André Gide

André Gide

Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 19 Feb 1951 (aged 81)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Cuverville, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Memorial ID 9267056 · View Source
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Nobel Prize Recipient. André Gide, a French author, received international notoriety after being awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Literature for, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "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." He received only two nominations for the Nobel candidacy and both from college literature professors. Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, he was the author of more than fifty books by the time of his death. He often wrote in the first-person pronoun of “I.” Born André-Paul-Guillaume Gide, an only child, into a French Huguenot Protestant family, his father was a professor of law at the Sorbonne. As a child, he was sent to a prestigious private school in Paris, but bouts with illness caused him to be sent home. When he was eleven years old, his father died. He and his strict mother lived in isolated village in Normandy, where his mother tutored him along with a governess. He spent days writing. At the age of 21, he published his first book, “The Notebook of Andre’ Walter.” He traveled to North Africa in 1894, and befriended author Oscar Wilde in 1895. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis and learning his mother was ill, he came back to France. The same year in May, his mother died and he married his cousin. He became France’s youngest mayor in 1896, but relocated to an island off the coast of Normandy by 1901. He had problems writing during this period. In 1908 he co-founded a literary magazine “The New French Review.” His first successful book was published, The Immoralist, Strait Is the Gate” in 1909. During World War I, Gide worked in Paris, first for the Red Cross, then in a soldiers’ convalescent home, and finally in providing shelter to war refugees. In 1916 he returned home. In 1923 he published a biography on Russian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and in 1924 he published what is considered one of his most recognized books, ”Corydon,” which defended his homosexuality. Afterwards, he had attacks not only from the public but his closest friends. His close colleague, Charles Du Bos, published a 1929 essay, “Dialogue avec André Gide,” which addressed Gide’s homosexuality in relationship to Du Bos’ Roman Catholic faith. In 1924, he published his autobiography, “If it Die.” He wrote “Catholicism is inadmissible, Protestantism is intolerable; and I feel profoundly Christian.” Following a long estrangement, his wife died in 1939. After never mentioning his wife in anything, he wrote her memoirs, “Madeleine” in which he stated that their marriage was never consummated and repented for all the wrongs he had done; this was published in 1951 posthumously. From July of 1926 to May of 1927, he and one of his mother’s former students traveled touring the French Equatorial Africa colonies. He wrote a diary while touring, which was published as “Travels in the Congo,” which criticized the French government for using the natural resources of these African countries, such as rubber, and using the native population as slaves. The book impacted the right to have French colonies. He became the champion of society’s victims and outcasts, demanding more humane conditions for criminals and equality for women. Although never a member of the Communist Party, he had several Russian colleagues. In June of 1936, he was invited to speak at the funeral of Russian author, Maxim Gorky. As a guest of the Russian Writer’s Society, he toured Russia. In June of 1947 he received the first honor of his life: The Doctor of Letters from Great Britain’s University of Oxford. In 1949 his was one of the six essays published in “The God that Failed,” which told of the failure of Communism. In 1940, France was invaded by the Nazi Forces, hence he had to flee from France. In 1942 he made another trip to Africa staying in Tunis until 1943 when Allied Force entered the city; at that point, he was able to travel to Algiers, staying there until the end of World War II. In 1950 he published the last volume of his “Journal,” which documented his life to his 80th birthday. Besides novels, biographies, and travel books, he wrote plays and criticism on literature, art and music. His memoirs were published in 1951 by his close colleague, Roger Martin du Gard, the 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature recipient. The 1914 novel, “Les Caves du Vatican,” was banned by the Roman Catholic Church. By 1952, most of his other writings were placed on the church’s Index of Forbidden Books. Through a relationship, in 1923 he fathered a daughter, Catherine.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
  • Added: 4 Aug 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 9267056
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for André Gide (22 Nov 1869–19 Feb 1951), Find a Grave Memorial no. 9267056, citing Cimetière de Cuverville, Cuverville, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .