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. I have been going through old classics on my shelves recently. A couple months ago, I re-read Albert Camus’ THE STRANGER and THE FALL.

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This maybe because ancient ruins now reminded him of death, and now he wanted life not death, and life now in the present: What harm can his sheer individual thoughts do to society? Richard Howard New York: This plan is nothing less than grand in design, but Michel, his “old turmoil” having been displaced by a feeling of serenity, must assess the amount of energy he will bring to the task of reshaping the farm.

From the beginning of the story, the conflict between individual and culture is hinted at; the question arises, “In what way might Michel be useful to the state? The book utilizes the vicissitudes of landscape, weather and nuances of emotions to seduce the reader into rooting for this most hateful of villains and his attempts at self-transformation.

As they continue their travels through Italy, Michel continues to delight in the rich scents of the land and people. Michel is a scholar of ancient civilizations, and so has spent most of his life studying dead peoples and dead cultures.

I need to feel the effort of breathing in, languidly, and the relief of breathing out before I can breathe in again and hopefully catch the oxygen I did not quite get the previous time. When he becomes well enough to take walks in the park near their hotel, Michel experiences a new sense of life welling up within him.


Unlike the characters in, say, Lord of the Flies or Heart of DarknessMichel reaches his state without leaving society. Unfortunately, she suffers a miscarriage and her health rapidly deteriorates. In he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The accident marks the end of her ascendancy in Michel’s life. This site uses cookies.

So it is with ‘The Immoralist’ I dislike Michel, the narrator and central character of the book, but I am persuaded that everything he does in the book is, for him, unavoidable.

Figure 3 Paul Bourget. This “authentic being” is discovered only when the veneer of acquired knowledge peels off. The French government is in the era of the Fifth Republic, under the Constitution of In each new location, Michel experiences new fragrances that further awaken his growing lust for life. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Gide did not give any qualms in tackling the subject that could be a taboo during that time when the world was not as open-minded as it is now.

Ali eventually introduces Michel to his sister, who is a prostitute. A dramatized version of “The Immoralist” reached Broadway in and is listed among the 10 best plays of the season. He was also influenced by the literature of Andre Gide.

And similarly goes for getting the conceptual implications of the contrast between classical and gothic architecture. Meanwhile, Michel finds himself increasingly drawn to healthy and attractive young men. Burdened by kmmoralist constant demands that have been placed upon him, Michel seeks the ordered harmony a farm embodies as an ideal, a harmony arrested from the surrounding wilderness, as well as the organic hierarchy that exists within nature itself.

Michel was raised by both his mother and father until his mother’s death, when he was fifteen. Menalque is an acquaintance of Michel who shows up at one of his university lectures in Paris.


The Immoralist by André Gide

The narrative structure and point of view of The Immoralist is somewhat complex. Michel confirms that she may be right about this.

In removing the “encrustations” that have, in his view, prevented him from becoming an “authentic being,” Michel compares himself to a palimpsest, a piece of writing that, upon close examination, reveals previous drafts or texts underneath. He imoralist academia around this time, when he wrote the “Essay on Phrygian Religious Customs”. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

The Immoralist by Andre Gide

In his quest to find what “man is still capable of,” he becomes driven by an “irresistible demon. This new man enunciates a doctrine of radical individualism, sensualism, and consumption that makes the ground give way under Michel’s feet, as he puts it.

Thus, the first two pages of The Immoralist are written in the form of a letter from an unnamed man to his brother, a Monsieur D. Michel’s interest in physical health is also indicated by the fact that he finds himself drawn to the most healthy and attractive looking Arab boys, while his wife tends to prefer the sickly and homely looking children.

There is no direct reference immoralisf the novel to homosexuality, but only indirect hints regarding Michel’s physical attraction to adolescent boys and his general lack of interest in maintaining a gjde relationship with his wife.

Yet with this change, Michel did not seem to develop his own sense of morality; rather he sometimes acted in accordance with generally accepted morality and sometimes against it.

That, for me is the lesson this book purports: View all 39 comments.