André Gide (1869-1951) came from a family of Huguenots and recent converts to Catholicism. As a child he was often ill and his education at the École Alsacienne was interrupted by long stays in the South, where he was instructed by private tutors. His Les Cahiers d’André Walter (1891) [The Notebooks of André Walter] opened the door to the symbolist literary circles of the day, but the decisive event of these years was a journey to Algeria, where a severe illness brought him to the verge of death and precipitated his revolt against his puritanical background. Henceforth his work lived on the never resolved tensions between a strict artistic discipline, a puritanical moralism, and the desire for unlimited sensual indulgence and abandonment to life. Les Nourritures terrestres (1897) [Fruits of the Earth], the drama Saul (1903), and later Le Retour de l’enfant prodigue (1907) [The Return of the Prodigal], are the chief documents of his revolt.
A result… read more