(Faux titre no. 340) Gide, André_ Reid, Victoria_ Gide, André-Andre Gide and curiosity-Rodopi (2009)


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Contents
Abbreviations

1. Introduction: Curiosity and a Canary 15
2. Sexual Curiosity 79
3. Scientific Curiosity 143
4. Writerly Curiosity 203
5. Conclusion: The Kaleidoscope and the Library 247
Appendix 277
Bibliography 283
Index 309
Index
NamesininvertedcommasarehistoricalindividualsasrepresentedinGideÕslife-
writing;characters(indexedselectively)areclassedby theirfirstnames.
Acteon50,52,96Ð103,117
adolescents,
see
young(the)
ÔAdoumÕ (
)90,121Ð22,124,190
Africa17,44,57,105,115,116Ð22,165Ð
66,188Ð90,198,200,272Ð73
Algeria18,82Ð83,86,88Ð92,95,117Ð
18,165
Chad103
Egypt35,44,48,52,99,105Ð07,115,
128,260
FrenchCongo,
seealso
Gide,
Voyageau
Congo
:35,118Ð20
Senegal103,166,185
Tunisia40,117
Alain-Fournier(Henri-AlbanFournier)37
ÔAlexisBÕ (
Corydon
)191
ÔAliofSousseÕ (
Silegrain
)24,86,93,115,
117Ð18,124,189,273
ÔAliÕ(DouglasÕslover,
)90Ð92,105
ÔAliÕ(Egyptian,
)102,106Ð7,128
Alissa (
)135Ð39,141,218
AllŽgret,Elie212,238
AllŽgret,Marc20Ð21,33,40,43,47,115Ð
16,118,137,157,141,166,180,186,
218,265,269
Ambresin,Emile191Ð99,233Ð35,238
ÔAndrŽÕ (
see
Gide,
Si legrainnemeurt
passim
AndrŽWalter (
see
Gide,
LesCahiers
dÕAndrŽWalter
animals23,114,176,171
annelids145,165
birds15Ð16,19Ð20,102,109,118,129,
150Ð51,172;(feminine)193Ð94
children/people=animals119,182,188
insects21,24,83,98Ð99,102,165Ð67,
175Ð78,185,188,206;(bees)165;
(caterpillar/pupa/butterfly)98,118,
143Ð44,145,165,166,185,219Ð21,
261,263Ð64,271;(beetle)109,129,
145,166;(mantis)83,145;(parasites)
19;(scorpion)49,145
mammals(cat)167,252Ð53;(dog)46,
85,101,103;(hares)96;(mice)189,
214; (
perodicticuspotto
seealso
Dindiki)176;(squirrel)96
molluscs165,262,272
reptiles49,109,129,165,193,194,258
seaanimals34,99Ð101,117,130,145Ð
46,174,221,272Ð74
Anzieu,Didier38,210,241,259,263,271
apathy,
see
incuriosity
Apter,Emily110Ð12,141
Ariadne103
ÔArmandBavratelÕ (
)191,196Ð97
ArmandVedel (
F-Ms
)191,196Ð198,235
Asia,
Turkey104Ð6
Russia/USSR103,168Ð69,194Ð96
ÔAthmanÕ (
)90,94Ð95,214
Atwood,Margaret,98,100,253
Bachir (
LÕImm
)97,112Ð14,273
BadEducation
(Almod—var)218
Baldwin,James135
Barbe-Bleue(Perrault)149Ð51
Barthes,Roland153,203
Bastide,Roger146,165
Baudelaire,Charles17,31,39,50,54Ð55,
60,81,82,141,157,166,192,200,217,
Berger,John17
Bergson,Henri190
Bernard (
F-Ms
)25,54Ð58,151,228Ð32,
235Ð36
ÔBernardTissaudierÕ (
)207Ð9
BernardindeSaint-Pierre,Jacques-Henri
ÔBernardinoÕ (
)87Ð88
Bernheimer,Charles110Ð11
Berny,Jeanne190
Blake,William149
Bluebeard,
see
Barbe-Bleue
Boris (
F-Ms
)23,25,54,57Ð59,194,196Ð
97,229,232,233,236Ð37,239,240
Bussy,Dorothy218
Caloub (
F-Ms
)51,54,59Ð60,84,238Ð39,
Camus,Albert274
Casimir (
Isabelle
)25
castration67,77,110Ð14,120,253,272Ð73;
(preempted)253,272
Catholicism,
see
Christianity
Cazentre,Thomas22,23,28
Cervantes,Miguelde53,54
FAUX TITRE
Victoria Reid
AMSTERDAM - NEW YORK, NY 2009
Acknowledgements
Forfinanciallysupportingthisresearch,Iamgratefultograntsfrom
theUniversityofReadingResearchEndowmentTrustFund,theArts
andHumanitiesResearchCouncil(thenBoard)andtheUniversityof
Glasgow FacultyofArts StrategicResearch Fund.
ThankyoutoTheHenryMooreFoundationforpermissionto
reproducetheimages attheopening andcloseofthetext.
