|Born||André Paul Guillaume Gide|
22 November 1869
|Died||19 February 1951 81) (aged|
|Resting place||Cimetière de Cuverville, Cuverville, Seine-Maritime|
|Occupation||Novelist, essayist, dramatist|
|Notable works|| L'immoraliste (The Immoralist)|
La porte étroite (Strait Is the Gate)
Les caves du Vatican (The Vatican Cellars; sometimes published in English under the title Lafcadio's Adventures)
La Symphonie Pastorale (The Pastoral Symphony)
Les faux-monnayeurs (The Counterfeiters)
Les nourritures terrestres (The Fruits of the Earth)
|Notable awards|| Nobel Prize in Literature |
|Spouse||Madeleine Rondeaux Gide|
|French literary history|
André Paul Guillaume Gide (French: [ɑ̃dʁe pɔl ɡijom ʒid] ; 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. The author of more than fifty books, at the time of his death his obituary in The New York Times described him as "France's greatest contemporary man of letters" and "judged the greatest French writer of this century by the literary cognoscenti."
Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposed to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation of the two sides of his personality (characterized by a Protestant austerity and a transgressive sexual adventurousness, respectively), which a strict and moralistic education had helped set at odds. Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical constraints, and centers on his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty. His self-exploratory texts reflect his search of how to be fully oneself, including owning one's sexual nature, without at the same time betraying one's values. His political activity was shaped by the same ethos, as indicated by his repudiation of communism after his 1936 journey to the USSR.
Gide was born in Paris on 22 November 1869, into a middle-class Protestant family. His father was a Paris University professor of law who died in 1880, Jean Paul Guillaume Gide, and his mother was Juliette Maria Rondeaux. His uncle was the political economist Charles Gide. His paternal family traced its roots back to Italy, with his ancestors, the Guidos, moving to France and other western and northern European countries after converting to Protestantism during the 16th century, due to persecution.
Gide was brought up in isolated conditions in Normandy and became a prolific writer at an early age, publishing his first novel, The Notebooks of André Walter (French: Les Cahiers d'André Walter), in 1891, at the age of twenty-one.
In 1893 and 1894, Gide traveled in Northern Africa, and it was there that he came to accept his attraction to boys.
He befriended Oscar Wilde in Paris, and in 1895 Gide and Wilde met in Algiers. Wilde had the impression that he had introduced Gide to homosexuality, but, in fact, Gide had already discovered this on his own.
This section needs additional citations for verification .(November 2017)
In 1895, after his mother's death, he married his cousin Madeleine Rondeaux,but the marriage remained unconsummated. In 1896, he became mayor of La Roque-Baignard, a commune in Normandy.
In 1901, Gide rented the property Maderia in St. Brélade's Bay and lived there while residing in Jersey. This period, 1901–07, is commonly seen as a time of apathy and turmoil for him.
In 1908, Gide helped found the literary magazine Nouvelle Revue Française (The New French Review).
During The Great War Gide visited England. One of his friends there was the artist William Rothenstein. Rothenstein described Gide's visit to his Gloucestershire home in his autobiography:
André Gide was in England during the war. ... He came to stay with us for a time, and brought with him a young nephew, whose English was better than his own. The boy made friends with my son John, while Gide and I discussed everything under the sun. Once again I delighted in the range and subtlety of a Frenchman’s intelligence; and I regretted my long severance from France. Nobody understood art more profoundly than Gide, no one’s view of life was more penetrating. ...
Gide had a half satanic, half monk-like mien; he put one in mind of portraits of Baudelaire. Withal there was something exotic about him. He would appear in a red waistcoat, black velvet jacket and beige-coloured trousers and, in lieu of collar and tie, a loosely knotted scarf. ...
The heart of man held no secrets for Gide. There was little that he didn’t understand, or discuss. He suffered, as I did, from the banishment of truth, one of the distressing symptoms of war. The Germans were not all black, and the Allies all white, for Gide.
