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Summary Article: Gide, André (Paul Guillaume)
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

French novelist. His work is largely autobiographical and concerned with the conflict between desire and conventional morality. It includes Les Nourritures terrestres/Fruits of the Earth (1897), L'Immoraliste/The Immoralist (1902), La Porte étroite/Strait is the Gate (1909), Les Caves du Vatican/The Vatican Cellars (1914), and Les Faux-monnayeurs/The Counterfeiters (1926). He was a cofounder of the influential literary periodical Nouvelle Revue française (1908), and kept an almost lifelong Journal. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947.

Satire Gide's early work included Le Voyage d'Urien (1893), the first of his satirical works; Paludes/Marshlands, also a satire, followed in 1895. At one time, Gide looked for peace and harmony in religion; later he was attracted to communism for a time. His satirical Les Caves du Vatican, a fantastic tale, seemed to exploit the moral theory of acts without motive, and was attacked as being anti-Catholic.

Main worksLes Nourritures terrestres was at first unremarked, but this work later became one of Gide's most popular and influential books. Celebrating all aspects of life, it encouraged the expression of individual personality, regardless of convention. L'Immoraliste is an example of his clear and simple mature style. Les Faux-monnayeurs was described by Gide as his only novel (his other works were either satirical tales or short novels told from the point of view of one character); a complex work structurally, it depicts the rebellion of youth and the struggle between two generations.

AutobiographyLa Porte étroite is partly and Si le grain ne meurt/If it Die .. (1926) wholly autobiographical. Together with the Journal, the latter provides an outstanding work of personal history. The Journal reveals Gide's preoccupations and the rhythm of his existence, perpetually oscillating between discipline and anarchy, classicism and revolt, austerity and sensuality. After a visit to the Congo in 1925, he published Voyage au Congo (1927), which attacked colonialism.


Gide, André (Paul Guillaume)

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