The Immoralist

The Immoralist

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by Andre Gide
     
 

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In The Immoralist, AndrŽ Gide presents the confessional account of a man seeking the truth of his own nature. The story's protagonist, Michel, knows nothing about love when he marries the gentle Marceline out of duty to his father. On the couple's honeymoon to Tunisia, Michel becomes very ill, and during his recovery he meets a young Arab boy whose radiant

Overview

In The Immoralist, AndrŽ Gide presents the confessional account of a man seeking the truth of his own nature. The story's protagonist, Michel, knows nothing about love when he marries the gentle Marceline out of duty to his father. On the couple's honeymoon to Tunisia, Michel becomes very ill, and during his recovery he meets a young Arab boy whose radiant health and beauty captivate him. An awakening for him both sexually and morally, Michel discovers a new freedom in seeking to live according to his own desires. But, as he also discovers, freedom can be a burden. A frank defense of homosexuality and a challenge to prevailing ethical concepts, The Immoralist is a literary landmark, marked by Gide's masterful, pure, simple style.

Translated by David Watson, with an introduction by Alan Sheridan.

Author Biography: Andre Gide (1869-1951), an influential French liberal thinker, writer, and literary critic, was one of the founders of La Nouvelle Revue Franaise, the literary review that united progressive French writers until World War II. Gide received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142180020
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Series:
Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
619,366
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 7.68(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

André Paul Guillaume Gide was born in Paris on 22 November 1869. His father, who died when he was eleven, was Professor of Law at the Sorbonne. An only child, Gide had an irregular and lonely upbringing and was educated in a Protestant secondary school in Paris and privately. He became devoted to literature and music, and began his literary career as an essayist, and then went on to poetry, biography, fiction, drama, criticism, reminiscence, and translation. By 1917 he had emerged as a prophet to French youth and his unorthodox views were a source of endless debate and attack. In 1947 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 1948, as a distinguished foreigner, was given an honorary degree at Oxford. He married his cousin in 1895; he died in Paris in 1951 at the age of eighty-one.

Among Gide's best-known works in England are Strait is the Gate (La Porte étroite), the first novel he wrote, which was published in France in 1909; La Symphonie Pastorale, 1919; The Immoralist (L'Immoraliste), 1902; The Counterfeiters (Les Faux-Monnayeurs), published in 1926; and the famous Journals covering his life from 1889 to 1949 and published originally in four volumes.

E. M. Forster said of him: 'The humanist has four leading characteristics - curiosity, a free mind, belief in good taste, and a belief in the human race - and all four are present in Gide ... the humanist of our age.'

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Immoralist 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
The Immoralist by André Gide Translated to English by Richard Howard This is the story of Michel, an French archaeologist and philologist who to satisfy his dying father's wishes marries Marceline, a peasant. Michel clearly does not love Marceline and has an repressed attraction to young boys. As they impart into their honeymoon to the Sahara, he gets sick with tuberculosis, forcing Marceline to nurse him to health. In his convalescence, he stops his inhibitions towards young boys. "This was more than a convalescence - this was an increase, a recrudescence of life, the afflux of a richer, hotter blood which would rough my thoughts one by one, penetrating, stirring, coloring the most remote, delicate and secret fibers of my being." Michel's brush with death awakens his passion for the sensual and forbidden. "I looked at myself a long time, without any more shame, with joy." Feeling guilty and ungrateful, Michel finally consummates his marriage. Marceline becomes pregnant so they return to Paris. Michel is bored with Parisian life, and after Marceline miscarriages, they embark on another trip to the Sahara. This time, it's Marceline who succumbs to tuberculosis and it's Michel's turn to take care of her. Unfortunately, Michel is too deep into his fascination of boys and Marceline dies. The book opens with a letter to a government official from his brother, one of Michel's friends. Apparently he's gone down somewhere in the Sahara (Sidi b. M.) to fetch him. As the letter finishes, we get the story told from Michel's first person point of view. Published in 1902 and it was scandalous. Gide in many instances hides the name of people, government officials and locales to avoid scandal. Funny how things have changed. Other than a three way between Michel, Moktir - an Arab boy, and his girlfriend, there is no same sex narrated in the book. If there is anything immoral about Michel it is his languorous, sometimes complacent style that has focused all of his energy of a man to be happy - no matter the consequences. I read all of its 171 pages in a few hours. A Classic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. Gide does an amazing job revealing his own inner struggles through his character development of Michael. I wanted to be appalled by his behavior, but rather than distain, I found myself relating to his actions and thoughts...a testimate to Gide's ability as a story-teller. This book is short, easy to read, and well worth the time.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Just picture a young James Dean playing the role of the Arab boy Bachir and it will give this book a new, wonderful touch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gide's protagonist will explore the nature of morality. You'll question him at first ... you'll end up questioning your own conventions. Not for the timid!