Saturday 28 September 2019

Book Review: The Immoralist by André Gide (Modern Classics)

Title: The Immoralist
Author: André Gide

Publication Date: 2001 (1902)
Modern Classics
Borrowed from the Library


In The Immoralist , André Gide presents the confessional account of a man seeking the truth of his own nature. The story's protagonist, Michel, knows nothing about love when he marries the gentle Marceline out of duty to his father. On the couple's honeymoon to Tunisia, Michel becomes very ill, and during his recovery he meets a young Arab boy whose radiant health and beauty captivate him. An awakening for him both sexually and morally, Michel discovers a new freedom in seeking to live according to his own desires. But, as he also discovers, freedom can be a burden. A frank defense of homosexuality and a challenge to prevailing ethical concepts, The Immoralist is a literary landmark, marked by Gide's masterful, pure, simple style.

The Immoralist is an interesting text which must, I feel, be read while keeping in mind historical context. It is a compelling psychological study, yet once or twice I felt I wanted more from it. Michel is a character I can see coming well from the pen of someone like Dostoevsky; although, I did enjoy Gide's simple prose style, which made this book a quick and easy read. I think it is certainly a key text from the turn of the twentieth century.

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