1947 : Andre Gide

1947 : Andre Gide

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“for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight”



November 22, 1869

Place of birth





February 19, 1951

Place of death





Novelist, essayist




Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 1947


Born in Paris, France, son of Paul Gide, a law professor at the University of Paris, who died in 1880. His uncle was the political economist Charles Gide. Raised in Normandy, with health problems and live virtually isolated, he became a prolific writer from an early age. In 1895, after the death of his mother Juliette Rondeax, he married his cousin Madeleine Rondeax, but the link was never consummated. In 1891 he published his first poems, The Notebooks of Andre Walter (Les Cahiers d’Andre Walter). In 1893 and 1894 Gide traveled in North Africa. Befriended with Oscar Wilde in Algeria and later began to recognize their homosexual orientation. In 1896 he was mayor of La Roque-Baignard, a commune in Normandy. The food in 1897 published ground, after poor Prometheus Bound in 1899 to Angela and Letters in 1900. In 1908 he collaborated in the literary magazine La Nouvelle Revue Francaise. It will not be until the end of World War I when their works are widely known. In the 1920s Gide became an inspiration for writers as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1923 he published a book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, however, to defend homosexuality in an edition of Corydon in 1924, received poor reviews. Later, he found that he had been his best work. In 1923 their daughter Catherine was born, the daughter of Mary Van Rysselberghe. His wife Madeleine died in 1938. Later he used the backdrop of not consummated their marriage in his novel Et nunc you in Manet, 1951. Since 1925 began to seek better conditions for criminals, and the following year he published his autobiography, If the seed does not die (If you grain ne meurt). From July 1926 until May 1927, he traveled to the French colonies in Africa with his nephew Marc Allegret. He was in the present Republic of the Congo, Oubangui-Chari (now the Central African Republic), Chad, Cameroon and then back to France. Recounted their pilgrimages in a newspaper that called Journey Back to the Congo and Chad. In these stories criticizing the behavior of French economic interests in the Congo and inspired reform. Particularly criticized the regime for major concessions. This regime remembered how much of the colony was granted to French companies and in what area could exploit natural resources, mainly rubber. Recounted, for example, how the natives were forced to leave their villages for several weeks to collect rubber in the forest, comparing this exploitation to slavery. During the 1930s, briefly became a communist, but became disillusioned after his visit to the Soviet Union. His criticism of communism caused him to lose several of its socialist friends, especially when he published his book Back in the USSR in 1936. In 1933 I collaborate with Igor Stravinsky in a ballet, Persephone. During World War II returned to Africa in 1942 and lived there until the end of the war. In 1947 he was winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on February 19, 1951. The following year, the Catholic Church their works included in the Index of prohibited books. In his novels often dealt with the moral dilemmas that lived in his own life.


Works in French:

  • Les Cahiers d’Andre Walter – Paris : Didier-Perrin, 1891

  • Le Traite du Narcisse – Paris : Librairie de l’Art Independant, 1891

  • Les Poesies d’Andre Walter – Paris : Librairie de l’Art Independant, 1892

  • La Tentative amoureuse – Paris : Librairie de l’Art Independant, 1893

  • Le Voyage d’Urien – Paris : Librairie de l’Art Independant, 1893

  • Paludes – Paris : Librairie de l’Art Independant, 1895

  • Les Nourritures terrestres – Paris : Mercure de France, 1897

  • Le Promethee mal enchaine – Paris : Mercure de France, 1899

  • Philoctete – Paris : Mercure de France, 1899

  • Feuilles de route, 1895-1896 – Bruxelles : Vandersypen, 1899

  • Lettres a Angele, 1898-1899 – Paris : Mercure de France, 1900

  • Le Roi Candaule – Paris : Revue Blanche, 1901

  • L’Immoraliste – Paris : Mercure de France, 1902

  • Saul – Paris : Mercure de France, 1903

  • Pretextes : reflexions sur quelques points de litterature et de morale – Paris : Mercure de France, 1903

  • Amyntas – Paris : Mercure de France, 1906

  • Le Retour de l’enfant prodigue – Paris : Vers et Prose, 1907

  • La Porte etroite – Paris : Mercure de France, 1909

  • Oscar Wilde : In Memoriam (souvenirs); Le “De Profundis” – Paris : Mercure de France, 1910

  • Nouveaux Pretextes : reflexions sur quelques points de Litterature et de Morale – Paris : Mercure de France, 1911

  • Isabelle – Paris : Nouvelle Revue Francaise/Marcel Riviere, 1911

  • Bethsabe – Paris : Bibliotheque de l’Occident, 1912

  • Souvenirs de la cour d’assises – Paris : Nouvelle Revue Francaise, 1914

  • Les Caves du Vatican – Paris : Nouvelle Revue Francaise, 1914 – 2 vol.

