Andre Gide


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The Homosexual Moralist

Patrick Pollard

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Andre Gide, renowned French essayist, novelist, and playwright, was also a homosexual apologist whose sexuality was central to the whole of his literary and political discourse. This book by Patrick Pollard—the first serious study of homosexuality in Gide’s theater and fiction—analyzes his ideas and traces the philosophical, anthropological, scientific, and literary movements that influenced his thought.


Pollard begins by discussing Corydon, a defense of pederasty that Gide felt was his most important book. He then provided a historical and analytical survey of books that contributed to Gide’s perception of homosexuality, including works on philosophy, social theory, natural history, and medicolegal questions. Pollard goes on to investigate works of fiction—ancient and modern, European and Oriental—in which Gide saw homosexual elements. He concludes by considering the homosexual themes in Gide’s own works, analyzing the ways that Gide constantly tried to resolve conflicts between nature and culture, hypocrisy and honesty, corruption and sound moral judgment, anomaly and conformity, and sexual freedom and religious constraint.


The book provides a new perspective on Gide’s work, a reconstruction of the moral and intellectual climate in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, and a substantial contribution to the cultural history of homosexuality.

"A thoughtful, learned and wide-ranging book. . . . By the end, Pollard leaves us in no doubt that a homosexual obsession was the integrating factor in the diversifies body of Gide's work."—Anthony Curtis, Financial Times

"Pollard . . . traces [Gide's] development. . . . He provides the reader with an impressive survey of all the books about homosexuality, classical and modern, scientific and imaginative, that André Gide might have consulted. Finally, he shows us the effect of this reading not just on Corydon but also on Gide's memoir If it Die, his novel The Counterfeiters, and his plays and journals."—Edmund White, Belles Lettres

"The first serious study of homosexuality in Gide's theater and fiction; it analyzes his ideas and traces the philosophical, anthropological, scientific, and literary movements that influenced his thought."—Lambda Book Report

"Contributes to our knowledge about the historical treatment of the subject of homosexuality, this time as seen by one of the foremost European minds of the early twentieth century."—Jim Clay, Lambda Book Report

"[Pollard] proves himself to be an excellent commentator. . . . He has made a significantly original contribution to Gidean studies."—Peter Fawcett, Times Literary Supplement

"A comprehensive study of Gide's writings as they directly or indirectly address the theme of homosexuality. . . . . It also serves as a fascinating overview of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theories of sexuality of a literary, scientific, and social nature; as such, it far exceeds the scope of most Gide criticism."—M. Martin Guiney, Rocky Mountain Review

ISBN: 9780300049985
Publication Date: December 25, 1991