Thebookisindebtedtothefollowingpeople,who,invarious
combinations andmeasure,providedmewithgoodteaching, accessto
sources,references,proof-readingandrichmoralsupport:Elizabeth
Boa,CarolineCathcart,PeterFisher,EmmaForbes,CatherineGide,
ElizabethGilchrist,AngelicaGoodden,AlainGoulet,DannyHaikin,
JoanneLee,MagaliLeMens,DianeLŸscher-Morata,KateMarsh,
PierreMasson,BrigidMcLaughlin-Russo,MoragMoffat,Laura
Mulvey,NigelMurphy,PeterNoble,JonnyPatrick,GregoryPlatten,
No‘l Peacock,EmilyRead,KeithReader,WalterRedfern,InnesReid,
JohnReid,JimSimpson,PascaleStacey,DavidSteel,DavidWalker,
JoYates,EralYilmazandPaulZiolo.Thankyou,all.Lastandmost,
mythanksgotoNaomiSegalforherstimulating,rigorousand
intenselygenerousdoctoralsupervision.
ThisbookisforHuguesBlondet,
curieuxdemŽtier
Abbreviations
BulletindesamisdÕAndrŽGide
CorrGideÐMACorrespondanceAndrŽGideÐMarcAllŽgret,
,ed.byJeanClaudeandPierre
Masson(Paris:Gallimard,2005)
CorrGideÐmreCorrespondanceavecsamre1880Ð1895
ed.byClaudeMartinandHenriThomas
(Paris:Gallimard,1988)
CorrGideÐValŽryCahiersAndrŽGide:Correspondanceavec
PaulValŽry,1890Ð1942
,ed.byPeter Fawcett
(Paris:Gallimard2009)
CPD
MariaVanRysselberghe,
LesCahiersdela
petitedame
,4vols(Paris:Gallimard,1973Ð
DŽsir
LeDŽsirˆlÕÏuvre,AndrŽGideˆCambridge
1918,1998
,ed.byNaomiSegal(Amsterdam:
Rodopi,2000)
JeanDelay,
LaJeunessedÕAndrŽGide
,2vols
(Paris:Gallimard,1956Ð57)
EGCaves
ÔEditiongŽnŽtiquedes
CavesduVatican
dÕAndrŽGideÕ,CD-Rom,ed.byAlainGoulet
and PascalMercier(Paris:Gallimard,2001)
AndrŽGide,
Essaiscritiques
,ed.byPierre
Masson(Paris:Gallimard,1999)
AlainGoulet,
AndrŽGide:Žcrirepourvivre
(Paris:JosŽCorti,2002)
FVS
AlainGoulet,
Fictionetviesocialedans
lÕÏuvredÕAndrŽGide
(Paris:Minard,1985)
AndrŽGide,
Journal1887Ð1925
,ed.byEric
Marty(Paris:Gallimard,1996)
AndrŽGide,
Journal1926Ð1950
,ed.byMar-
tine Sagaert(Paris,Gallimard,1997)
Klein,
Writings
MelanieKlein,
TheWritingsofMelanie
Klein
,1975,1984,4vols:
Love,Guiltand
ReparationandOtherWorks,1921Ð1945
1975(London:KarnacBooksandtheInsti-
tuteofPsychoanalysis,1992);
ThePsycho-
AnalysisofChildren
,1932(London:Karnac
BooksandtheInstituteofPsychoanalysis,
1992);
EnvyandGratitudeandOther
Works,1946Ð1963
,1975(London:Karnac
BooksandtheInstituteofPsychoanalysis,
1993),
NarrativeofaChildAnalysis
,1961
(NewYork: Free Press,1984)
JeanSchlumberger,
MadeleineetAndrŽGide
(Paris:Gallimard,1956)
NJP
AndrŽGide,
Nejugezpas
,1930(Paris:Galli-
mard,1957)
NRFH
LaNouvelleRevueFranaise:hommageˆ
AndrŽGide,1869Ð1951
(Paris:Gallimard,
AndrŽGide,
Îuvrescompltes
,ed.byLouis
Martin-Chauffier,15vols(Paris:Gallimard,
PFL
ThePenguinFreudLibrary
,trans.byAlix
andJamesStrachey,ed.byAngelaRichards
(1973Ð82)andAlbertDickson(1982Ð86),15
vols(London:Penguin,1990Ð91)
Pierre-Quint
LŽonPierre-Quint,
AndrŽGide:lÕhomme,sa
vie,sonÏuvre
(Paris: Stock,1952)
P&P
NaomiSegal,
AndrŽGide:Pederastyand
Pedagogy
(Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress,
Rivire
JacquesRivire,ÔLeRomandÕaventureÕ,
NouvelleRevuefranaise
,54(1June1913),
914Ð932;55(1July1913),56Ð77
RMGCorr
AndrŽGideÐRogerMartinduGardCorre-
spondance
,ed.byJeanDelay,2vols(Paris:
Gallimard,1968)
III
RogerMartinduGard,
Journal
,ed.by
ClaudeSicard,3vols(Paris:Gallimard,
RMGNotes
RogerMartinduGard,
NotessurAndrŽGide
(Paris:Gallimard,1951)
AndrŽGide,
Romans.RŽcitsetSoties.
Îuvreslyriques
,ed.byYvonneDavetand
Jean-JacquesThierry(Paris:Gallimard,1958)
AndrŽGide,
Henry Moore,
Mother and Child
(1953)
Bronze
Photo: The Henry Moore Foundation Archive
Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation
Jules:JÕenvielÕouverturedevotreŽventail,Jim.