  • La Symphonie pastorale – Paris : Gallimard, 1919

  • Si le grain ne meurt – Brugge : Sainte-Catherine, 1920-21 – 2 vol.

  • Morceaux choisis – Paris : Gallimard, 1921

  • Numquid et tu … ? – Brugge : Sainte-Catherine, 1922

  • Dostoievsky. – Paris : Plon-Nourrit, 1923

  • Corydon – Paris : Gallimard, 1924

  • Incidences – Paris : Gallimard, 1924

  • Caracteres – Paris : A l’Enseigne de la Porte etroite, 1925

  • Les Faux-Monnayeurs – Paris : Gallimard, 1925

  • Le Journal des Faux-Monnayeurs – Paris : Eos, 1926

  • Voyage au Congo – Paris : Gallimard, 1927

  • Le Retour du Tchad: Carnets de route – Paris : Gallimard, 1928

  • L’Ecole des femmes – Paris : Gallimard, 1929

  • Essai sur Montaigne – Paris : Schiffrin/Pleiade, 1929

  • Un Esprit non prevenu – Paris : Kra, 1929

  • Robert – Paris : Gallimard, 1930

  • dipe – Paris : Gallimard, 1931

  • u vres completes d’Andre Gide / etablie par L. Martin-Chauffier – Paris : Gallimard, 1932-1939 – 17 vol.

  • Pages de journal (1929-1932) – Paris : Gallimard, 1934

  • Les Nouvelles Nourritures – Paris : Gallimard, 1935

  • Nouvelles pages de journal (1932-1935) – Paris : Gallimard, 1935

  • Genevieve – Paris : Gallimard, 1936

  • Retour de l’U.R.S.S. – Paris : Gallimard, 1936

  • Retouches a mon Retour de l’U.R.S.S. – Paris : Gallimard, 1937

  • Journal 1889-1939. – Paris : Gallimard, 1939

  • Decouvrons Henri Michaux – Paris : Gallimard, 1941

  • Theatre – Paris : Gallimard, 1942

  • Interviews imaginaires – Paris : Gallimard, 1942

  • Pages de journal (1939-1942) – New York: Schiffrin, 1944

  • Poussin – Paris : Au Divan, 1945

  • Thesee – Paris : Gallimard, 1946

  • Et nunc manet in te – Neuchatel: Richard Heyd, 1947

  • Paul Valery – Paris : Domar, 1947

  • Poetique – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1947

  • Le proces; piece tiree du roman de Kafka (traduction Vialatte) / par Andre Gide & J. L. Barrault – Paris : Gallimard, 1947

  • Prefaces – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1948

  • Rencontres – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1948

  • Les Caves du Vatican : farce en trois actes – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1948

  • Eloges – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1948

  • Notes sur Chopin – Paris : L’Arche, 1948

  • Feuillets d’automne – Paris : Mercure de France, 1949

  • Litterature engagee / textes reunis et presentes par Yvonne Davet – Paris : Gallimard, 1950

  • Journal, 1942-1949 – Paris : Gallimard, 1950

  • Ainsi soit-il ou les jeux sont faits – Paris : Gallimard, 1952

  • Ne jugez pas – Paris : Gallimard, 1969

  • Le Recit de Michel / texte inedit presente et annote par Claude Martin – Neuchatel : Ides et Calendes, 1973

  • Les Cahiers et les Poesies d’Andre Walter, avec des fragments inedits du Journal / ed. etablie et presentee par Claude Martin – Paris : Gallimard, 1986

  • Un Fragment des “Faux-monnayeurs / ed. critique du manuscrit de Londres etablie, presentee et annoteepar N. David Keypour – Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon: Centre d’Etudes Gidiennes, 1990

  • A Naples : reconnaissance a l’Italie / postf. et notes de Claude Martin – Fontfroide: Fata Morgana, 1993

