Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality

Overview

Most of André Gide’s richly-varied literary output has long been available to American readers. Only one aspect of his protean career has been lacking in translation: the essays, the publication of which will go far to explain why Gide holds in France such high rank as a critic. Many of the essays in Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality were provoked by events in the cultural and political world of twentieth-century France, a turbulent setting that produced a lasting literature. These essays are ...

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Overview

Most of André Gide’s richly-varied literary output has long been available to American readers. Only one aspect of his protean career has been lacking in translation: the essays, the publication of which will go far to explain why Gide holds in France such high rank as a critic. Many of the essays in Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality were provoked by events in the cultural and political world of twentieth-century France, a turbulent setting that produced a lasting literature. These essays are vintage Gide, informed by his characteristic spirit—his hard brilliance, pointed honesty, and the enduring relevance of his concerns.

Readers of his Journals will be prepared for the style, intelligence, and marksmanship that Gide brings to bear in these forty-two articles on life as well as on letters. His range, as always, is broad: a long and moving memoir of his encounters with Oscar Wilde; a series of combats against reactionary nationalists and self-appointed purifiers of morals; estimates of Mallarmé, Baudelaire, Proust, Gautier, and Valéry, among others; letters to Jacques Rivière, Jean Cocteau, and Francis Jammes; and general essays on art, literature, the theater, and politics.

Justin O’Brien, famous for his studies in modern French literature, has written that Gide is "related to La Fontaine and Racine by his essential conciseness and crystalline style, to Montaigne and Goethe by his inquiring mind which reconciled unrest and serenity, to Baudelaire by his lucid, prophetic criticism." O’Brien, who has done so much to bring contemporary French literature to America, supervised the translations in Pretexts: Reflections on Literature and Morality, prepared several of them himself, and contributes an informative general introduction and additional commentary to preface the various sections of this major book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“When Gide criticizes, he creates.”—Albert Camus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412811118
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

André Gide (1869-1951) was a French author who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947. He began his writings at the start of the symbolist movement and was most widely known for his fictional and autobiographical works. Among his best-known works are The Counterfeiters, The Immoralist, Lafcadio’s Adventures, Strait Is the Gate, and the Journals. Justin O’Brien (1906-1969) was an author famous for his studies in modern French literature. Some of his works include Portrait of André Gide , The French Literary Horizon , and Literature to Us. Justin O’Brien (1906-1969) was an author famous for his studies in modern French literature. Some of his works include Portrait of André Gide , The French Literary Horizon , and Literature to Us.

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