Jim:O,moijesuisunratŽ.Letout cequejesais,jeletiensdemon
professeurAlbertSorel.ÔQuevoulez-vousdevenirÕmedemanda-t-il.
ÔDiplomate.ÕÔAvez-vousunefortune?ÕÔNon.ÕÔPouvezvousavec
quelqueapparencedelŽgitimitŽajouterˆvotrepatronymeunnom
cŽlbreouillustre?ÕÔNon.ÕÔEhbien,renoncezˆladiplomatie...Õ
ÔMaisalors,quedois-jedevenir?ÕÔUncurieux.ÕÔCenÕestpasunmŽ-
tier.CenÕestpas
encore
unmŽtier.Voyagez,Žcrivez,traduisez...,ap-
prenezˆvivrepartout.Commenceztoutdesuite.LÕavenirestaux
curieuxdeprofession.LesFranaissontrestŽstroplongtempsenfer-
mŽsderrireleursfrontires.Voustrouvereztoujoursquelquesjour-
nauxpourpayervosescapades.Õ
(FranoisTruffaut,
JulesetJim
, Screenplay,1962)
GideestrestŽfidleˆuneconceptionquejenesauraismieuxdŽfinir
quÕendisantquÕelleaconstituŽlapointeextrmedelacuriositŽde
lÕesprit.Aunetelleattitude,lacuriositŽdevientunscepticismequise
transformeenforcecrŽatrice.
(KlausMann,
NouvelleRevuefranaise:hommageˆAndrŽGide
Levoyagemelasseetjenesuispluscurieux.Lasdevoir,jeveux
fairevoirauxautres,ettoutemapassionserŽveilleraauprsdÕune
curiositŽnovice.
(AndrŽGide,
Correspondanceavecsamre
, February1895)
JemÕintŽresseplusnaturellementaudŽveloppementdeMichelquÕˆ
celuideCatherine.JÕaipriscepli,depuismapropreenfanceentourŽe
dÕadmirablesetvŽnŽrablesfiguresdefemmes,deconsidŽrerquela
femmenepeut,sansdŽroger,devenirÒintŽressanteÓ.(JeforceŽvi-
demmentmapensŽe,maisˆpeine.)PasletempsdedŽveloppercela
aujourdÕhui[...]ÐmaiscÕesttrsimportant,ˆyrevenir.Jepuisavoir
delÕadmirationpourcertainscaractresdefemmes;bienrarement,si
pasjamais,dela
curiositŽ
(Gide,
Journal
,Christmas1929)
Introduction
CuriosityandaCanary
IntheautobiographyofAndrŽGide(1869Ð1951),thefifteen-year-old
AndrŽiswalkingalongaParisstreetonedaywhenheseesacanary
flyingtowardshimliketheHolySpirit.
Itlandsonhishead,designa-
tinghim,hebelieves, as a writer.Immediatelybeforethelanding,An-
drŽisamodelof
disponibilitŽ
:Ôcurieuxdetout,amusŽdÕunrienet
richeimmensŽmentdelÕavenirÕ.
He,thecuriousone,inboththepas-
siveandactivesensesoftheword,attractsthecanaryÕscuriosityand
inturnbecomescuriousaboutit.BysignallingtoAndrŽhisvocation,
thebirdinvitesthefutureartisttobecuriousaboutfarmore:Ôlavo-
lontŽdesÕexprimerÕ,writesHenriThomas,ÔcolleaveclacuriositŽÕ.
Curiosityalsodrawsthereadertowardsthewordsmith:ÔthewriterÕs
appetitehastoincitethereaderÕsappetiteÕ,asAdamPhillipsobserves
withreferencetothecuriosityofHenryJames.
Curiosityflowsfrom
birdtoautobiographicalcharactertonarratortoauthortohis/herwri-
ting and,ifwearereceptive,toourexperienceofreadingandofcriti-
calanalysis.Forexample,PeterSchnyderÕsprincipleaimin
PrŽ-
textes:AndrŽGideetlatentationdelacritique
(1988)is:ÔŽveillerla
curiositŽpourunedespremirespassionsdÕAndrŽGide,lÕessaietla
IuseÔAndrŽÕtodistinguishtheautobiographicalprotagonistfromthehistorical
writer,Gide.
AndrŽGide,
Silegrainnemeurt
,1926in
Souvenirsetvoyages
,ed.byPierreMas-
sonwithcontributionsfromDanielDurosayandMartineSagaert(Paris:Gallimard,
2001),202.Furtherreferences to
SouvenirsetVoyages
willbeprefixed
HenriThomas,
ChoixdeLettres,1923Ð1993
(Paris:Gallimard,
2003),117.For
16AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary17
Africa,heexclaimed:ÔÒEtnÕest-cepas,desnouvelles,desnouvel-
les!ÓÕ.
Theidealcurioussubjectis adaptabletonovelty:
CÕestseulementlorsdÕunsensibleapportdenouveautŽextŽrieurequÕunor-
ganisme,pourenmoinssouffrir,estamenŽˆinventerunemodificationpro-
prepermettantuneappropriationplussžre.FautedՐtreappelŽespar
lÕŽtrange
,lesplusraresvertuspourrontresterlatentes.
