Josh's Reviews > The Immoralist

The Immoralist by André Gide
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M_50x66
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Oct 18, 10

Read in October, 2010

** spoiler alert ** It's called The Immoralist not because the protagonist is so depraved; rather he discovers that following a moral code prevents him from acting on his desires. Morality, any morality, dictates our future actions before we encounter the circumstances requiring us to act, thereby removing our autonomy. There are a few instances where Michel shamelessly discusses his possible attraction to a teenage boy or sleeping with a prostitute, but nothing very scandalizing by today's standards. There's nothing in the book I can perceive as intended to be sensationalist-ic. What is somewhat shocking is that he drives his wife to death by following his sensual desires. The brilliant passages of the book are the ones where Gide describes uncovering one's base self: finding more stimulation in scents or textures; abandoning the intellect to pursue bodily--or metaphysical, via the body--stimulation. The middle is the best part, where the reader glimpses most clearly how superfluous all cultural and artistic things are to our simple desires. It's very well-illustrated and usually moving, if slow. The danger of the book is your mind can float off and return at at any point without feeling like you missed much. There isn't much plot. It's very meditative and it deserves time when being read.
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