacqueline leaves her family for a young lover, and Olivier and his son move in with Christophe. But friends can no longer live under the same roof, as before, and he rents a separate apartment.

Christophe meets revolutionaries, he doesn't care about their ideas, but he enjoys meeting them and arguing. On the first of May, he goes to a demonstration and takes Olivier, who has not yet recovered from his illness, with him. During a clash with the police, his friend dies, but Christoph does not know about it - he is forced to flee to Switzerland, where he receives news of the death of a friend. He takes this tragedy hard, and the music becomes unbearable for him.

jean christophe vol i rolland romaine

Gate Opens

Christoph is gradually coming back to life, friends help him find students. A relationship develops between Christoph and the doctor's wife. When the betrayal is revealed, Anna tries to commit suicide, while Christophe flees the city for the mountains. He writes music and soon gets worldwide recognition.

One of Christophe's students falls in love with him and they dream of getting married. But her son in every possible way prevents the marriage of his mother: he pretends to have nervous attacks and cough. In the end, he really fell ill and died. Grace blames herself for his death and cannot bear it - she dies after her son.

Having lost the woman he loves, Christophe feels the thin thread that connects him to life break. But it is at this moment that he creates the most profound works. He arranges the fate of his son Olivier and introduces him to his daughter Grazia. Christoph is seriously ill, but carefully hides it, not wanting to overshadow the happiness of the young.

Dying Christophe lies in his room and hears the orchestra playing the anthem of life, remembers his mother, friends, lovers: “Here is the chord I was looking for. The gates are opening.”

jean christophe books 1 5 rolland romaine


"Jean-Christophe" by Romain Rolland justifies its name "a novel-flow - it is read as easily as a river flows. Events and characters change smoothly, some leave, others come. The beautiful language of the novel, without bends and tubercles, is addictive - the feeling that together with Christophe he lived a life full of quests and music, struggle and love. Lively and talentedly describes the melody.Unbelievable, but the sounds can be told!

Images of people are carefully written. The character of the protagonist, his experiences, feelings, emotions are revealed to the smallest detail. He is either in love and airy, or thoughtful and incredibly serious, practically destroyed by the problems that have fallen on him, but strong and stubborn, and continues to serve his calling.

The reader opens up the life of a great musician who understands that a stupid pipeline will lead nowhere. Hothouse conditions will destroy talent, but poverty will also take everything creative out of a person. In the novel "Jean-Christophe" Romain Rolland gives a recipe for creative work - balance - a balance between monotonous work and inspiration.

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