André Gide’s “New Self”
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Published in: July-August 2004 issue.

ANDRÉ GIDE lived for his art. Born to a wealthy family, as a young writer he had no financial worries and he could afford to be experimental in his writing. For a brief time he associated himself with poet Stéphane Mallarmé and the Symbolist School. Later, his affiliation with the Communist party and his brief attraction to Christianity were both heightened and terminated by his aesthetic sensibility. Throughout his life, however, Gide stopped short of any ideological commitment, but he remained a firm believer in the life of the senses.

One of Gide’s biggest mistakes was his rejection of Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu for his magazine, Nouvelle Revue Française. Later, Gide would regret the decision and invited Proust to resubmit. Many critics view Gide as the greatest journalist of the 20th century; Gide himself believed that he was preparing for a “much greater work”

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