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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Traveling 'within' the writer's company


“To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company.” – Andre Gide

Nobel Laureaute Andre Gide was born on this date in 1869, started writing at age 15, and became one of France’s most intriguing “men of letters.”  A master of prose narrative, he was lauded for a wide range of writings including drama, translations, criticism, letter writing and essays.  But it was his meticulous and detailed diaries that led to his written reflections on life during the momentous and tumultuous six decades (1890 to 1950) in which most of his writings appeared for which he is most known.  
In 1947 Gide was honored                     
with the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight.”

By consensus Gide is known as one of the dozen most important writers of the 20th Century.  He once said that great authors are admirable not so much for what they write but for the fact that they foster disagreement and discussion.  “Through them,” he noted, “we become aware of our differences.”    At the time of his death in 1951, his obituary said that no writer of his stature had led such an interesting life, greatly accessible to the reading public through his autobiographical writings, his journal, his voluminous correspondence, and the testimony of others.  
 
In his own words, Gide simply said, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he first has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”


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