Hence,inGideÕs
Ïuvre
,twobeingsindevelopmentfigurelarge,
namely,thechildwhoisdiscoveringlifeandtheconvalescentwhois
rediscoveringit.Baudelaire,writingofthepainterConstantinGuys,
suggeststhatcuriosityisÔlepointdedŽpartdesongŽnieÕ.
Guysis
Ôtoujours,spirituellementˆlÕŽtatduconvalescent.[...]Leconvales-
centjouitauplushautdegrŽ,commelÕenfant,delafacultŽde
sÕintŽresservivementauxchoses,mmelesplustrivialesenappar-
enceÕ;further,heisÔunhomme-enfant,[...]unhommepossŽdantˆ
chaqueminutelegŽniedelÕenfanceÕ(463).Si
milarly,SeanOÕHagen
describestheEnglishwriterJohnBergeraspossessingagedseventy-
eightÔthekindof contagiousenergy andcreativecuriosityoneusually
encountersonlyintheveryyoungorindefatigablyidealisticÕ.
AmericandefinitionofthechildisÔÒastomachsurroundedentirelyby
curiosityÓÕ.
DavidSteelhaswrittenwidelyonGideÕsdepictionof
children;
andshortlyIshallpresentGideÕsstrategiesofeliciting
childrenÕscuriosity.ExamplesofconvalescenceinGideÕsworkare:
Michelin
LÕImmoraliste
(ofwhomGidewritesinhisfamousletterto
RobertScheffer:ÔOnmereprochedÕavoirfaitmonhŽrosmalade.Je
MariaVanRysselberghe,
LesCahiersdelapetitedame
,4vols,publishedasvols
VII
of the
CahiersAndrŽGide
(Paris:Gallimard,1973,1974,1975,and1977),this
referenceis
,176.Furtherreferencestothisserieswillbeabbreviatedto
CPD
AndrŽGide,
Essaiscritiques
,ed.byPierreMasson(Paris:Gallimard,1999),6.Ref-
erenceshenceforthwillbeto
CharlesBaudelaire,
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques:L'ArtromantiqueetautresÏuvrescri-
tiquesdeBaudelaire
(Paris:ClassiquesGarnier,1999),461.
SeanOÕHagen,ÔJohnBerger:ARadicalReturnsÕ,Interview,
TheGuardian
,3April
2005,SaturdayReview,1Ð2.
WalterRedfern,
Queneau:Zaziedans lemŽtro
(London:Grant&Cutler,1980),35.
SeeDavidSteel,
LeThmedel'enfancedansl'oeuvred'AndrŽGide
(Lille:Service
dereproductiondesthses,UniversitŽdeLilleIII,1974);ÔLÕEnfancesaisiedans
Sile
grainnemeurt
Corydon
18AndrŽGideandCuriosity
crois,etvouslÕavezsenti,quÕilimportaitquÕil
dev”nt
bienportantÕ);
AndrŽÕsconvalescencefromtuberculosisinAlgeriain
Silegrainne
meurt
(1926);andGideÕsconvictionofthevalueofhisownillness
andconvalescenceinBiskrain1893Ð94:ÔToutycontribuait:lanou-
veautŽdeslieux,etdemoi-mmeojedŽcouvraistoutavecravisse-
ment.[...]MalgrŽlamaladie,sinonˆ causedÕelle,jenÕŽtaisquÕaccueil
ÔLettertoSchefferÕ,inAndrŽGide,
Îuvrescompltes
,ed.byLouisMartin-
Chauffier,15vols(Paris:NRF,1932Ð39),
,615Ð17,615.Henceforth
.Theitali-
cized Ô
dev”nt
ÕsignalstheimportanceofthingsindevelopmentasobjectsofGideÕs
curiosity.
ThŽophileGautier,
MademoiselledeMaupin
,1833(Paris:Livredepoche,1994),
LŽonGuillotdeSaixÔOscarWildedisait:moijepenseencontesÕ,
ActualitŽLit-
tŽraire
,29(November1956),27Ð33,28.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary19
ingly,thecanaryfliestoAndrŽ;in
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
(1925),
EdouardcommentsthatÔlafiguredÕOlivieraimanteaujourdÕhuimes
pensŽesÕ (
,235);toMariaVanRysselberghe(alsoknown asthePe-
titeDame),whowarnsGidetobecarefulwhenaroundtheboyscouts
campinginherfield,Gideremonstrates:ÔÒMaiscequimÕattiresurtout
cÕestcettesortedegourmandise,presquedÕappel,quejesenschez
certainsenfantsÓÕ (
CPD
,151).
Forthosewhoarenot
thatis,magneticallycharged,theactionsofthosewhoaremaybein-
comprehensible.Forexample,onhoneymoon,MadeleineGide
watchedherhusbandgazingatdirtyhalf-nakedboys andcommented:
ÔCÕestinou•cequetuescurieuxdesmoindrestresÕ,andPierreHer-
bartwritesofGideÕsperversepleasureinmixingwithlice-ridden
children.
