Saturday, November 17, 2007

Andre Gide

Athman the model for Moktir in 'The Immoralist'

Photo of Gide

André Gide won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947.
Few writers in the twentieth century have been as influential as Andre Gide, according to Geoffrey Heptonstall. (Andre Gide: A Life in the Present - Review Contemporary Review ... )

In 1893 and 1894 Gide traveled to North Africa and took a sexual interest in a number of young boys.
In Tunisia Gide lost his virginity, at the age of twenty-three, to a fourteen-year-old Arab boy called Athman. (Gide, André)

"None of the boys or their families ever complained about their treatment at Gide’s hands." (Who is Andre Gide?)

In 1895, Gide married his cousin Madeleine Rondeaux.

In 1902, Gide wrote L'immoraliste about a character called Michel who loves boys (pederastic tastes).

In 1916, Marc Allégret, aged 16, became Gide's lover.

Marc Allegret was the son of the best man at Gide's wedding. Gide adopted Marc.

Gide defended homosexuality in his book of essays entitled Corydon (1924).

In Corydon, Gide uses scientists', historians', poets' and philosophers' evidence to back up the argument that 'homosexuality pervaded the most culturally and artistically advanced civilizations (such as Periclean Greece, Renaissance Italy and Elizabethan England) and that this was reflected by writers and artists from Homer and Virgil to Titian and Shakespeare in their depictions of male-male relationships (such as Achilles and Patroclus) as homosexual (rather than platonic or friendship-based as other critics argue they were)'.

Gide suggests that homosexuality is more fundamental and natural than heterosexuality, the latter being merely a union constructed by society.

In 1925, Gide produced Les faux-monnayeurs 'which contains a considerable number of bisexual or gay male characters — the adolescent Olivier and at least to a certain unacknowledged degree his friend Bernard, in all likeliness their schoolfellows Gontran and Philippe, and finally the adult writers Comte de Passavant (who represents an evil and corrupting force) and the benevolent Edouard.'

During the 1920s, Gide grew in fame as a writer, inspiring Camus and Sartre.

Andre Gide said:

"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better."

"Dare to be yourself."


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