Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Immoralist” as Want to Read:
The Immoralist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Immoralist

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,413 Ratings  ·  424 Reviews
This is the story of one man's rebellion against social and sexual conformity.
The narrator is Michel, a rich, young agnostic scholar who has just married and gone to stay with his wife in Algeria. Finding that he has tuberculosis, he gradually changes his life, abandoning the aspects of his life which restrict him, and following his own wants and needs.
This development is
Paperback, 159 pages
Published 1960 by Penguin Modern Classics (first published 1902)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
I wish I had read L’Immoraliste around the year 1904. That would have been about two years after it was published and about two years before Picasso started distorting eyes and mouths and jaws and limbs in his painted prostitutes.

I am trying to picture myself dressed in yards and yards of bombazine, chiffon and lace, shapely cut to follow my already markedly thin waist, thanks to those bone stays that have cinched it into a harness, sorry, a corset. I need to feel the effort of breathing in, la
Rakhi Dalal
Apr 26, 2015 Rakhi Dalal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What conjures up in the mind at the mere mention of the word ‘morality’ is a question that our evolutionary advanced mankind hasn’t been able to find an appropriate response to. For all the ethics and moral codes defining the very basis of societal structure, morality still remains a vague ideal. Vague not because there is a dearth of reasons associated with the necessity or goodness of moral values required for a harmonious existence of humans in the society but because the certainty of actions ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 03, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010); Nobel Prize for Literature
Shelves: 1001-core, nobel, french
If you are a bisexual, will you marry?

Andre Gide (1869-1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947. So, this book, despite its theme on homosexuality, should not be brand or worse, mock, as another gay lit book.

The story revolves around a bisexual man, Michel, who has devoted his early years to his studies so he becomes a scholar. Then, to please his dying father, he gets himself a wife, Marceline and the young couple goes to North Africa for their honeymoon. A
i feel a little dirty reading this sandwiched between all my children's books for class. kids, take three giant steps back from gide... i think i loved this book, but i think i may want to read another translation. who knows from translations?? i have the richard howard one here, and i know he's like a star in the french/english translation world but i didn't like his introduction to this so much, and was wondering if there might be another recommended translation? i liked this book a lot, despi ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-lit

My second Gide book and I quite enjoyed it. It’s a story about a young man, Michel, narrating his life, how he learned more about himself through introspection while getting married and witnessing tragedies. Travelling around Europe and North Africa, rootless. It’s essentially a tale of self-discovery.

In tone this book really reminded me of Camus. I was expecting something a little more shocking as I heard this book was considered scandalous at the turn of the last century.There were homosexual
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Sep 13, 2010 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Well written, but ultimately unsatisfying. I'm certain that I would have a stronger feeling about this book if I lived during a time when homosexuals were made to repress their true selves, imperialism was the word of the day, monotony was taking over the workforce, Arabs were looked down upon by much of western culture, tourists paid meager rates to third-world children for labor services and sexual favors, a huge percentage of visual artists and intellectuals were snobby and pretentious, too m ...more
Parthiban Sekar
Immorality is often, from time immemorial, attributed more to one’s sexual orientation, as if immorality is born out of it. Long, not very long, ago there was this Man-Made Immorality Act, upon which I won’t expound, which makes me think that all we, somehow, describe as Immoral are defined by us. And at times, we seem confounded by our own definitions. The very idea of Morality seems “extrinsic”, as opposed to the wide-spread belief that we are born as moral beings and any deviation would not b ...more
The Casbah, 1895 ~ Roaming from bar to bar in Algiers, Oscar Wilde and Gide (1869-1951) find themselves amid Zouaves and sailors, as Gide records elsewhere. "Do you want the little musician?" asks OW, whose own lips seemed "as if soft with milk and ready to suck again," says the symbolist Marcel Schwob.