In 1916, Marc Allégret, only 15 years old, became his lover. Marc was the son – one of five children – of Élie Allégret, who years before had been hired by Gide's mother to tutor her son in light of his weak grades in school, after which he and Gide became fast friends; Élie Allégret was best man at Gide's wedding. Gide and Marc fled to London, in retribution for which his wife burned all his correspondence – "the best part of myself," he later commented. In 1918, he met Dorothy Bussy, who was his friend for over thirty years and translated many of his works into English.
Gide was close friends with the critic Charles Du Bos.Together they were part of the Foyer Franco-Belge, in which capacity they worked to find employment, food and housing for Franco-Belgian refugees who arrived in Paris following the German invasion of Belgium. Their friendship later declined, due to Du Bos' perception of Gide as disavowing or betraying his spiritual faith, in contrast to Du Bos' own return to faith. Du Bos' essay Dialogue avec André Gide was published in 1929. The essay, informed by Du Bos' Catholic convictions, condemned Gide's homosexuality. Gide and Du Bos' mutual friend Ernst Robert Curtius criticised the book in a letter to Gide, writing that "he [Du Bos] judges you according to Catholic morals suffices to neglect his complete indictment. It can only touch those who think like him and are convinced in advance. He has abdicated his intellectual liberty."
In the 1920s, Gide became an inspiration for writers such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1923, he published a book on Fyodor Dostoyevsky; however, when he defended homosexuality in the public edition of Corydon (1924) he received widespread condemnation. He later considered this his most important work.
In 1923, he sired a daughter, Catherine, by Elisabeth van Rysselberghe, a woman who was much younger than he. He had known her for a long time, as she was the daughter of his closest female friend, Maria Monnom, the wife of his friend the Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe. This caused the only crisis in the long-standing relationship between Allégret and Gide and damaged the relation with van Rysselberghe. This was possibly Gide's only sexual relationship with a woman, [ citation needed ]and it was brief in the extreme. Catherine became his only descendant by blood. He liked to call Elisabeth "La Dame Blanche" ("The White Lady"). Elisabeth eventually left her husband to move to Paris and manage the practical aspects of Gide's life (they had adjoining apartments built for each on the rue Vavin). She worshiped him, but evidently they no longer had a sexual relationship.
Gide's legal wife, Madeleine, died in 1938. Later he explored their unconsummated marriage in his memoir of Madeleine, Et nunc manet in te.
In 1924, he published an autobiography, If it Die... (French: Si le grain ne meurt ).
In the same year, he produced the first French language editions of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim .
After 1925, he began to campaign for more humane conditions for convicted criminals.
From July 1926 to May 1927, he traveled through the French Equatorial Africa colony with his lover Marc Allégret. Gide went successively to Middle Congo (now the Republic of the Congo), Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic), briefly to Chad and then to Cameroon before returning to France. He related his peregrinations in a journal called Travels in the Congo (French: Voyage au Congo) and Return from Chad (French: Retour du Tchad). In this published journal, he criticized the behavior of French business interests in the Congo and inspired reform.In particular, he strongly criticized the Large Concessions regime (French: Régime des Grandes Concessions), i.e., a regime that conceded part of the colony to French companies and where these companies could exploit all of the area's natural resources, in particular rubber. He related, for instance, how natives were forced to leave their village for several weeks to collect rubber in the forest, and went as far as comparing their exploitation to slavery. The book had important influence on anti-colonialism movements in France and helped re-evaluate the impact of colonialism.
During the 1930s, he briefly became a communist, or more precisely, a fellow traveler (he never formally joined any communist party). As a distinguished writer sympathizing with the cause of communism, he was invited to speak at Maxim Gorky's funeral and to tour the Soviet Union as a guest of the Soviet Union of Writers. He encountered censorship of his speeches and was particularly disillusioned with the state of culture under Soviet communism, breaking with his socialist friends [ who? ] in Retour de L'U.R.S.S. in 1936.
