Andre Gide Quotes

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Of the thousand forms of life, each of us can know but one. It is madness to envy other people’s happiness; one would not know what to do with it. Happiness won’t come to one ready-made; it has to be made to measure.
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
I have always thought that great artists were those who dared to confer the right of beauty on things so natural that people say on seeing them: “Why did I never realize before that that was beautiful too?”
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
What is important is that Death had touched me, as people say, with its wing. What is important is that I came to think it a very astonishing thing to be alive, that every day shone for me, an unhoped-for light. Before, thought I, I did not understand I was alive. The thrilling discovery of life was to be mine.
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
When one has begun to write, the hardest thing is to be sincere. Essential to mull over that idea and to define artistic sincerity. Meanwhile, I hit upon this: the word must never precede the idea. Or else: the word must always be necessitated by the idea. It must be irresistible and inevitable; and the same is true of the sentence, of the whole work of art. And for the artist's whole life, for his vocation must be irresistible.
Andre Gide (Journal Entry, 1891)
Do you know the reason why poetry and philosophy are nothing but dead-letter nowadays? It is because they have severed themselves from life. In Greece, ideas went hand in hand with life; so that the artist’s life itself was already a poetic realization, the philosopher’s life a putting into action of his philosophy; in this way, as both philosophy and poetry took part in life, instead of remaining unacquainted with each other, philosophy provided food for poetry, and poetry gave expression to philosophy- and the result was admirably persuasive. Nowadays beauty no longer acts; action no longer desires to be beautiful; and wisdom works in a sphere apart.
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
There is nothing more tragic for a man who has been expecting to die than a long convalescence. After that touch from the wing of Death, what seemed important is so no longer; other things become so which had at first seemed unimportant, or which one did not even know existed. The miscellaneous mass of acquired knowledge of every kind that has overlain the mind gets peeled of in places like a mask of paint, exposing the bare skin - the very flesh of the authentic creature that had lain hidden beneath it.
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
But most of them believe that it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn’t even choose the pattern he imitates; he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don’t dare to- they don’t dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone- that is what they suffer from- and so they don’t find themselves at all. I detest such moral agoraphobia- the most odious of cowardice, I call it. Why, one always has to be alone to invent anything- but they don’t want to invent anything. The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value- and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life.
Andre Gide (The Immoralist, 1902)
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Andre Gide Biography

Born: November 22, 1869
Died: February 19, 1951

André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French novelist and essayist. He is best known for his works of fiction. He was also the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947.

Notable Works

The Fruits of the Earth (1897)
The Immoralist (1902)
Le retour de l'enfant prodigue (1907)
Strait is the Gate (1909)
La Symphonie Pastorale (1919)
Corydon (1920)
The Counterfeiters (1925)
If It Die (1926)