Notes on Andre Gideby Roger Martin Du Gard, John Russell, John Russell (Translator)
André Gide is a revered figure in the pantheon of French literature and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1947. But the fascinating, quirky, and intimate portrait drawn in this volume can be relished by someone who has never read or perhaps never even heard of him. He continually surprises us by the extent of his humanity. The book brings up his conflicted
André Gide is a revered figure in the pantheon of French literature and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1947. But the fascinating, quirky, and intimate portrait drawn in this volume can be relished by someone who has never read or perhaps never even heard of him. He continually surprises us by the extent of his humanity. The book brings up his conflicted sexuality and his fight for the acceptance of homosexuality in an era of stigma and condemnation.
His close friendship with Roger Martin du Gard, who was at his bedside when he died, lasted over 38 years. Gide writes of his friend in his journal in 1931: “With (him) I can let myself go and be perfectly natural. There is nobody whose presence now brings me greater comfort.” For his part, Roger Martin du Gard was a substantial writer, best known for a nine-volume family saga, Les Thibault. The notes on Gide are taken from his journal.
We eavesdrop on these two remarkable men, both Nobel Prize winners, as they trudge across the countryside on long walks or sit by the fire with a glass of wine after dinner, always probing everything under the sun: their lives and their work, mythology, death. It is honest and revealing. We listen and we learn, and our perceptions shift and deepen. While not a biography, this small but perfect gem of a book written with masterful artistry illuminates our understanding of a great man of genius and the very nature of life.
John Russell, former New York Times art critic, translated this book and wrote a new introduction for this volume. He notes du Gard’s “‘golden good humor’: his effortless combination of honesty and generosity. This is a portrait of an artist by an artist—and of a great man by a great man.”
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Meet the Author
Roger Martin du Gard was a substantial writer, best-known for a nine volume family saga: "Les Thibault" and the notes on Gide are taken from his journal. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1937
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André Gide is an important writer cum philosopher whose work in the last century added to the understanding of the gay persona and the accompanying artistic gifts and invaluable writings in a time less informed than the present. Author Roger Martin Du Gard was a long time associate of Gide and this slim but provocative 'memoir' traces their friendship and shared writings and conversations from 1913 until Gide's death in 1951. While we all know the novels and writings of Gide (the 'Corydon' remains the first significant defense of homosexual freedom) this book underlines the personality of this conflicted genius: his marriage to Madame Gide is revealed to be one of the more interesting 'covers' in a long line of such relationships of convenience. Du Gard spends much of this book discussing the dichotomy of thought that surrounded Gide's publication of the infamous 'Corydon' and for scholars of 20th Century writing this book will prove an invaluable resource. Both Gide and Du Gard were awarded the Nobel Prize for literature (Du Gard in 1937 and Gide in 1947) and it is more than just interesting how these two laureates influenced each other's writings and lives. Well written and endlessly fascinating, 'Notes on André Gide' is a fine contribution to the field of historical writing. The excellent translation is by John Russell. Grady Harp