OW is not Mephistopheles. Young Gide, having hurled aside his moralistic, Protestant upbringing, had already been playing both Marguerite & Faust in N. Africa with a "special friend." He know
Amira Mahmoud
Dec 25, 2015 Amira Mahmoud rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
في البداية كنت أتمنى أن أعثر على مفهوم مباشر للحياة لدى بعض الروائيين وبعض الشعراء
ولكنهم لو كانوا يمتلكون هذا المهفوم فيجب أن نعترف أنهم لم يعبّروا عنه قط
ويبدو ليّ أن أغلبهم لم يعش قط أيضًا، ولم يسعد بالحياة ولو قليلاً
لقد تعاملوا مع الحياة بغضب وهم يكتبون، لا أريد أن أتدخل في هذا ولا أؤكد أن الخطأ لا يأتي مني...
من ناحية فماذا أنتظر من الحياة؟ هذا هو بالتحديد ما أردت أن أتعلمه
فالواحد منهم يتحدث إلى الآخر بمهارة عن مختلف شئون الحياة، بدون أن يتحدث عن الواقع.

اللاأخلاقي؛ ظننت من اسم الرواية وتصنيف
Apr 21, 2012 knig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Absolutely stunning portrayal of a French Catholic repressive confronting his (homo) sexuality at the turn of last century. I deliberately write ‘confronting’ rather than ‘journey of discovery’, ‘development’ or any other word which might imply a process of evolvement leading to clarity or even acceptance, for this is singularly missing. What unravels instead, is a sublime subconscious, torturous confrontation, an unwanted, unspoken clash of instinct and reason. And this is what makes the fibre ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
“ The fear of find ing oneself alone-that is what they suffer from and so they don't find themselves at all.”

“Men's finest works bear the persistent marks of pain. What would there be in a story of happines s? Only what prepares it, only what de stroys it can be told.”

Micheal, who has been a puritian all his life and who married only to keep his father’s wish, falls fatally ill with TB on his honey-moon. Except he doesn’t die, the finding that he gets sexually attracted to young Arab boys helps
Oct 01, 2012 Declan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never felt that it is in any way important to like or admire the main character in a novel. It seems to me far more important that language and structure should be used to support a narrative that convinces us about the authenticity of everything that happens within the novel. So it is with 'The Immoralist'

I dislike Michel, the narrator and central character of the book, but I am persuaded that everything he does in the book is, for him, unavoidable. With every advance in his thinking, as h
Oct 07, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andre Gide's small confession is a key work of French modernism. In a way this novel is a precursor to Camus' Stranger, though it is much more elegant and subtle than the latter.

Michel is the titular Immoralist, a man determined to live life fully without the arbitrary constrictions of religion or morality. He is recently married to a woman he admits he does not love; but when he falls ill to tuberculosis her loving comfort wins him over.

Together they travel throughout the beautiful coast of I
"- Ainda se os nossos cérebros medíocres soubessem embalsamar as lembranças! Mas estas conservam-se mal; as mais delicadas se desfazem, as mais voluptuosas apodrecem; as mais deliciosas são as que oferecem mais perigo. Aquilo de que a gente se arrepende era antes delicioso."
André Gide, escritor francês - laureado com o Nobel em 1947 - foi contemporâneo de Valéry e de Proust.
O Imoralista é considerado um dos seus livros mais ousados. Conta a história de um homem casado que, embora ame a esposa
The companion volume to La Porte Etroite . In the first book, Gide looks at what happens when someone allows themselves to become obsessed with the idea of God, to the exclusion of all normal human feelings. In this one, he shows what happens when you go to the other extreme and abandon moral values altogether. Taken as a pair, which is what he intended, I thought they were very good.
Justin Evans
Jul 24, 2015 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Well, I liked this more than I thought I would, and more than everyone else seems to. Gide's style here is glorious. Like Larbaud, the prose is perfectly clear, a little elegiac, but also as precise as possible. Gide's tale is simple, but thought-provoking: you could read this as a celebration of Nietzschean uber-menschdom, but only if you're more or less an inhuman prick; you could read it as a plea for repression and moralistic priggery, but only if, again, you're an inhuman prick. On the othe ...more
In days of yore, when Hollywood movies were heavily censored, the creative people who were having the most fun were the artists responsible for painting the lurid promo posters aimed at sucking gullible audiences into the theaters. Images of half-naked women with torn garments that barely covered their nipples and genitalia dangled limp in the arms of some salivating brute or monster or cad, surrounded by exploding words like "SIN!" and "SHAME!" and "UNSPEAKABLE!" promised far more than the patr ...more
Mike Puma
With a title like The Immoralist, you might expect something along the lines of Sade. You’d be way off base. Instead, this novel is more subtle, more like Death in Venice, complete with its themes of a septic environment, tuberculosis, and, perhaps, pederasty. The protagonist, Michel, is captivated by healthy and strikingly handsome boys and young men, and of those young men, he is attracted to those who are most rugged and handsome, with their own secrets, or the most dissolute.