ÔContagiousÕcuriosity,amoreprosaicformoftheÔmag-
neticÕvariant,isexemplifiedwhenGidehappensuponastarlingthat
hasfallenfromitsnest,decidestolookafterit,andcatchesitspara-
sites.Asinthecanaryepisode,mutualattractionandobservationfea-
ture,andthebirdislinkedtoGideÕswriterlyvocation,nestlingbeside
hisnotebook ashewrites:
[lÕŽtourneau]estlˆ,toutprsdemoi,surlatable,ouplusexactemententre
lesdoigtsdemamaingauche,quimaintiennentcecarnet;cÕestlaplace
quÕilaffectionne[...].IlvientdevolerdelatablesurmonŽpaule,aussit™t
quÕilmÕavurentrer.QuandilestrestŽquelquetempscontremamain,je
senssur ledosde lamaincourirdepetitesdŽmangeaisonsbizarres;cesont
deminusculesparasites,dontilestcouvert,quidŽmŽnagent.[...]
OutrequejenemelassepasdelÕobserver,luinÕadecessequÕil
nesoitperchŽsurmonŽpauleÐojelelaisseraisvolontierssÕilnedevait
pasmesalir. (
,794)
Theitching,burningdesireofcuriosityisevokedphysicallythrough
theparasitesandthecorrosivedroppings.
Theexchangeofcuriosity
markedbythecanaryiscleanandmagnetic,inkeepingwithabird
TheinterrelationofcuriosityanddesireinGideshallbedevelopedinchapter2.
ReportedbyGidetoJeanSchlumberger(JeanSchlumberger,
MadeleineetAndrŽ
Gide
[Paris:Gallimard,1956],187;henceforth
MAG
);PierreHerbart,
Alarecherche
d'AndrŽGide
,1952(Paris:Gallimard,2000),63.Seealso57Ð9.
ElizabethBoareferstothecontiguityofcontaminationandcuriosityinrelationto
ThomasMannÕs
DerZauberberg
(TheMagicMountain):ÔThedisgustingsoundof
theHerrenreiterÕscoughpenetratestheearsandarousestransgressivecuriosityabout
20AndrŽGideandCuriosity
thatresemblestheHolySpirit;thislice-riddenincontinentstarling,by
contrast,evokescuriosityÕs contagion.
Thedoublemeaningofthewordcuriosityitselfishighlighted
bythemagnetismofcuriositywhichpresupposesanegativeanda
positivepole.Inthecontextofearlyseventeenthcentury
Wunder-
kammern
,LawrenceWeschlerwrites:Ô[in]thechamberofwonders,
[...]theword
wonder
referredbothtotheobjectsdisplayedandthe
subjectivestatethoseobjectsinevitablyinducedintheirrespective
viewersÕ.
Hisdescriptionalsoappliestocuriosity,theEnglishtrans-
lationof
Wunderkammern
commonlybeingÔcabinetsofcuriositiesÕ.
Inboth French andEnglish,curiosityisreversible,describingboththe
phenomenonthatdirects a subjecttowards a particularobject, andthat
veryobject,which
LeRobert
describesasÔobjetrecherchŽparlescu-
rieux,lesamateursÕ,itssynonymsbeingÔbizarrerieÕandÔsingularitŽÕ.
Curiositycouldthereforebesourcedintheactivelycurioussubject,in
thepassivelycuriousobject,orinboth.
Gideseemstohavehadbothbasescovered.Regardingcuri-
osityinthe activesense,JeanLambertdefineshisÔcuriositŽsensuelleÕ
asoneofhismostdefiningandenduringtraits.
AccordingtoPierre
Herbart,GidehasÔuneinlassablecuriositŽ,servieparuneabsence
totaledeprŽjugŽs,derŽpugnancesÕ(Herbart,81).Authorisedbiogra-
pher,JeanDelay,relatesGideÕsÔdŽmondelacuriositŽÕtoÔlÕenfant
TouchatoutÕthatwasthechildGide.
MarcAllŽgretrecollectsGideÕs
MichelexperiencesthiscontagionwhenhesleepsnexttoagroupofArabsandgets
coveredinparasites (
,684);GideÕsdaughter,CatherineGide,protectedherself
againstthecontagionofherfatherÕscuriosity,asherhusbandJeanLambertreports:
ÔIÕindiffŽrencedeCatherineˆlÕŽgarddelÕÏuvredesonprenÕŽtaitaucunement
feinte,maislÕuniquemoyenpourelledeseprŽserver,dÕŽchapperˆlacontagion,de
dŽlimitersondomaineÕ(Lambert,
Gidefamilier
,90).
LawrenceWeschler,
Mr.WilsonÕsCabinetofWonder
(NewYork:RandomHouse,
1995),77.
Wonderandcuriosityareofcoursedifferent:whereaswonderhasbeendescribed
byAdalgisaLugliasÔan intermediate,highlyparticularstateakintoasortofsuspen-
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary21
ÔimmensecuriositŽÕandtheintensewayinwhichÔilvivait,sepas-
sionnantpourtout,aussibienpourdesfleursquepourdesinsectes,
pourdespeintresquepourdesinconnusrencontrŽsdanslÕautobusÕ.
