In language and tone, I find Andre Gide’s The Immoralist reminding me much of the work of J.M. Coetzee, specifically Disgrace. Both authors use a very pared. There is an oft-cited sentence in André Gide’s journal entry for March 28, , in which Rereading Gide’s The Immoralist () recently that is indeed how I. Gide, Andre: The Immoralist (new tr by Richard Howard).
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My touch was a caress; it gave me rapture. The cassias, whose flowers come very early, before their leaves, gave out a delicious scent — or was it from all around me that came the faint, strange perfume, which seemed to enter me by several senses at once and which so uplifted me?
The goatherd who played the flute was there. If 1 had held my hero up as an example, it must be admitted that my immoralisst would have been small. I had gone to bed but could not sleep. Michel says the weather has been of crystalline clearness for the last two months. They travel through North Africa, where Marceline’s health grows increasingly worse. It seemed never to have ex- isted, so tranquil was I.
At that moment there came a gentle breath of wind; all the palms waved and we saw the tallest of the trees bending; then the whole air grew calm again, and I distinctly heard, coming from behind the wall, the song of a flute. I ended by avoiding ruins; the noblest monu- ments of the past were less to me than those sunk gardens of the Latomie whose lemons have the sharp sweetness of oranges — or the shores of the Cyane, still flowing among the papyri as blue as on the day when it wept for Proserpine.
Wasn’t it enough for me to be ill?
Perhaps the trouble that The Immoralist engendered came from its implicit sense that the world for immooralist it was written was unstable and would soon disappear. I will tell you, however, about one other action of mine, though perhaps you will consider it ridicu- lous, for its very childishness marks the need that then tormented immoraliet of showing by some outward sign the change that had come over my inward self: I spent almost all my time gidd Marceline; thinking less of myself, I was able to think more of her, and now took as much pleasure in talking to her anfre I had before taken in being silent.
She was sitting in the bow; I drew near, and for the first time really looked at her. First, we hid them to our loved ones or even to ourselves by not facing them heads on. If I had intended this book to be an indictment of Michel, I should have succeeded as little, for no one was grateful to me for the indignation he felt against my hero; it was as though he felt this indignation in spite of me; it overflowed from Michel on to myself; I seemed indeed within an ace of immoralisf confounded with him.
The Arab dogs, which yelp all night like jackals, could only just be heard in the distance. It had been my night of vigil before the battle.
I was expecting something a little more shocking as I heard this book was considered scandalous at the turn of the last century. I dressed quickly and, instead of going down to Amalfi as usual, Anrre turned my steps towards some mossy, grass-grown rocks, in a place far from any habitation, far from any road, where I knew no one could see me.
Is the misogyny so overt that we can hold the text to be self-conscious about it? Knopf English, Vintage Books Howard translation, The moral scholar, or the free-spirited hedonist? View all 25 comments. I reached a point of enjoying in others only the wildest behavior, deploring whatever constraint inhibited any excess.
The Immoralist by Andre Gide
The companion volume to La Porte Etroite. The novel was adapted into a play of the same name by Augustus and Ruth Goetz.
I was breathing more easily too, and so I walked more lightly; and yet at the first bench I sat down, but it was because I was excited — dazzled — rather than tired.
I was, I think, a little feverish; there was a bottle of mineral water beside me; I drank a glass, two glasses; the third time, I drank out of the bottle itself and emptied it at a draught. I intended to put it into execution that very evening.
The Immoralist by Andre Gide | Quarterly Conversation
He liked talking; told me where the river came from, and that after running through the public gardens, it flowed into the oasis, which it traversed from end to end. I spoke truly, but no doubt I was still very weak, for it was not till more than a month later that I desired Marceline. That night was a very good one. New York Copyright by Alfred A. Before she dies, she comments on the new doctrine that has taken hold of Michel and how there is no place for her within said doctrine.
I imagine The Immoralistwith its strong hints of pedophilia and with its apparent embrace the passionate pursuit of personal desires and the mixing of the classes, was probably a good deal more shocking in its day than it feels now.
One can- not both be sincere and seem so. I found her in the dining-room, busied over a very small boy, so frail and sickly looking that my first feeling was one of disgust rather than pity.
Gide’s prose is both sensual and dark; we know through Michel’s subtle ruminations and interactions that he is illicitly attracted to young boys.
I pushed aside the marbles and dropped into an armchair. I looked at her fixedly and then said as gently as I could: So there I was, with more than two hundred acres left on my hands. Knowing how to free oneself is nothing; the difficult thing is knowing how to live with that freedom.