  • Le Grincheux – Fontfroide: Fata Morgana, 1993

  • L’Oroscope, ou Nul n’evite sa destinee : Scenario, fac-simile et transcription / ed. presentee par Daniel Durosay – Paris : Jean-Michel Place, 1995

  • Le Scenario d’Isabelle / Andre Gide, Pierre Herbart ; texte etabli, presente et annote par Cameron D. E. Tolton – Paris : Lettres modernes, 1996

  • Journal, I : 1887-1925 / ed. etablie, presentee et annot. par Eric Marty [et Martine Sagaert] – Paris : Gallimard, 1996

  • Journal, II : 1926-1950 / ed. etablie, presentee et annot. par Martine Sagaert – Paris : Gallimard, 1997

  • Essais critiques / ed. presentee, etablie et annotee par Pierre Masson – Paris : Gallimard, 1999

  • Le Ramier / avant-propos de Catherine Gide ; pref. de Jean-Claude Perrier ; postf. de David H. Walker – Paris : Gallimard, 2002

Translations into English:

  • Prometheus Illbound / translated by Lilian Rothermere – London: Chatto & Windus, 1919

  • Strait Is the Gate / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1924

  • Dostoyevsky / translated by Arnold Bennett – London : Dent, 1925

  • Montaigne: An Essay in Two Parts / translated by Stephen H. Guest and Trevor E. Blewitt – New York: Liveright, 1929

  • The School for Wives / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1929

  • Travels in the Congo / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1929

  • The Vatican Swindle / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1925 – Translation republished as Lafcadio’s Adventures, 1927; as The Vatican Cellars, 1952

  • The Counterfeiters / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1927 – Translation republished as The Coiners, 1950

  • The Immoralist / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1930

  • Two Symphonies / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1931

  • If It Die … / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Random House, 1935

  • Return from the U.S.S.R. / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1937 – Translation republished as Back from the U.S.S.R, 1937

  • Afterthoughts: A Sequel to “Back from the U.S.S.R.” / translated by Dorothy Bussy – London: Secker & Warburg, 1938 – Translation republished as Afterthoughts on the U.S.S.R., 1938

  • Imaginary Interviews / translated by Malcolm Cowley – New York: Knopf, 1944

  • The Journals of Andre Gide / translated by Justin O’Brien – New York: Knopf, 1947-1951 – 4 vol.

  • Theseus / translated by John Russell – London: Horizon, 1948

  • The Fruits of the Earth / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1949

  • Notes on Chopin / translated by Bernard Frechtman – New York: Philosophical Library, 1949

  • Oscar Wilde : In Memoriam (Reminiscences); “De Profundis” / translated by Bernard Frechtman – New York: Philosophical Library, 1949

  • Autumn Leaves / translated by Elsie Pell – New York: Philosophical Library, 1950

  • Two Legends: Theseus and Oedipus / translated by John Russell – New York: Knopf, 1950

  • The School for Wives; Robert; Genevieve, or The Unfinished Confidence / translated by Dorothy Bussy – New York: Knopf, 1950

  • The Trial, from the Novel of Franz Kafka / translated by Jacqueline and Frank Sundstrom – London: Secker & Warburg, 1950

  • The Secret Drama of My Life / translated by Keene Wallis – New York: Boar’s Head Books, 1951

  • Logbook of the Coiners / translated by Justin O’Brien – London: Cassell, 1952

  • My Theater / translated by Jackson Mathews – New York: Knopf, 1952

  • The Return of the Prodigal … / translated by Dorothy Bussy – London: Secker & Warburg, 1953

  • Marshlands and Prometheus Misbound : Two Satires – New York: New Directions, 1953

  • Amyntas / translated by Villiers David – London: Bodley Head, 1958

  • Pretexts : Reflections on Literature and Morality / translated by Angelo P. Bertocci and others; edited by Justin O’Brien – New York: Meridian, 1959

  • So Be It, or The Chips Are Down / translated by Justin O’Brien – New York: Knopf, 1959

  • Urien’s Voyage / translated by Wade Baskin – New York: Philosophical Library, 1964

  • The Notebooks of Andre Walter / translated by Wade Baskin – New York : Philosophical Library, 1968

Literature (a selection):

  • Pierre-Quint, Leon, Andre Gide : sa vie, son oeuvre – Paris : Stock, 1932.

