From Romain Rolland's novel cycle Jean-Christophe:
For the moment the idol was Beethoven. Beethoven — save the mark! — was in the fashion: at least, among literary and polite persons: for musicians had dropped him at once, in accordance with the see-saw system which is one of the laws of artistic taste in France. A Frenchman needs to know what his neighbor thinks before he knows what he thinks himself, so that he can think the same thing or the opposite.... If Beethoven had come to Paris just then, he would have been the lion of the hour: it was such a pity that he had been dead for more than a century. His vogue grew not so much out of his music as out of the more or less romantic circumstances of his life which had been popularized by sentimental and virtuous biographies. His rugged face and lion's mane had become a romantic figure. Ladies wept for him: they hinted that if they had known him he should not have been so unhappy: and in their greatness of heart they were the more ready to sacrifice all for him, in that there was no danger of Beethoven taking them at their word: the old fellow was beyond all need of anything. That was why the virtuosi, the conductors, and the impresarii bowed down in pious worship before him: and, as the representatives of Beethoven, they gathered the homage destined for him. There were sumptuous festivals at exorbitant prices, which afforded society people an opportunity of showing their generosity — and incidentally also of discovering Beethoven's symphonies. There were committees of actors, men of the world, Bohemians, and politicians, appointed by the Republic to preside over the destinies of art, and they informed the world of their intention to erect a monument to Beethoven: and on these committees, together with a few honest men whose names guaranteed the rest, were all the riffraff who would have stoned Beethoven if he had been alive, if Beethoven had not crushed the life out of them.