Romain Rolland represents the truly rare scholar who can write with equal conviction, knowledge, and original insight about music, art, literature, politics, ethics, history, and philosophy. An accomplished playwright and a committed advocate for peace, Rolland's influence reached far and wide. Born into 1866, Rolland studied several disciplines and spent time in Rome before publishing two brilliant theses upon graduation (one on French theater and one on 16th-century Italian painting). Rolland's work as a music critic and biographer earned him respect throughout France and Europe; particularly notable are his biographies of Handel and Beethoven. Between 1900 and 1903, Rolland delineated his ideas for a revolutionary theater in the essay "The People's Theatre." He put these ideas for a more democratic and less elitist theater to work in a few plays during this period, as well. In 1915 the Nobel Academy awarded Rolland the Nobel Prize for Literature, largely based upon the merit of the ambitious and expansive book JEAN-CHRISTOPHE, widely considered to be his masterpiece. In addition to these literary and musicological achievements and contributions, Rolland had a notable correspondence with Sigmund Freud, a complex relationship with Stalinist Russian politics, and studied Indian thought and spiritual practices. His profound commitment to pacifism prompted him to investigate Gandhi's nonviolent practices, publishing a related book in 1924. Up until the end of his life in 1944, Rolland continued to add to his extensive bibliography, writing on an impressively wide range of topics.