  • Du Bos, Charles, Le dialogue avec Andre Gide – Paris : Correa, 1947

  • Naville, Arnold, Bibliographie des ecrits de Andre Gide – Paris : Matarasso, 1949

  • Thomas, Lawrence, Andre Gide : the Ethic of the Artist – London : Secker & Warburg, 1950

  • Martin du Gard, Roger, Notes sur Andre Gide : 1913-1951 – Paris, 1951

  • Herbart, Pierre, A la recherche d’Andre Gide – Paris : Gallimard, 1952

  • O’Brien, Justin, Portrait of Andre Gide : a Critical Biography – London : Secker & Warburg, 1953

  • Lafille, Jean Pierre Baptiste, Andre Gide romancier – Paris : Hachette, 1954

  • Delay, Jean, La jeunesse d’Andre Gide.– Paris : Gallimard, 1956-1963 – 2 vol.

  • Fowlie, Wallace, Andre Gide : His Life and Art. – New York : Macmillan, 1965

  • Painter, George Duncan, Andre Gide : a Critical Biography – London, 1968

  • Gide : a Collection of Critical Essays – Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, 1970

  • Fonvieille-Alquier, Francois, Andre Gide – Paris, 1972

  • Sheridan, Alan, Andre Gide : a Life In the Present – London : Hamilton, 1998.

  • Andre Gide’s Politics : Rebellion and Ambivalence – New York : Palgrave, 2000


1947: Nobel Prize in Literature.

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Anders Osterling, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy.

On the first page of the remarkable journal kept by Andre Gide for half a century, the author, then twenty years old, finds himself on the sixth floor of a building in the Latin Quarter, looking for a meeting place for The Symbolists, the group of youths to which he belonged. From the window he looked at the Seine and Notre Dame during the sunset of an autumn day and felt like the hero of a Balzac novel, a Rastignac ready to conquer the city lying at his feet: And now, we two! However, Gide’s ambition was to find long and twisting paths ahead; nor was it to be contented with easy victories.

The seventy-eight-year-old writer who this day is being honoured with the award of the Nobel Prize has always been a controversial figure. From the beginning of his career he put himself in the first rank of the sowers of spiritual anxiety, but this does not keep him today from being counted almost everywhere among the first literary names of France, or from enjoying an influence that has persisted unabatedly through several generations. His first works appeared in the 1890’s; his last one dates from the spring of 1947. A very important period in the spiritual history of Europe is outlined in his work, constituting a kind of dramatic foundation to his long life. One may ask why the importance of this work has only so recently been appreciated at its true value: the reason is that Andre Gide belongs unquestionably to that class of writers whose real evaluation requires a long perspective and a space adequate for the three stages of the dialectic process. More than any of his contemporaries, Gide has been a man of contrasts, a veritable Proteus of perpetually changing attitudes, working tirelessly at opposite poles in order to strike flashing sparks. This is why his work gives the appearance of an uninterrupted dialogue in which faith constantly struggles against doubt, asceticism against the love of life, discipline against the need for freedom. Even his external life has been mobile and changing, and his famous voyages to the Congo in 1927 and to Soviet Russia in 1935 – to cite only those – are proof enough that he did not want to be ranked among the peaceful stay-at-homes of literature.

Gide comes from a Protestant family whose social position permitted him to follow his vocation freely and to devote greater attention than most others can afford to the cultivation of his personality and to his inner development. He described this family milieu in his famous autobiography whose title Si le grain ne meurt (1924) [If It Die… ] is taken from St. John’s words about the grain of wheat that must die before its fruition. Although he has strongly reacted against his Puritan education, he has nonetheless all his life dwelled on the fundamental problems of morality and religion, and at times he has defined with rare purity the message of Christian love, particularly in his short novel, La Porte etroite (1909) [Strait Is the Gate], which deserves to be compared with the tragedies of Racine.