Then would it not be better to, instead of playing on words, simply to acknowledge that the revolutionary spirit (or even simply the critical spirit) is no longer the correct thing, that it is not wanted any more? What is wanted now is compliance, conformism. What is desired and demanded is approval of all that is done in the U. S. S. R.; and an attempt is being made to obtain an approval that is not mere resignation, but a sincere, an enthusiastic approval. What is most astounding is that this attempt is successful. On the other hand the smallest protest, the least criticism, is liable to the severest penalties, and in fact is immediately stifled. And I doubt whether in any other country in the world, even Hitler's Germany, thought to be less free, more bowed down, more fearful (terrorized), more vassalized.
In the 1949 anthology The God That Failed Gide describes his early enthusiasm:
My faith in communism is like my faith in religion: it is a promise of salvation for mankind. If I have to lay my life down that it may succeed, I would do so without hesitation.
It is impermissible under any circumstances for morals to sink as low as communism has done. No one can begin to imagine the tragedy of humanity, of morality, of religion and of freedoms in the land of communism, where man has been debased beyond belief.— André Gide, as quoted in Tarek Heggy's book Culture, Civilization, and Humanity
In 1930 Gide published a book about the Blanche Monnier case called La Séquestrée de Poitiers, changing little but the names of the protagonists. Monnier was a young woman who was kept captive by her own mother for more than 25 years.
In 1939, Gide became the first living author to be published in the prestigious Bibliothèque de la Pléiade .
He left France for Africa in 1942 and lived in Tunis from December 1942 until it was re-taken by French, British and American forces in May 1943 and he was able to travel to Algiers where he stayed until the end of World War II.In 1947, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight". He devoted much of his last years to publishing his Journal. Gide died in Paris on 19 February 1951. The Roman Catholic Church placed his works on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1952.
Gide's biographer Alan Sheridan summed up Gide's life as a writer and an intellectual:
Gide was, by general consent, one of the dozen most important writers of the 20th century. Moreover, no writer of such stature had led such an interesting life, a life accessibly interesting to us as readers of his autobiographical writings, his journal, his voluminous correspondence and the testimony of others. It was the life of a man engaging not only in the business of artistic creation, but reflecting on that process in his journal, reading that work to his friends and discussing it with them; a man who knew and corresponded with all the major literary figures of his own country and with many in Germany and England; who found daily nourishment in the Latin, French, English and German classics, and, for much of his life, in the Bible; [who enjoyed playing Chopin and other classic works on the piano;] and who engaged in commenting on the moral, political and sexual questions of the day.
"Gide's fame rested ultimately, of course, on his literary works. But, unlike many writers, he was no recluse: he had a need of friendship and a genius for sustaining it."But his "capacity for love was not confined to his friends: it spilled over into a concern for others less fortunate than himself."
André Gide's writings spanned many genres – "As a master of prose narrative, occasional dramatist and translator, literary critic, letter writer, essayist, and diarist, André Gide provided twentieth-century French literature with one of its most intriguing examples of the man of letters."
But as Gide's biographer Alan Sheridan points out, "It is the fiction that lies at the summit of Gide's work.""Here, as in the oeuvre as a whole, what strikes one first is the variety. Here, too, we see Gide's curiosity, his youthfulness, at work: a refusal to mine only one seam, to repeat successful formulas...The fiction spans the early years of Symbolism, to the "comic, more inventive, even fantastic" pieces, to the later "serious, heavily autobiographical, first-person narratives"...In France Gide was considered a great stylist in the classical sense, "with his clear, succinct, spare, deliberately, subtly phrased sentences."
Gide's surviving letters run into the thousands. But it is the Journal that Sheridan calls "the pre-eminently Gidean mode of expression.""His first novel emerged from Gide's own journal, and many of the first-person narratives read more or less like journals. In Les faux-monnayeurs , Edouard's journal provides an alternative voice to the narrator's." "In 1946, when Pierre Herbert asked Gide which of his books he would choose if only one were to survive," Gide replied, 'I think it would be my Journal.'" Beginning at the age of eighteen or nineteen, Gide kept a journal all of his life and when these were first made available to the public, they ran to thirteen hundred pages.
