The Immoralist

The Immoralist

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142180020
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2001
Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 498,974
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 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.
lucybrown on LibraryThing 29 days ago
I have just finished reading Andre Gide's The Immoralist. From the get go, let me get this out of the way, it wasn't at all what I expected. I was expecting scandal, complete debauchery...that sort of thing. Oh my friends and o my foes, it ain't here. Yes,Michel, our hero, or anti-hero might be more to the point, eschews social convention but only to the extent that he spends his evening carousing with the poor and the labourers. Oh, and he kisses a coachman. One might infer that in these carousings, at least in the latter ones some sexual encounters occur, but, except for in one case in which he spends the night with the mistress of the young man who travels with him and his wife, there is not much even to suggest sexual corruption. I must be confusing this book with another one. None of this is to say that I felt those things wanting in the book, but when one has heard for years about the shocking nature of a book, then one does expect to have at least a little jolt. Michel recounts to three of his closest friends his egoistic pursuit of unsavory pleasure and the deadly toll that this takes on his wife's precarious health. She suffers from tuberculosis; she had two years before nursed him through a near deadly bout with the disease. Michel is at first puzzled by his appetites for the corrupt and unsanctioned and, especially, by his attraction to the African adolescent he mets while an invalid in North Africa.He rationalizes his passionate admiration of their beauty as a longing for their youthful health. Returning to France he encounters a friend who encourages him to live without regard to conventions, without regret nad makes him question his "hearthside happiness with his wife Marceline. Michel begins to embrace his passion for the seamy and corrupt and even, at times, criminal. Despite his headlong run with egoism, Michel is a not unlikeable character. The fact that he is in many ways a self portrait of Gide himself probably accounts for this. Gide had among his many gifts a gift for friendship. Michel wife's eventual death weakens him and sends on some counter soul searching, the resolution, of which is not at all clear, true to Gidean form. This is Gide's usual theme played out with sensitivity, sincerity and a touch of wistful irony. Sincerity and irony? Well, yes. Gide would spend a lifetime trying to sort out his preoccupation with the need to lead an authentic, unfettered existence and the equal need to live with a sense of Christian charity. The id and super ego battle it out again, but the battle is on a battle field as lyricaly sensuous as any. Rather famously noted for its Nietzschean and Freudian influences, it is actually more concurrent with Nietzscheanthan influenced by him. Gide's journals note that it was only after being well into the book that Gide read Nietzscheand was delighted to find the ideas he was attempting to develop elsewhere expounded. Nietzsche seems to have been more of a bolster than influence.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing 29 days ago
One of Andre Gide's masterpieces (along with The Counterfeiters), this is a psychological portrayal of a young man who attempts to deal with his feelings and values. Michel lives life in a unique way with a measure of languorous sensuality in his attmpt to achieve happiness. Gide was influenced by Nietzsche and Freud which shows in the actions and thoughts of his protagonist. One of the books that I have known and returned to over the years. The last time that I read it I found that it complemented a concurrent reading of Mann's Death in Venice.
GarySeverance on LibraryThing 30 days ago
In 1921, Andre Gide published ¿The Immoralist¿ in Paris (translated from French by Dorothy Bussy). Gide examines the strength of the obligations put upon us by family and society to study culture persistently, maintain a steady occupation, develop a stable marriage, and become responsible citizens. This process takes dedication and self-sacrifice that offers only minimal individual satisfaction.It may take a life-threatening illness to show someone that his responsible life is an unfulfilling pose compared to his idealized life filled with unbounded and intense desires. Recovery from an illness causes a person to take a new interest in the basic sensuality of life.If society¿s moral code prevents the expression of the person¿s new found life joy, then he may become an immoralist. At first, the transition is a slow struggle that can lead to agonizing self-doubt. But once the free expression of desires occurs, the person discovers, at last, his ¿special value.¿ His prior responsibility and self-sacrifice were characteristics that obscured his reason for living. The main character, Michel understands his driving force is ¿a kind of stubborn perseverance in evil.¿The appreciation of art once satisfied Michel¿s driving force and he felt harmony with its symbolic presentations. When sensuality becomes his obsession, Michel does not know ¿what mysterious God¿ he serves. He wants personal experiences of unimagined forms of beauty, and he wants them immediately.You can experience your own moral dilemma as your read, ¿The Immoralist¿ and gain some insight into the consequences of breaking the bonds of duty and sacrifice. One of the most poignant lines in literature is spoken by Michel¿s dying wife as he leaves their hotel room in pursuit of his hedonistic desires. Close to death she speaks softly. ¿Oh, you can wait a little longer, can¿t you?¿
Bembo on LibraryThing 30 days ago
A wealthy newly married young man, travelling with his wife through Europe and North Africa, freely explores the options life puts before him, and he revels in the beauty of nature, and of the discovery of the young native boys of North Africa.Yet much more is to be inferred from the subtle and beautiful prose.
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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!