The Immoralist Author:Andre Gide This is the story of the rebellion of a mind against the morality of self-sacrifice and the ordinary civilized standards of personal conduct. As sheer story, Michel's rebellion has all the narrative excitement usually called forth only by tales of physical adventure. Its ethical and aesthetic significance raises it to the level of literature.
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The gradual development (one mght almost say unwrapping) of Michel's mind is Gide's theme. But Michel does not obscure the other characters--his wife Marceline, the bailiff of his country estate, the troops of French and Arab boys--all of whom are portrayed with masterly realistic skill.
How deep and how secure is the protective veneer of civilization? What is the meaning of death to a man who has never realized life? Does a man's duty consist in achieving the social compromise enjoined by the Christian ethic of service and self-sacrifice or in following the most imporatnt dictates of his own desires? These are the questions propounded by Michel's story. They are questions Gide wrestled with for a fruitful lifetime, and The Immoralist has become a classic because of the way in which it answers them.« less