A travelling hedonist attempts to transcend the limitations of conventional morality by surrendering to his appetites in this well-known work by a master of modern French literature. Much acclaimed for his perception and purity of style, André Gide (1869-1951) received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947. In The Immoralist, his classic examination of individual freedom and identity, he fuses autobiographical elements with both biblical and classical symbolism. Stanley Appelbaum skillfully preserves the passion and intensity of the original in his new English translation.
First published in 1902 and immediately assailed for its themes of omnisexual abandon and perverse aestheticism, The Immoralist is the novel that launced André Gide's reputation as one of France's most audacious literary stylists, a groundbreaking work that opens the door onto a universe of unfettered impulse whose possibilities still seem exhilarating and shocking. Gide's protagonist is the frail, scholarly Michel, who shortly after his wedding nearly dies of tuberculosis. He recovers only through the ministrations of his wife, Marceline, and his sudden, ruthless determination to live a life unencumbered by God or values. What ensues is a wild flight into the realm of the senses that culminates in a reomote outpost in the Sahara--where Michel's hunger for new experiences at any cost bears lethal consequences. The Immoralist is a book with the power of an erotic fever dream--lush, prophetic, and eerily seductive.
Set in an Algerian village, a young man, Michel, challenges the prevailing morality in his search for self-fulfillment.
THE STORY: An unusually honest and perceptive treatment of a difficult theme--homosexuality. The NY Times wrote: THE IMMORALIST is an admirable piece of work...It is the story of a scrupulous and pleasant young man who marries a neighborhood girl aga
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 "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. Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation of the two sides of his personality, split apart by a straitlaced education and a narrow social moralism. Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical constraints, and centres on his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty.
Essay from the year 2000 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: A, University of Kent, course: Ideas in the Arts - Truth in Fiction, 2 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Individuality and self-perception are the main themes of both 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath and André Gide’s 'The Immoralist'. This is so on at least two levels. Both their stories are presented by an unreliable and probably even biased narrator, who is also the main character Michel in 'The Immoralist' and Esther in 'The Bell Jar'. This may be a remainder of the strong autobiographical character of these works. It is this similarity, which makes it very interesting to compare those novels with regard to the question of how individuality is portrayed and how the characters perceive themselves. Of course, there is not enough room here, to discuss, in what ways those novels reflect their authors and how authentic they are. As these are both works of fiction, we have to be very careful as not to just translate ‘Ester’ as Sylvia and ‘Michel’ as André. We can only say, that on the first level, we have these fictional characters, who have a certain outlook on life and how they fit into the world as they perceive it - and this will be our main concern - but on a ‘meta-level’ we have the authors’ ideas on how we perceive ourselves and what individuality is. I would argue that this is an eperience, which cannot be transgressed it is something personal, that we can never get rid of. So when, Sylvia Plath invents the figure Esther, her perception of herself and the world around her cannot be completely different from her creator’s perspective. But just as it cannot be wholly different it cannot be complete either. What is worked into such fictitious characters are just elements of ourselves and sometimes they can represent earlier stages in our development - earlier selves both of the character and probably also of their authors.
A Study Guide for Andre Gide's "The Immoralist," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Novels for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Novels for Students for all of your research needs.