DescriptionsofGideÕscuriosityrecurlikearefrainin
LaNouvelle
Revuefranaise:hommageˆAndrŽGide
:RogerMartinduGardde-
scribesGideÕscuriosity asundiminished,evenonhisdeathbed;
John
SteinbeckseesinGideachampionofcuriosity(30);andKlausMann
describesGideÕsconceptionofwritingasÔlapointeextrmedelacu-
riositŽdelÕespritÕ(
NRFH
,5).RegardingGideasaÔcuriosityÕinthe
passivesense,theWelshpoetArthurSymons,whometGideforthe
secondtimein1911,wrote:ÔGideisasweirdasheisfascinating,
queer asheisoddÕ.
MartinduGardrelatestoMarceldeCoppethow
whenhedinedwiththeGidesinDecember1913,thefifteen-year-old
DominiqueDrouinÔregardeÒoncleAndrŽÓcommeunphŽnomne
Žtrange,dÕuneautreplanteÕ.
WatchingGidepropositionherhus-
bandatEmileVerhaerenÕsfuneralin1916,ClŽop‰treBourdelle-Se-
vastosaskedBourdelle,ÔÒQuÕa-t-ilGidepourtresibizarre?ÓÕ.
For
EdmondHaraucourt,reviewing
Îdipe
for
LaDŽpche
in1932:ÔM.
22AndrŽGideandCuriosity
AndrŽGideestundesespritslespluscurieuxdecetempsÕ.
Al-
thoughGideis,inasense,thepassiveobjectofmyowncuriosity,my
angleinthisanalysiswillbepredominantlycuriosityfromtheactive
subjectposition.
ResearchContext
ItisagoodtimetobeworkingonGide,duetorecentPlŽiadeeditions
containingfullernotesandvariantsandsomehithertounpublished
passagesof
RomansetrŽcits
(2009),
SouvenirsetVoyages
(2001),
Essaiscritiques
(1999),andthe
Journal
(1996,1997).GideÕs
LeRam-
ier
waspublishedforthefirsttimein2002;andtheCDRom
Edition
gŽnŽtiquedesCavesduVaticand'AndrŽGide
(2001)givesusersac-
cesstotheprocessofproductionofGideÕs
.Overthepastfifteen
years,majorcriticalmonographsandcollectionsonGidehaveap-
pearedbyPeterSchnyder(2007);JoceleynVanTuyl(2006);Thomas
Cazentre(2003);AlainGoulet(2002);RobertKoppandPeterSchny-
der(2002,eds),NaomiSegal(1998,2000,ed.);DavidWalker(1997,
ed.);MichaelLucey(1995);Jean-MarieJadin(1995);andMarianne
Mercier-Campiche(1994).Lucey(2006)andLawrenceSchehr(2004,
1995,1995)alsodrawonGideÕswriting considerablyintheirworkon
queertheory.
CuriosityinGidehasbeenreferredtobyseveralcritics,in-
cludingCazentre,Durosay,Goulet,Green,Lucey,Segal,VanTuyl
andWalker.Becauseofitsthematicproximitytopedagogy,itisgiven
thefullestdiscussioninSegalÕs
AndrŽGide:PederastyandPeda-
:ÔtwoversionsoftheGideanchase[are]curiosityandeducation,
findingorformingtheotherÕ.
Segalshowshowcuriositysparks
avuncularpedagogy(272),theadolescentÕscuriositytowardslifetrig-
geringtheadultÕscuriositytowardstheadolescent,whosecuriosity
theadultseekstodirectproductively.InGideÕswriting,JŽr™me
adoptsandthenusurpsAlissaÕscuriosity(139);inspiteofhiscurios-
ity,Edouardcannotunderstandotherpeoplefully(230,265);Robert
professesintellectualcuriosity(158);andMŽlanieBastianmanifests
incuriosity(243).SegallinksGideÕslibidinalcuriositytofascination
EdmondHaraucourtinÔExtraitsduDossierdePresseÕ,inGide
Îdipe
,ed.byClara
Debard(Paris:HonorŽChampion,2007),284.
NaomiSegal,
AndrŽGide:PederastyandPedagogy
(Oxford:OxfordUniversity
Press,1998),347.Infuturereferences, thistextwillbeabbreviatedto
P&P
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary23
(269,272),andtothesexualhunt(216,269Ð70);itdrivesGideÕsde-
siretoknowNicolasandVictor(326,335),andobligesGidetofind
evernewobjectsforcuriosity(274).GideÕsnon-libidinalcuriosity,
shorterinduration,isexemplifiedbyhisbehaviourtowardshisyoung
daughterCatherine(313,317,319Ð20),andbytheÔlessthanusually
libidinalorpredatoryÕcuriosityofthe
VoyageauCongo
(102).Gide
hasapredilectionfortheroleofobserverunobserved(220),andhe
setsupaparallelbetweenhumanandanimalcuriosity(301).Segal
observeshowEdouarddisplaystowardsBronjaandBorisaÔsenti-
mental authorlycuriosityintheformofknowinghumouror avuncular
ignoranceÕ(349);andhowGideÕswriterlycuriositymotivateshisex-
perimentsonpeople(314,334).Durosayevokesthesatisfactionofthe
youngerpartnerÕsÔcuriositŽduplaisirÕandtheawakeningofhisin-
tellectualcuriositythroughpederasty(theformofhomosexuality
practisedbyGidebasedontheGreekmodelofsexbetweenanolder
loverandayoungerbeloved).
DurosayalsonotestheÔcuriositŽpro-
fessionnelleÕwhichdevelopsGidetowardstheAllŽgretboys,oncehe
haspositionedhimselfatthecentreoftheiractivitiesandconfi-
dences.
