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. Book reviews that go beyond a simple review but are insights on thoughts, feelings and the magic of books. The Immoralist by Andre Gide.

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Review by The Quarterly Conversation Tags: What would be the description of happiness?

Reading group: A slap in the face from André Gide’s The Immoralist

Nothing, except what prepares and then what destroys it, can be told. Thematically, both books are wrestling with the following idea, quoted from Gide: I reached a point of enjoying in others only the wildest behavior, deploring whatever constraint inhibited any excess.

I came close to regarding honesty itself as no more than restriction, convention, timidity. I imagine The Immoralistwith its strong hints of pedophilia and with its apparent embrace the passionate pursuit of personal desires and the mixing of the classes, was probably a good deal more shocking in its day than it feels now. Howard compares it to Freud and Nietzsche, both of whom certainly have worn with time. What I like most about this book, what most struck me the first time through, is the description of how the narrator Michel comes to embrace sensuality.


It is when this disease brings him to the brink of death that Michel realizes the worth of living. Much more interestingly, his battle with tuberculosis forces his mind to reconcile with the body it inhabits, and through the disease Michel becomes sensitive to bodily sensations and, perhaps, stops seeing the mind and body as separate things. I had forgotten I was alone, forgotten the time, expecting nothing.

Reading group: A slap in the face from André Gide’s The Immoralist | Books | The Guardian

It seemed to me that until this moment I had felt so little by virtue of thinking so much that I was astonished by a discovery: This seems to be the pivotal moment for the book, as not only does overcoming the disease put Michel in touch with sensuality, it also forces him to hide this new side of himself from his wife, ommoralist is the wellspring of his love for transgressions.

I ended by enjoying the dissimulation itself, savoring it as I savored the functioning of my unsuspected faculties. And I advanced every day into a richer, fuller life, toward a more delicious happiness. Of note here is how Michel comes to his amoral or immoral final state. Unlike the characters in, say, Lord of imomralist Flies or Heart of DarknessMichel reaches his state without leaving society.

True, he gets his start in Africa, but it is only in France that he truly discovers and embraces his new ethic.


The Immoralist – Wikipedia

Rather, Michel perfects his taste for the immoral while interacting with the uncouth French peasants that manage his estates.

Once in France, Michel meets frustrations.

From our very first conversations, I was more of less obliged by them to act a part—either to resemble the man they thought I still was, or else appear to be pretending. Again there are hints of homosexuality:. After the mimoralist criticisms and the inept compliments, his few words about my lecture were a relief.

Have dinner with me tonight. Michel ends up alone in dark Africa leading a debauched life. People dare not—they dare not turn the page.

The laws of mimicry—I call them the laws of fear. What seems different in yourself: And we claim to love life.

Forster Over and Under. The Tongue of Adam by Abdelfattah Kilito No longer than the lead piece in the latest literary quarterly, yet unearthing a teleology for Stefan Zweig’s World of Yesterday Zweig was obsessed gife the impossibility of attaining any distance on catastrophe in an age of Who Was David Foster Wallace?

Part of me believes that it is his nonfiction that will be predominantly read in the years ahea