Gide, Andre : Les Nourritures Terrestres, Lithographies originales de Pierre Boncompain


 

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Paris, Editions Michele Trinckvel, 1990, 1st thus. Boxed, Folio 13" - 23" tall, 209 [5]pp. Yellow cloth covered solander box with title and vignette of a woman blocked on upper board and titles on spine, a couple of small marks to cloth, box contains sheets in original wrapper, illustrated by Pierre Boncompain with ten colour lithos and twenty b&w lithos with an additional twenty-six litho. illustrations to text, No.236 of an edition of 300 signed by the author on the colophon.

Andre Gide (1869-1951) was a French author and winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize for Literature. Gide's childhood was spent in the relative isolation of Normandy and he grew up in a family with a religious and puritanical world view. It was the conflict between the strict moralism of his upbringing and his own nature that would power Gide's writing and his work, both the autobiographical work and the fiction, explores his own battle between self realisation and the moral constraints instilled in him as a child. This work (the title translates as 'Fruits of the Earth') deals very directly with this conflict. Gide would acknowledge the influence of Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra on this book which was written in 1895 but the real roots of the book lie in Gide's travels in North Africa in 1893-94 where he came to accept his own attraction to boys. When published in 1897 the book, with its theme of abandoning rules and stability in favour of adventure and excess was not well received, however after the First World War it gained a considerable following, influencing a generation of young writers. Gide was a prolific writer, writing both fiction and non-fiction until his death in 1951. In 1952 the Catholic Church placed all his works in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and if Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical authority then this seems almost to be a compliment.

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