"Each volume that Gide wrote was intended to challenge itself, what had preceded it, and what could conceivably follow it. This characteristic, according to Daniel Moutote in his Cahiers de André Gide essay, is what makes Gide's work 'essentially modern': the 'perpetual renewal of the values by which one lives.'"Gide wrote in his Journal in 1930: "The only drama that really interests me and that I should always be willing to depict anew, is the debate of the individual with whatever keeps him from being authentic, with whatever is opposed to his integrity, to his integration. Most often the obstacle is within him. And all the rest is merely accidental."
As a whole, "The works of André Gide reveal his passionate revolt against the restraints and conventions inherited from 19th-century France. He sought to uncover the authentic self beneath its contradictory masks."
In his journal, Gide distinguishes between adult-attracted "sodomites" and boy-loving "pederasts", categorizing himself as the latter.
I call a pederast the man who, as the word indicates, falls in love with young boys. I call a sodomite ("The word is sodomite, sir," said Verlaine to the judge who asked him if it were true that he was a sodomist) the man whose desire is addressed to mature men. […] The pederasts, of whom I am one (why cannot I say this quite simply, without your immediately claiming to see a brag in my confession?), are much rarer, and the sodomites much more numerous, than I first thought. […] That such loves can spring up, that such relationships can be formed, it is not enough for me to say that this is natural; I maintain that it is good; each of the two finds exaltation, protection, a challenge in them; and I wonder whether it is for the youth or the elder man that they are more profitable.
From an interview with film documentarian Nicole Védrès with Andre Gide:
Védrès “May I ask you an indiscreet question?
Gide “There are no indiscreet questions, only indiscreet answers.”
Védrès “Is it true, cher Maître, that you are a homosexual?”
Gide “No monsieur , I am not a homosexual, I am a pederast!”
—from Vedres’ documentary Life Starts Tomorrow (1950)
One, but not the first, of his early sexual encounters with a young boy was in the company of Oscar Wilde.
Wilde took a key out of his pocket and showed me into a tiny apartment of two rooms… The youths followed him, each of them wrapped in a burnous that hid his face. Then the guide left us and Wilde sent me into the further room with little Mohammed and shut himself up in the other with the [other boy]. Every time since then that I have sought after pleasure, it is the memory of that night I have pursued. […] My joy was unbounded, and I cannot imagine it greater, even if love had been added. How should there have been any question of love? How should I have allowed desire to dispose of my heart? No scruple clouded my pleasure and no remorse followed it. But what name then am I to give the rapture I felt as I clasped in my naked arms that perfect little body, so wild, so ardent, so sombrely lascivious? For a long time after Mohammed had left me, I remained in a state of passionate jubilation, and though I had already achieved pleasure five times with him, I renewed my ecstasy again and again, and when I got back to my room in the hotel, I prolonged its echoes until morning.
Gide's novel Corydon , which he considered his most important work, erects a defense of pederasty. At that time, the age of consent for any type of sexual activity was set at thirteen.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of the most popular playwrights in London in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his criminal conviction for gross indecency for consensual homosexual acts in "one of the first celebrity trials", imprisonment, and early death from meningitis at age 46.
Roger Vadim Plemiannikov was a French screenwriter, film director and producer, as well as an author, artist and occasional actor. His best-known works are visually lavish films with erotic qualities, such as And God Created Woman (1956), Barbarella (1968), and Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971).
Comte de Lautréamont was the nom de plume of Isidore Lucien Ducasse, a French poet born in Uruguay. His only works, Les Chants de Maldoror and Poésies, had a major influence on modern arts and literature, particularly on the Surrealists and the Situationists. Ducasse died at the age of 24.
Robert Harborough Sherard was an English writer and journalist. He was a friend, and the first biographer, of Oscar Wilde, as well as being Wilde's most prolific biographer in the first half of the twentieth century.
Wings was the first Russian novel centred on homosexuality. Written by Mikhail Kuzmin, it was printed in 1906 to the consternation of a conservative literary establishment.
The Immoralist is a novel by André Gide, published in France in 1902.
Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, commonly known as the Labouchere Amendment, made "gross indecency" a crime in the United Kingdom. In practice, the law was used broadly to prosecute male homosexuals where actual sodomy could not be proven. The penalty of life imprisonment for sodomy was also so harsh that successful prosecutions were rare. The new law was much more enforceable. It was also meant to raise the age of consent for heterosexual intercourse. Section 11 was repealed and re-enacted by section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956, which in turn was repealed by the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised male homosexual behaviour.
