Week 26: Wednesday, May 9, 2018
André Gide: The Immoralist
WARNING: DO NOT READ ANY INTRODUCTIONS, ANY BLURBS ON THE COVER OR BACK, ANY NEWSPAPER REVIEWS OR EVEN GRAFITTI ON THE WALLS ABOUT THIS BOOK: WHEN YOU GET TO IT, OPEN THE BOOK, TURN TO PAGE 7, TO THE “PREFACE” WHICH IS REALLY PART OF THE BOOK, AND BEGIN TO READ. YOU DO HAVE MY PERMISSION TO CONTINUE READING ON THIS PAGE THE FOLLOWING TWO PARAGRAPHS ABOUT GIDE AND THE BOOK.
Gide’s brilliant confessional novel The Immoralist is a small gem that captures perfectly the intellectual crisis that permeated the intellectual world of France at the end of the nineteenth century. Everyone had begun to doubt everything: country, religion, family, everything. And Gide’s narrator of this tale lives this doubt in his journey into sickness, self-analysis (read: Freud) and self-discovery. The massive, encyclopedic Magic Mountain from Thomas Mann (1924) follows the same journey.
Wikipedia: André Paul Guillaume Gide (22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide’s career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars. Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the two sides of his personality, split apart by a strait-laced education and a narrow social moralism. Gide’s work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical constraints, and gravitates around his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty. His self-exploratory texts reflect his search of how to be fully oneself, even to the point of owning one’s sexual nature, without at the same time betraying one’s values. His political activity is informed by the same ethos, as suggested by his repudiation of communism after his 1936 voyage to the USSR.
The Immoralist ,