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André Gide (1869 – 1951)

Related: French literature - symbolist literature - gay fiction

Contemporaries: H. G. Wells - Erik Satie - Karl Marx - Frank Lloyd Wright - Magnus Hirschfeld - Gaston Leroux - Pierre Lou˙s - Adolf Loos - Marcel Proust - Aubrey Beardsley - Louis Feuillade - Alfred Jarry


André Paul Guillaume Gide (November 22, 1869 – February 19, 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career spanned from the symbolist movement to the advent of anticolonialism in-between the two World Wars.

Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritan constraints, and gravitates around his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty. His self-exploratory texts reflect his search of how to be fully oneself, even to the point of owning one's sexual nature, without at the same time betraying one's values. His political activity is informed by the same ethos, as suggested by his repudiation of communism after his 1936 voyage to the USSR.

Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the two sides of his personality, split apart by a straightlaced education and a narrow social moralism - as he perceives himself: the austere and refined Protestant, and the divinely inspired - and no longer blushing - pederast. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Gide [Jun 2006]

Corydon (1924) André Gide

Corydon (1924) André Gide [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Considered by Gide to be the most important of his books, this slim, exquisitely crafted volume consists of four dialogues on the subject of homosexuality and its place in society.

Published anonymously in bits and pieces between 1911 and 1920, Corydon first appeared in a signed, commercial edition in France in 1924 and in the United States in 1950, the year before Gide's death. The present edition features the impeccable translation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Howard.

In spirited dialogue with his bigoted, boorish interviewer, Corydon marshals evidence from naturalists, historians, poets, and philosophers to support his contention that homosexuality pervaded the most culturally and artistically advanced civilizations, from Greece in the age of Pericles to Renaissance Italy and England in the age of Shakespeare. Although obscured by later critics, literature and art from Homer to Titian proclaim the true nature of relationships between such lovers as Achilles and Patrocles--not to mention Virgil's mythical Corydon and his shepherd, Alexis. The evidence, Corydon suggests, points to heterosexuality as a socially constructed union, while the more fundamental, natural relation is the homosexual one.

"My friends insist that this little book is of the kind which will do me the greatest harm," Gide wrote of his Corydon. In these pages, contemporary readers will find a prescient and courageous treatment of a topic that has scarcely become less controversial. --Book Description

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