Charles Gide was a French economist and historian of economic thought. He was a professor at the University of Bordeaux, at Montpellier, at Université de Paris and finally at Collège de France. His nephew was the author André Gide.
Henri Ghéon, born Henri Vangeon in Bray-sur-Seine, Seine-et-Marne, was a French playwright, novelist, poet and critic.
The Counterfeiters is a 1925 novel by French author André Gide, first published in Nouvelle Revue Française. With many characters and crisscrossing plotlines, its main theme is that of the original and the copy, and what differentiates them – both in the external plot of the counterfeit gold coins and in the portrayal of the characters' feelings and their relationships. The Counterfeiters is a novel-within-a-novel, with Édouard intending to write a book of the same title. Other stylistic devices are also used, such as an omniscient narrator who sometimes addresses the reader directly, weighs in on the characters' motivations or discusses alternate realities. Therefore, the book has been seen as a precursor of the nouveau roman. The structure of the novel was written to mirror "Cubism", in that it interweaves between several different plots and portrays multiple points of view.
John Moray Stuart-Young (1881–1939) was an English Uranian poet, memoirist, novelist and merchant trader. Stuart-Young published numerous works, including books of poetry, novels, descriptions of African life and autobiographical works. His poems are closely linked to fin-de-siècle and Uranian themes, being informed by decadence, colonialism and pederasty.
André de Richaud was a French poet and writer. After his father was killed in the First World War in 1915, his mother became a lover of a German prisoner of war, which caused him a trauma that made him later sell their house and move away. At the age of twenty he wrote an autobiographical novel Pain which greatly influenced Albert Camus. He was awarded the 1954 Prix Guillaume Apollinaire.
Charles Du Bos was a French essayist and critic, known for works including Approximations (1922–37), a seven-volume collection of essays and letters, and for his Journal, an autobiographical work published posthumously from 1946 to 1961. His other work included Byron et le besoin de la fatalité (1929), a study of Lord Byron, and Dialogue avec André Gide, an essay on his friend André Gide. Influenced by thinkers including Henri Bergson, Georg Simmel and Friedrich Nietzsche, Du Bos was well-known as a literary critic in France in the 1920s and 1930s. He maintained a distance from the political developments of those decades, while nonetheless seeking in his writing to reframe political phenomena as ethical problems. Alongside Gide and the American novelist Edith Wharton, he was involved in providing aid to Belgian refugees in Paris following the 1914 German invasion of Belgium. Raised Catholic, Du Bos lost his faith as a young man, then regained it in 1927, and regarded this conversion as the central event of his life.
Alan Sheridan was an English author and translator.
Daniel Guérin was a French anarcho-communist author, best known for his work Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, as well as his collection No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism in which he collected writings on the idea and movement it inspired, from the first writings of Max Stirner in the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. He is also known for his opposition to Nazism, fascism, capitalism, imperialism and colonialism, in addition to his support for the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) during the Spanish Civil War. His revolutionary defense of free love and homosexuality influenced the development of queer anarchism.
Maurice Étienne Legrand, who published under the pseudonym Franc-Nohain, was a French librettist and poet. He is best known for his libretti for Maurice Ravel's opera L'heure espagnole and for numerous operettas by Claude Terrasse.
Christopher Sclater Millard was the author of the first bibliography of the works of Oscar Wilde as well as several books on Wilde. Millard's bibliography was instrumental in enabling Wilde's literary executor, Robert Baldwin Ross to establish copyright on behalf of his estate.
Travels in the Congo is a French documentary film, directed by Marc Allégret. It depicts his expedition in French Equatorial Africa. The film debuted on 8 July 1927, opening at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. It was Allégret's first directorial effort. About 80 minutes of the film survive.
André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight". Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.
Travels in the Congo is a travel diary by the French author André Gide. It was published 1927 by Gallimard in France. It is often published together with another one of his travel diaries called Return from Chad.
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