On the other hand, one finds in Andre Gide still stronger manifestations of that famous immoralism – a conception which his adversaries have often misinterpreted. In reality it designates the free act, the gratuitous act, the liberation from all repressions of conscience, something analogous to what the American recluse Thoreau expressed, The worst thing is being the slave dealer of one’s soul. One should always keep in mind that Gide found some difficulty in presenting as virtue that which is composed of the absence of generally recognized virtues. Les Nourritures terrestres (1897) [Fruits of the Earth] was a youthful attempt from which he later turned away, and the diverse delights he enthusiastically sings of evoke for us those beautiful fruits of southern lands which do not bear keeping. The exhortation which he addresses to his disciple and reader, And now, throw away my book. Leave me!, has been followed first of all by himself in his later works. But what leaves the strongest impression, in Nourritures as elsewhere, is the intense poetry of separation, of return, captured by him in so masterly a fashion in the flute-song of his prose. One rediscovers it often, for example in this brief journal entry, written later, near a mosque at Brusa on one May morning: Ah! begin anew and on again afresh! Feel with rapture this exquisite tenderness of the cells in which emotion filters like milk… Bush of the dense gardens, rose of purity, indolent rose in the shade of plane trees, can it be thee thou hast not known my youth? Before? Is it a memory I dwell in? Is it indeed I who am seated in this little corner of the mosque, I who breathe and I who love thee? or do I only dream of loving thee?… If I were indeed real, would this swallow have stolen so close to me?

Behind the strange and incessant shift in perspective that Gide’s work offers to us, in the novels as well as in the essays, in the travel diaries, or in the analyses of contemporary events, we always find the same supple intelligence, the same incorruptible psychology, expressed in a language which, by the most sober means, attains a wholly classic limpidity and the most delicate variety. Without going into the details of the work, let us mention in this connection the celebrated Les Faux Monnayeurs (1926) [The Counterfeiters], with its bold and penetrating analysis of a group of young French people. Through the novelty of its technique, this novel has inspired a whole new orientation in the contemporary art of the narrative. Next to it, put the volume of memoirs already mentioned, in which the author intended to recount his life truthfully without adding anything that could be to his advantage or hiding what would be unpleasant. Rousseau had had the same intention, with this difference, that Rousseau exhibits his faults in the conviction that all men being as evil as he, none will dare to judge or condemn him. Gide, however, quite simply refuses to admit to his fellows the right to pass any judgment on him; he calls on a higher tribunal, a vaster perspective, in which he will present himself before the sovereign eye of God. The significance of these memoirs thus is indicated in the mysterious Biblical quotation of the grain of wheat which here represents the personality: as long as the latter is sentient, deliberate, and egocentric, it dwells alone and without germinating power; it is only at the price of its death and its transmutation that it will acquire life and be able to bear fruit. I do not think, Gide writes, that there is a way of looking at the moral and religious question or of acting in the face of it that I have not known and made my own at some moment in my life. In truth, I have wished to reconcile them all, the most diverse points of view, by excluding nothing and by being ready to entrust to Christ the solution of the contest between Dionysus and Apollo.

Such a statement throws light on the intellectual versatility for which Gide is often blamed and misunderstood, but which has never led him to betray himself. His philosophy has a tendency toward regeneration at any price and does not fail to evoke the miraculous phoenix which out of its nest of flames hurls itself to a new flight.

In circumstances like those of today, in which, filled with admiring gratitude, we linger before the rich motifs and the essential themes of this work, it is natural that we pass over the critical reservations which the author himself seems to enjoy provoking. For even in his ripe age, Gide has never argued in favor of a full and complete acceptance of his experiences and his conclusions. What he wishes above all is to stir up and present the problems. Even in the future, his influence will doubtless be noted less in a total acceptance than in a lively controversy about his work. And in this lies the foundation of his true greatness.

His work contains pages which provoke like a defiance through the almost unequalled audacity of the confession. He wishes to combat the Pharisees, but it is difficult, in the struggle, to avoid shocking certain rather delicate norms of human character. One must always remember that this manner of acting is a form of the impassioned love of truth which, since Montaigne and Rousseau, has been an axiom of French literature. Through all the phases of his evolution, Gide has appeared as a true defender of literary integrity, founded on the personality’s right and duty to present all its problems resolutely and honestly. From this point of view, his long and varied activity, stimulated in so many ways, unquestionably represents an idealistic value.

Since Mr. Andre Gide, who has declared with great gratitude his acceptance of the distinction offered him, has unfortunately been prevented from coming here by reasons of health, his Prize will now be handed to His Excellency the French Ambassador.


La symphonie pastorale

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