Gide's quest for authenticity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
William Henry Smith (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
John Phillip Couch

Abstract: Throughout his literary career, André Gide was concerned with the problem of counterfeit existence, the blind acceptance of conventional values, versus an authentic existence based on an accurate understanding of one's desires and capacities. Because these desires and capacities differ from one individual to the next, Gide could not present a universal formula for attaining authenticity. Instead, he sought in his fiction to express the need for escape from the counterfeit, and to describe some of the pitfalls along the way to authenticity. Because the quest for authenticity was a personal as well as a literary concern for Gide, much criticism has dealt with his own efforts, as expressed in autobiography and journals, and has treated his fiction in this light. Believing that the focus of criticism should be the literary work itself, I have approached Gide's quest from the standpoint of the works alone. I have examined the failures of Gide's heroes in order to find a formula whereby such failures could be avoided. This formula must be expressed in general terms, to allow for differences between individuals; nevertheless, a certain pattern is common to all of Gide's failures.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1970
Gide, Andre´, $d 1869-1951 $x Criticism and interpretation
Gide, Andre´, $d 1869-1951 $x Characters $x Heroes
Gide, Andre´, $d 1869-1951 $x Philosophy

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