Friday, 25 November 2011

REVIEW:- Andre GIDE “The Immoralist“

Year Published: - 1902
Where the book was from:- My own copy
ISBN: - 978-0-141-18299-5
Pages: - 124pp
Genre: - Classic French novel
Location:- France and Tunisia
How I came across it: - Re-reading to see if I liked it better
Rating: - ***** *

One sentence summary:- I read this in French in my early twenties and didn't enjoy it – my re-reading, an English version, did not endear me to it any more though parts are eminently quotable.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- Michel is ignorant of love when he marries Marceline out of a sense of duty to his father. They honeymoon in Tunisia where Michel becomes very ill. Marceline nurses him and during his recovery Michel is amused by an Arab boy who awakens him both sexually and morally – or immorally.

General comments:- “L'Immoraliste confronts 'the fundamental eternal problem of the moral conditions of our excistence.'” Alan Sheridan.

I present this book for what it I worth. It is a fruit filled with bitter ash, like those colocynths which sprout in the most arid deserts; rather than quench your thirst, they scorch your mouth even more, yet against their backdrop of golden sand they are not without a certain beauty.

I believe that any heightened sensitivity can be a source of pleasure or pain, depending upon the strength or weakness of one's constitution.

I likened myself to a palimpsest. I felt the joy of a scholar who discovers, beneath newer writing, a more ancient and infinitely more precious text inscribed on the same piece of paper.

Nearer to the sky than it is to the sea, Ravello stands on a steep hill overlooking the flat, distant coast of Paestum.

The finest works of mankind are universally concerned with suffering. How would one tell a story about happiness.

Oh, these honest Swiss. Where do their good manners get them? They have no crime, no history, no literature, no art... They are like a sturdy rosebush without thorns or flowers.

AUTHOR Notes:- André Paul Guillaume Gide (1869 – 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.

New or unusual words - colocynth

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