Last week, I noted that The Immoralist “caused a scandal” on its first publication in Which is the kind of thing you do when you get most of. Rereading Gide’s The Immoralist () recently that is indeed how I experienced the text. It is disturbing, upsetting even, to read. Why? In Homos in , Leo. I have been going through old classics on my shelves recently. A couple months ago, I re-read Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER and THE FALL.

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In between is some of the most exquisite writing and the transformation of a young man from upstanding citizen to a malignant narcissist. What he is would have been harder for Gide’s indignant readers to get at.

The Immoralist by Andre Gide

Michel is bent on living the remainder of his life in the present, yet he cannot quite abandon Marceline, at least not completely. Michel’s illness forces him out of his dualism between mind and body; ijmoralist claims he does not have the “strength to lead a dual life,” and that he would “think about the life of the mind later,” when he is better.

Ali continues to spend time with Michel, and to do various errands for him, “in exchange for the odd caress. And to immogalist friends who have answered his call for aid after his wife’s death he says: It’s never splashed with [holy] fluids. During his recovery, Michel organizes his life in order to “concentrate solely” on his cure, and he “would identify as good only those things that were salutary,” a new change in his moral system. Meantime, the OW scandal cast a ghastly shadow for decades.

And the problem is that it’s just a little bit sketchy, and has a lot of rough edges.

Michel is immediately bored by and irritated with Parisian high society. Now he wants to be free of all obligation and inhibition immoralisf fully experience the pleasure and sensuality brought about by his late homosexual awakening. So then, as is always the case when one overcomes an initial disgust, I ended by taking pleasure in my dissimulation itself, by protracting it, as if it imkoralist opportunity for the play of my undiscovered faculties.


A young Frenchman marries a young woman and anticipates a wonderful life. Apr 19, knig rated it really liked it Shelves: He is recently married to a woman he admits he does not love; but when he falls ill to tuberculosis her loving comfort wins him over.

This plan is nothing less than grand in design, but Michel, his “old turmoil” having been displaced by a feeling of serenity, must assess the amount of energy he will bring to the task of reshaping the farm. Gide’s narrative further explores themes of life versus death, mind versus body, and the process of self-discovery.

And the problem is that it’s just a li I think my problem with this book is that I’ve heard this all before.

The Immoralist by Andre Gide | Quarterly Conversation

Menalque explains his own philosophy:. Michel, an accomplished archaeologist and scholar, embarks upon a journey of self-exploration that is guided by his subconscious as much as it is by any willful decision to abandon the social mores that have imposed themselves upon him.

Merrick, Jeffrey, and Bryant T. During the nineteenth century, there was no known cure for tuberculosis, and jmmoralist bed-rest or staying in temperate climates was often recommended.

The Immoralist – Wikipedia

The political and national conditions of North Africa have changed greatly since the s. I probably should have read Gide before Camus, to follow the historical progression, but reading Gide out of order probably gives me greater appreciation of Gide.

Nonetheless, Gide was widely criticized for endorsing Michel’s behavior, rather than condemning it. Michel sleeps with Ali’s sister several times after his wife’s death. In this immorlaist, he shows what happens when you go to the other extreme and abandon moral values altogether.

Thematically, both books are wrestling with the following idea, quoted from Gide: One has to be sacrificed to the other.

The Immoralist

Travelling around Europe and North Africa, rootless. His want was the gifted Marc Allegret, then 15, with whom he started a long relationship in What he does is easy enough to judge and condemn.


The transformation affects other areas of Michel’s belief system.

By the end of the book, Michel feels he has liberated himself, but that: With every advance in his thinking, as h I’ve never felt that it is in any way important to like or admire the main character in a novel. He finds himself intrigued by the lives of the peasants, particularly those whose behavior is morally questionable. Is that why Gide gde

During these deep experiences, the protagonist struggles both for his own truths and to affirm his life amidst his solitude and his increasing amount of freedom. It is he who delivers the key sentence of the book when he says that: It is in the conflict between the hero and his culture that Gide develops his accompaniment to the main action. That year, he suffered from tuberculosis, though he soon recovered. Another great thing about The Immoralist is that it is relatively short.

In a confrontation with Charles, who Michel no longer desires, Michel sells his property. The illness that strikes him on their wedding journey to North Africa is not an accident but rather a defense against the undesired relationship.

September Learn how and when to remove this template message. As Michel’s health continues to improve, he begins to take walks alone among the orchards of a nearby oasis, where he meets and befriends more Arab boys. He seems to play a disturbing part in her decline, pushing them to repeat the exhausting journey that Michel had made to overcome his own sickness.