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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Immoralist by André Gide 
16th-Jul-2006 11:59 pm
I had planned to buy the Dover Thrift edition, but I was bestowed a copy of the (more expensive) Vintage International edition...as well as a copy of The Counterfeiters.

Gide, André. The Immoralist. Trans. Richard Howard. 1970. New York: Vintage International, 1996. (Original French Edition: 1902)
Summary: While on his honeymoon with Marceline, Michel contracts tuberculosis and nearly dies. In recovery, he becomes determined to live a life of the senses and pleasurable experience--which ultimately leads to the injudicious loss of his farm and the death of his wife.
Comments: After the stark, emotional violence and unforgettable characters of Strait is the Gate, this earlier Gide novel was somewhat disappointing. I mean, about the most debauched thing that Michel does is befriend people--or, rather, men and boys--who steal from him. Suffice to say that I could imagine a person A LOT more immoral than Michel! Obviously, immorality and hedonism is just the veneer; what this is novel is REALLY about is a man who wants the companionship, sympathies, and (perhaps) sexual favors of other men...and how those desires get in the way of and tragically doom a prosaic and productive upper class, academic, married life. At the time, I'm sure it was quite the controversial subject. Readers will note distinct similarities to The Picture of Dorian Gray, but that story is the better of the two for it welcomes interpretation in favor of ANY moral decay, not just closeted homosexuality. Perhaps because it struck Gide so close to home, it was more difficult to write well about.
Notes: trade paperback, 12th printing
Rating: 5/10 - Another educational but unsatisfying read.
1st-Aug-2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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