CazentredetailsGideÕsÔgožtdeladŽcouverteÕinthediver-
sityofhisreading;
hisÔcuriositŽgratuiteÕtowardsunclassifiable
readingmatter(12),andhisbulimic-likepracticeofgreedy,speedy
andcumulativereading(41).InasectionentitledÔPartagedesdŽcou-
vertesÕ,CazentreunderscorestheimportancetoGideofcontinuingthe
relayofliterarydiscoveriesbysharingthemwithstrategicallyplaced
others:ÔdŽcouvrir,cÕestnŽcessairement
faireconna”tre
Õ(60).
This
ÔprosŽlytismedeladŽcouverteÕanddesiretoprovokeÔunentra”ne-
mentÕwasconductedthroughreadingsoutloudofnewwritingto
DanielDurosay,ÔAndrŽGideetMarcAllŽgret:DanslelacisdessentimentsÕ,in
MarcAllŽgret,dŽcouvreurdestars
,ed.byBernardJHoussiau,[Yens-sur-Morges:
Cabedita,1994],230.
DanielDurosay,ÔLes
Faux-Monnayeurs
24AndrŽGideandCuriosity
familyandfriends;annotatedreadingdiariesinthe
Journal
,andrec-
ommendationsofandreactionstobooksincorrespondencewith,in
particular,those associatedwith
LaNouvelleRevuefranaise
NRF
Copeau,GhŽon,Rivire, SchlumbergerÐ,ofwhichGidewas a found-
ingmember(60,61).ThislastmodeenabledGideÕsdiscoveriestobe
filteredintothearticlesofthereviews.(ItisedifyingthatMichel
Braudeau,currenteditorofthe
NRF
,describesthereviewÕsobjective
asbeingÔuncabinetdecuriositŽsetunŽtalagedegourmandises.Õ)
GideÕsBent
,Luceywritesoftheimportanceofcuriosityinthescene
ofAndrŽÕsfirsthomosexualencounterwithAliofSousse,notinghow
itslability confusesÔwhoisinvitingwhom,orwhoinvitedwhom.The
sourcesofknowledge,corruption,orcontaminationceasemomentar-
ilytopertain.Õ
Regarding
VoyageauCongo
,Luceydemonstrates
thatGideattimesblurssociologicalwithentomologicalcuriosity
whenhedrawsananalogybetweentheindigenouspeopleandtheir
dwellings,andinsects(159).VanTuylremarksonGideÕscomment
thathissexualcuriosityslipsintohischarityworkduringWorldWar
OneattheFoyerFranco-Belge,
and,followingMariaVanRyssel-
berghe,shewritesofGideinthewakeofthedeclarationofwarin
1939beingÔtornbetweenhorrorandcuriosityÕ:hiscravingforinfor-
mationwasfedbyradiobroadcastsinanylanguageandwhatclan-
destinepresshecouldsource(27).PaulGreenreferstotheÔhighly
sexualizedÕaspectofcuriosityinrelationto
LesCavesduVatican
persuasivelyarguingthatÔcuriosityisagoverningimpulseÕinthe
lead-uptoandperformanceofLafcadioÕs
actegratuit
:Ôcuriositylinks
all[LafcadioÕs]disparatethoughtsÕandÔadominantfactorinthemur-
deristheurgetoseewhatitwouldbelike actuallytogothroughwith
ÔNoussommesaussi,etpeut-tresurtout,desexplorateurs,desdŽcouvreurs.[...]
N.R.F.
,c'estencore l'ouvertureˆtouslesgenres,ˆtous les tons.[É]NousapprŽcions
l'insolence,l'imprŽvu.[...]C'estenfinlelieud'expressiondecequel'onappellele
work inprogress, l'Ïuvreenmouvement,etdupremiercontactavecdes inconnusqui
sontpeut-trelestalentsdedemainÕ(MichelBraudeau, Ô
LaNouvelleRevue franaise
uncabinetdecuriositŽsetunŽtalagedegourmandisesÕ,http://www.gallimard.fr/
catalog/Html/revue/nrf.htm�[20October2008]).
MichaelLucey,
GideÕsBent
(NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress,1995),30.
JocelynVanTuyl,
AndrŽGideand theSecondWorldWar:ANovelistÕsOccupation
(Albany:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress,2006),10.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary25
it.Õ
ForGoulet,thedemonrepresentsinpartÔlaforcedelacuri-
ositŽÕ,
asshownbyBernard.
GideÕsÔŽcritureouverteÕisastriving
towardsself-discovery (
EPV
,28),andcanthusbeconstruedascuri-
ositytowardstheself.Gouletwritesofthesplittingofthecurioussub-
jectbetween
intervenir
and
observer
EPV
,304);andofGideÕscurio-
sitytowardsÔlespetits,dontlasituationetlaconditionlÕintŽressentet
lÕŽmeuvent:lepetitCasimirdÕ
Isabelle
,leBeppodes
Caves
,ouleBo-
risdes
Faux-Monnayeurs
parexemple,figuresdisgraciŽesoumargi-
nalesÕ (
EPV
,44).WalkerturnshissightstoactualÔfiguresdisgra-
ciŽesÕwhomGideencountered,demonstratingacuriositytowards
Ô[le]statutet[le]sortdesenfantsvictimesouauteursdecrimesÕ.
