André Gide

André Gide (André Paul Guillaume Gide, 22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) was a French writer.

Born into an austere Protestant family, Gide was educated mostly at home by private tutors. In 1877, he attended the École Alsacienne for a while, but was soon dismissed, after having been caught masturbating (which, at the time, was framed as “having indulged in bad habits”). In his journals, Gide wrote that, until 23, he lived “completely virgin and depraved“.

In 1889, he starts to attend literary salons, where he meets, among others, Stéphane Mallarmé, Oscar Wilde, and Paul Valéry. At 21, in 1891, Gide publishes his first book, Les Cahiers d’André Walter.

In 1893, he leaves France on a nine-month trip to Tunisia, Algeria, and Italy, during which he starts to have sexual relationships with boys. Two years later, after the sudden death of his mother, he marries his cousin Madeleine Rondeaux, in 1895.

During the winter of 1898, Gide took an interest in the Dreyfus affair, and signed the petition to support Émile Zola. He also published a tribute to Oscar Wilde, in 1902, to preserve the memory of the writer against the attacks of Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas.

In 1909, Gide was one of the founders of the magazine Nouvelle Revue Française. In 1912, he rejected Proust’s manuscript of Du côté de chez Swann, when it was first submitted to the publishing house attached to the magazine NRF (which would later become the Gallimard). Two years later, in a letter addressed to Proust, Gide wrote about the event: “The refusal of this book will remain the most serious error of the NRF, and (because I am ashamed to be so responsible for it) one of the most bitter regrets of my life.”

During World War I, Gide worked for the Red Cross, and later in a convalescent home for wounded soldiers, as well as in a shelter to war refugees. During the 1920s, he became an advocate for the oppressed peoples of colonized regions, as well as for women’s rights and the humane treatment of criminals.

In 1917, Gide falls in love with the 16-year-old Marc Allégret, the son of one his former tutors, and begins a brief affair with him, during a trip to Cambridge, in 1918. Madeleine then decides to separate from Gide, and burns all of his letters – “I suffered as if she had murdered our child (…) the best part of myself,” Gide later commented.

In 1923, he had a daughter with a married woman, Elisabeth van Rysselberghe, but only recognized the child after the death of Madeleine, in 1938. In 1942, he left France and lived in Tunis until the end of WWII. In 1947, Gide received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He died in Paris in 1951, following a pulmonary congestion.

In 1946, when asked which of his books he would choose if only one were to survive, Gide replied: “I think it would be my journals.” In 1952, his works were entered into the Roman Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books.

Books

  • Les Cahiers d’André Walter, 1891
  • Le Traité du Narcisse, 1891
  • Les Poésies d’André Walter, 1892
  • Le Voyage d’Urien, 1893
  • La Tentative amoureuse, 1893
  • Paludes, 1895
  • Réflexions sur quelques points de littérature et de morale, 1897
  • Les Nourritures terrestres, 1897
  • Feuilles de route 1895-1896, 1897
  • Le Prométhée mal enchaîné, 1899
  • Philoctète et El Hadj, 1899
  • Lettres à Angèle, 1900
  • De l’Influence en littérature, 1900
  • Le Roi Candaule, 1901
  • Les Limites de l’Art, 1901
  • L’Immoraliste, 1902
  • Saül, 1903
  • De l’Importance du Public, 1903
  • Prétextes, 1903
  • Amyntas, 1906
  • Le Retour de l’Enfant prodigue, 1907
  • Dostoïevsky d’après sa correspondance, 1908
  • La Porte étroite, 1909
  • Oscar Wilde, 1910
  • Nouveaux Prétextes, 1911
  • Charles-Louis Philippe, 1911
  • Isabelle, 1911
  • Bethsabé, 1912
  • Souvenirs de la cour d’assises, 1914
  • Les Caves du Vatican, 1914
  • La Symphonie pastorale, 1919
  • Corydon, 1920
  • Morceaux choisis, 1921
  • Pages choisies, 1921
  • Numquid et tu… ?, 1922
  • Dostoïevsky, 1923
  • Incidences, 1924
  • Corydon, 1924
  • Caractères, La Porte étroite, 1925
  • Les Faux-monnayeurs, 1925
  • Si le grain ne meurt, 1926
  • Le Journal des Faux-Monnayeurs, 1926
  • Dindiki, 1927
  • Voyage au Congo, 1927
  • Le Retour du Tchad, 1928
  • L’École des femmes, 1929
  • Essai sur Montaigne, 1929
  • Un esprit non prévenu, 1929
  • Robert, 1930
  • La Séquestrée de Poitiers, 1930
  • L’Affaire Redureau, 1930
  • Œdipe, 1931
  • Divers, 1931
  • Perséphone, 1934
  • Pages de Journal 1929-1932, 1934
  • Les Nouvelles Nourritures, 1935
  • Nouvelles Pages de Journal 1932-1935, 1936
  • Geneviève, 1936
  • Retour de l’U.R.S.S., 1936
  • Retouches à mon Retour de l’U.R.S.S., 1937
  • Notes sur Chopin, Revue Internationale de Musique, 1938
  • Journal 1889-1939, 1939
  • Découvrons Henri Michaux, 1941
  • Théâtre: Saül, Le Roi Candaule, Œdipe, Perséphone, Le Treizième Arbre, 1942.
  • Interviews imaginaires, 1943
  • Pages de Journal: 1939-1941, 1944
  • Pages de Journal 1939-1942, 1944
  • Thésée, 1946
  • Souvenirs littéraires et problèmes actuels, 1946
  • Le Retour, 1946
  • Paul Valéry, 1947
  • Poétique1947
  • Le Procès, 1947
  • L’Arbitraire, 1947
  • Préfaces, 1948
  • Rencontres, 1948
  • Les Caves du Vatican (farce), 1948.
  • Éloges, 1948.
  • Robert ou l’Intérêt général, 1949.
  • Feuillets d’automne, 1949
  • Journal 1942-1949, 1950.
  • Littérature engagée, 1950.
  • Égypte 1939, 1951
  • Et nunc manet in te, 1951.
  • Ainsi soit-il ou Les Jeux sont faits, 1952.
  • Le Récit de Michel, 1972.
  • Selected Letters of André Gide & Dorothy Bussy, ed. Richard Tedeschi (1983)
  • À Naples, 1993.
  • Le Grincheux, 1993.
  • L’Oroscope ou Nul n’évite sa destinée (scénario), 1995.
  • Isabelle (scénario avec Pierre Herbart), 1996.
  • Journal, vol. 1 : 1887-1925, vol. 2 : 1926-1950, 1996, 1997.
  • Le Ramier, 2002.
  • Hugo, hélas !, 2002.
  • Histoire de Pierrette, 2010.
  • Quelques réflexions sur l’abandon du sujet dans les arts plastiques, 2011.
  • Correspondance 1899-1950 avec Maria van Rysselberghe, ed. Peter Schnyder and Juliette Solvès, 2016.
  • Correspondance 1890-1943 avec Marcel Drouin, ed. Nicolas Drouin, 2019

 

About him

  •  André Gide, by Thomas Cordle, 1969.
  • André Gide: A Life in the Present, by Alan Sheridan, 1999.
  • André Gide, by Martine Sagaert, 2002.
  • André Gide l’inquiéteur, by Frank Lestringant, 2011.

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