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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

Gide’s Anxiousness

Gide’s Anxiousness


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

Tamara Levitz

Oxford University Press

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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