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Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone$
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Tamara Levitz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730162.001.0001

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Gide’s Anxiousness

Gide’s Anxiousness

Proserpine/Perséphone

Chapter:
(p.55) 1 Gide’s Anxiousness
Source:
Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone
Author(s):

Tamara Levitz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730162.003.0001

Chapter 1 explores the intersection between sexuality and religious belief as it shaped Gide’s interpretation of the myth of Persephone. Gide’s interest in this myth is related to his feeling of being torn between his Calvinist heritage and the mysticism he associated with homoerotic experience. In his Prosperine drafts from 1909 and 1913, Gide sublimated sexual temptation into the classical forms of the melodrama, while simultaneously celebrating his desire through the suggestion of ideal music. In the years that followed he came out as a pédéraste, emerged as an anticolonialist activist, and became the object of bitter public battles over the relationship between faith and sexuality. In Perséphone, he responded to these events by adopting a resistant aesthetics of ambiguity that led him to create a bricolage of prose and poetry styles. His politically motivated “anxiousness” undermined the basis of faith presumed in neoclassicism.

Keywords:   André Gide, Proserpine, anxiousness, Pédérastie, homosexuality, history, neoclassical, classical, anticolonialism, homoeroticism, bricolage

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