At best, or at w
Jun 06, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in philosophy
I think my problem with this book is that I've heard this all before. And better said. This novel said it a long time before they did, and it got blasted for it. It was a huge controversy since this deals with sexual confusion, a rebellion against colonialist/imperialist values, a rebellion against the inertia and the status quo. That's all great, but it's done so simplisticially. It's like reading the blueprint for the rebellion/inner transformation novel. And the problem is that it's just a li ...more
MJ Nicholls
My foray into Frenchies continues with this peculiar, off-the-scale subtle novel about forbidden pleasures. The pleasures in question are young lads and loosing one’s morals. Michel starts out as a bedridden lump, unsure about his wife but sure about young Tunisian visitors. As his health improves, he tends to his vast acreage of land and resumes his academic work, growing fonder of his doormat missus, as well as power and cheating farmers. As we slump towards the final third, his wife becomes t ...more
Dec 26, 2015 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suscribo la opinión de Susan Sontag expresada en sus diarios sobre André Gide. Hay que leerlo.

Tres citas:

“Pienso también que hay fuertes alegrías para los fuertes y débiles alegrías para los débiles, a quienes las alegrías fuertes herirían.”

“¿No comprendes que nuestra mirada desarrolla, exagera en cada uno el punto sobre el que se fija, y hacemos así que se convierta en eso que nosotros pretendemos que sea?”

“Siempre he creído que los grandes artistas son aquellos que se atreven a otorgar derecho
Jan 07, 2012 Fewlas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In realtà sono 2.5 . Giusto perché la notte porta consiglio. Voglio dire, se avessi scritto ieri sera questa review, di stellina ce ne sarebbe stata una. Perché questo libro lascia un po’ con la bocca asciutta. Anzi diciamo la verità: te la bagna poco sin dall’inizio. Diciamo che per dissetarti devi stare lì a scavare con le unghie per far sgorgar fuori un po’ d’acqua.

Questo Michel, dopo essersi sposato con Marceline, che stima molto ma che poco ama, si ammala e, quando sta lì per lì per morir
João Fernandes
[Read in the original French]

"C’est à soi-même que chacun prétend le moins ressembler. Chacun se propose un patron, puis l’imite ; même il ne choisit pas le patron qu’il imite ; il accepte un patron tout choisi. Il y a pourtant, je le crois, d’autres choses à lire, dans l’homme. On n’ose pas. On n’ose pas tourner la page. – Lois de l’imitation ; je les appelle : lois de la peur. On a peur de se trouver seul : et l’on ne se trouve pas du tout. Cette agoraphobie morale m’est odieuse ; c’est la pir
Free download in French available at Faded Page.

