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The Immoralist Hardcover – Feb 1984


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Hardcover, Feb 1984
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T) (Feb 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394605004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394605005
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,980,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Andre Gide was born in Paul Guillaume in Paris. He was author of over 50 volumes of fiction, poetry, plays, criticism, biography, belles lettres, and translations. Among his best-known works are FRUITS OF THE EARTH and THE COUNTERFEITERS, his translations of OEDIPUS and HAMLET, and his JOURNAL. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947. Gide died in 1951. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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My dear friends, I knew I could rely on your loyalty. Read the first page
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Oct 2000
Format: Paperback
The Immoralist is straightforward in language and easy to read, but more complicated, more complex are its themes: Man's sense of morality towards society, family, himself. What happens when man's values conflict with those of society's? Whose interests should be served? Gide explores these themes through one man's odyssey of self-discovery. The protagonist is the learned and conflicted Michel who yearns for something more than the stable, predictable, familiar life he has always known, but no longer finds tolerable. It is after a life-threatening bout of tuberculosis that these feelings rise to the surface, intensify, and are more keenly felt.
This hunger, still unidentified, takes him on a journey, both literal and figurative, where his search for self-awareness, or self-truth, carries him to distant and exotic locales. New experiences and mysterious encounters give way to a new aestheticism in which weakness, constraint, and life's banalities play no role. Heightened senses, unsuppressed impulses erode age-old human values that were once accepted blindly.
A life less checked, though, can have consequences, as is the case for Michel, and for so many others like him. As Michel becomes stronger, his wife becomes weaker. Indeed, society becomes weaker. How can the newly strong fail to quash the weak in their path? The question one must ask, then, and Gide does, is whether a life without restraint has value. Is there something admirable in the old adage, "To thine own self be true"?
One of the novel's most inspired moments is found in its ending. Without giving anything away, it is the last passage, after the reader has come full-circle, where Michel's journey seemingly ends. Will Michel embrace his new truth? The reader is left to wonder. The Immoralist is told in narrative, in Michel's own voice. It is self-confessional literature at its highest, and should be read by anyone who reads to think and be moved.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Poldy on 13 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
This short novel is narrated by Michel, a young landowner, recently married. So far in his short life, Michel has dedicated himself to study and research, sequestering himself in libraries, living for his books, and only married to satisfy his dying father. On his honeymoon, Michel falls desperately ill, coming close to death, but, when he recovers, he discovers something he had never noticed before: life. Suddenly, Michel finds himself entranced by everything around him: nature, wildlife, and people. Specifically, Michel has been awakened to the beauty of the young native boys around him, entranced by their vitality and naturalness, unsullied by quotidian working life. Michel embraces his newfound freedom with the entirety of his being, discovering aspects of himself he never suspected could exist.
Gide raises interesting questions in this novel about duty and morals. To what extent are our morals derived from the world around us, and to what extent are they a genuine response to our personality interacting with the world. Gide is never heavy-handed or prone to preach in his raising of these important questions, and he guides his readers into thinking through the implications for themselves.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Phil O'Sofa on 27 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
Michel invites his three best friends to join him at his Algerian retreat so that he can tell them about his experiences since he last saw them, three years previously. The story begins with his honeymoon in Tunisia, with a wife he doesn't love, and where Michel falls seriously ill. He almost dies, but gradually recovers and 'starts to live his life'. While still in Tunisia he mostly ignores Marceline, his new wife, and finds himself attracted to various young Arab boys, befriending them, though not engaging them sexually. On their return journey through Italy however, Michel gives Marceline more attention and comes to appreciate her beauty, finally falling in love with her.
Back in France he visits the Normandy estate that he inherited from his mother, and where he befriends the estate-manager's son. Marceline becomes pregnant and they set up home in Paris, but after a few months she becomes very ill herself and loses the baby.
Michel feels trapped in a false life and finds himself questioning the moral values of so-called civilized society. Returning to the country he spends his time with the uneducated peasants that work on his estate, drawn to their more primitive lifestyles 'like a fly to rotting meat'. He befriends brutish young men, though there is still no mention of homosexual acts.
When his wife's illness worsens they set off on another journey south, eventually returning to Tunisia and on to Algeria. Whilst his wife lies ill in a hotel bed Michel goes off in search of young Arab boys. His wife dies, and this is when he asks his friends to visit him. 'Take me away from here and give me a reason to live' he tells them. 'I no longer have one.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By deadbeat VINE VOICE on 3 May 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a book on many levels. On the one hand, important questions are raised, such as, do we have a debt to society? or are morals dependent on society? On the other hand, it is a beauifully written book, depicting either tenderness between lovers or idyllic landscapes, with poetic ease.
I would advise, if you intend to read this novel, or have already done so, that you read another of Andre Gide's books with it, called Straight is The Gate. Its themes are quite different, for instance, fidelity and religion, yet when read together with The Immoralist, the two books contrast each other in a very pleasing way. They balance each other, if you like.
Though, whatever the case, if you like Andre Gide, or are interested in French literature, you will definitely like this book.
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