You may read in French online here

Opening lines:
Mes chers amis, je vous savais fidèles. À mon appel vous êtes accourus, tout comme j’eusse fait au vôtre. Pourtant voici trois ans que vous ne m’aviez vu. Puisse votre amitié, qui résiste si bien à l’absence, résister aussi bien au récit que je veux vous faire. Car si je vous appelai brusquement, et vous fis voyager jusqu’à ma demeure lointaine, c’est pour vous voir, uniquement, et pour que vous puiss
An odd book in some ways - it is almost entirely told as a first person narrative about a man Michel who almost dies and in his recovery, becomes "reborn" in a way but lost in another way. This novella doesn't feel dated (with the exception that it is now rare for people to contract tuberculosis), and perhaps the new translation has something to do with that...

I don't know if this is considered to be existentialist, but Michel goes from being a student of languages and history to someone primari
Mar 05, 2013 Ursula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Immoralist begins with a letter, with the writer wondering how to react to the confession he has just heard from his friend Michel. From there, we read the confession of which he speaks. Michel tells the story of his marriage to Marceline, and the process of self-discovery that has compelled him to call his friends together to tell them about it.

I was under the impression before reading it that the immorality referred to in the title was homosexuality, and it is - to a degree. However, that
Sep 12, 2015 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first pieces of French literature that I read.

Gide's writing is very atmospheric and sensual (sensual as in it engages with your senses, and sensual as in sexy). The protagonist in this little book is not a very good person - newly married, he travels to Africa and, upon meeting some of the young men, begins to explore his sexuality.

I really liked this book. I like amoral characters, I like moral ambiguity, I like reading books about bad people doing questionable things. The
Sep 23, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Gide's The Immoralist, we are given the story of a man's moral decline from his own self-pitying and apologist point of view. The narrator is Michel, a man who is rather comfortably provided for following his father's death, he is a classics scholar, a traveller, and a morally misguided and ambiguous character. He marries a young woman who he does not have feeling for, to satisfy his father's wish to see him married off before his own death, and validates this choice with the appraisal that h ...more
David Bonesteel
May 31, 2013 David Bonesteel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having faced his mortality following a bout with tuberculosis, scholar Michel resolves to live a more "authentic" life, obeying the dictates of his heart rather than the repressive strictures of society.

For me, the fascinating tension in this novel concerns the balance between selfish egotism and one's responsibility to others. Andre Gide's presentation of illness is compelling and horrifying, offering a plausible catalyst for Michel's decision to change his life in fundamental ways. It is easy
May 29, 2013 Ráid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

الرواية تأتي في صفحة تقريباً ويمكن قراءتها في يوم واحد. مايحاول أن يوصله اندريه جيد من خلال هذه الرواية القصيرة هو أنه يجب على الإنسان أن يكون نفسه بشكل كامل، حتى لو وصل به الأمر إلى أن تكون له طبيعة جنسية غير سويّة ومغايره للميل الإنساني الطبيعي للجنس الآخر دون أن يعني ذلك خيانته لقيَمه الفكرية والأخلاقية التي يؤمن بها. فنرى في الشخصية الرئيسية للرواية (والتي تعبّر عن شخصية اندريه الحقيقية) مثلاً أنه يقوم بالإعتناء بزوجته المريضه من جهه ويميل وينجذب للغلمان من جهة اخرى - لم يكن في الرواية اي م
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Holy Terrors
  • Our Lady of the Flowers
  • Viper's Tangle
  • The Gods Will Have Blood
  • The Interrogation
  • The Temptation of St. Antony
  • The Vagabond
  • Against Nature
  • The Guermantes Way  (In Search of Lost Time, #3)
  • Jacques the Fatalist
  • Death Sentence
  • Don Giovanni in Sicilia
  • The Opposing Shore
  • The Man Who Watched Trains Go By
  • Under Fire
  • Uomini e no
  • Man's Fate
André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.

Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the two sides of his personality, s
More about André Gide...

Share This Book

“Envying another man's happiness is madness; you wouldn't know what to do with it if you had it.” 142 likes
“You have to let other people be right' was his answer to their insults. 'It consoles them for not being anything else.” 102 likes
More quotes…