OutrageandInsight
,Walkerlinkscuriositytomysterywhenhemen-
tionshowGideÕsattentiontothesmallestdetailconveysÔsomething
oftheunsettlingmysteryofreality,thedisturbingsignificanceofthe
trivial,thelimitlesspossibilitiesofaworldwhichisasitisonlyby
chanceÕ.
GideÕseyeforscientificdetailisnotedinrelationtohis
painstakingobservationofthe chronologyofeventsleadingtothedis-
coveryofÔLaSŽquestrŽedePoitiersÕ(1930)andtoGideÕsuseofthe
ÔdeceptivelyunassumingÕ
faitsdivers
asaÔÒdocumenthumainÓfor
furtherscientificinvestigationÕ(28,5).
Gidewritesinthe
Faitsdivers
(1930):ÔLa
curiositŽ
estundes
ressortsdenotreactivitŽquimepara”tavoirŽtŽleplusmŽconnuetle
moinsbienŽtudiŽÕ.
Hewouldhavebeencheeredbythevarietyof
researchthathasfocussedoncuriosityinrecentyears.In1976,Ger-
manresearchersHans-GeorgVossandHeidiKellerpublished
NeugierundExploration
,translatedintoEnglishas
CuriosityandEx-
ploration:TheoriesandResults
,inwhichtheysummarisetwentieth-
PaulGreen,ÔExplainingLafcadioÕ,
DalhousieFrenchStudies
,73,2005Winter,
97Ð104,100Ð1.
AlainGoulet,
AndrŽGide:fictionetviesocialedansl'Ïuvred'AndrŽGide
(Paris:
Minard,1985),534.Henceforth,thistextwillbeabbreviatedto
FVS
26AndrŽGideandCuriosity
centurytheoriesoncuriosityfromarangeofdisciplines,including
clinicalpsychology,classicalpsychology,andpsychoanalysis.They
examinetherelationshipbetweencuriosityandfear,citingexamples
whereexperimentsonratsshowedthatatotallystrangeobjectcan
causefearthatinhibitscuriosity;andothers,bycontrast,whereanxi-
etypromotescuriosityandexploratoryactivity(139Ð48).
ÔTediumÕ
theories,i.e.thatcuriosityisstimulatedbyboredom,arecontrasted
withÔtitillationÕtheories,i.e.thatthestimulustocuriosityresidesin
theobject(26,33Ð4).
ÔPerceptualcuriosityÕ(looking,touching,tast-
ing,smelling,movingtowardsanobject)iscontrastedwithÔepistemic
curiosityÕ,whichincludessymbolicrelationsthatallowtheorganism
toacquirenewinformation(e.g.question-asking;problem-oriented
thinking)(29,38Ð41).Psychoanalyticthoughtfitsintothiscategory,
asdoexamplesofcuriosityinGideÕs
Ïuvre
,whenexaminedasmani-
festationsofGideÕsowncuriosity.
ExplorationsofcuriosityandliteratureintheUK,North
AmericaandFrancehavefocussedpredominantlyontheearlymod-
ernperiodandtakenacultural-historicalapproach,exploring,forex-
ample,howcuriositywasviewedbyChurchandEstablishment;its
relationtosixteenth-centuryscepticism;itscontributiontothe
Enlightenment;itsroleinthevoyagesofdiscovery,thenascentnatu-
ralsciences,andmuseumsandtravellingshows.Examplesareworks
byR.J.W.Evans andAlexanderMarr(2006,eds),NeilKenny(2004,
1998);NigelLeask(2002);BarbaraBenedict(2001);NicoleJacques-
ChaquinandSophieHoudard(1998,eds);andKrzysztofPomian
(1987).
Thesetwocontradictoryactionssupportmyview,developedinthenextchapter,
thatincuriosityandcuriosityoperateonacontinuum.
InGide,thenotionofcuriosityasamagneticprocessovercomesthisapparent
deadlock.
CuriosityandWonderfromtheRenaissancetotheEnlightenment
,ed.byR.J.W.
EvansandAlexanderMarr(Aldershot:Ashgate,2006);NeilKenny,
TheUsesofCu-
riosityinEarlyModernFranceandGermany
(Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress,
2004);Kenny,
CuriosityinEarlyModernEurope:WordHistories
(Wiesbaden:Har-
rassowitz,1998);BarbaraMBenedict,
Curiosity:ACulturalHistoryofEarlModern
Inquiry
(Chicago:The UniversityofChicagoPress,2001);NigelLeask,
Curiosityand
theAestheticsofTravelWriting,1770Ð1840:ÔFromanAntiqueLandÕ
(Oxford:Ox-
fordUniversityPress,2002);
CuriositŽetLibidosciendidelaRenaissanceaux
Lumires
,ed.byN.Jacques-ChaquinandS.Houdard,2vols(Paris:ENSEditions,
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary27
ÔCuriosityregainsparticularsalienceatthefin-de-sicle,
whenscientificpositivismsimultaneouslyhititsapexandcrisisÕ,re-
marksAndreaGouletin2005.
Investigationsofcuriosityinmodern-
ismbeganwithRossPosnockÕs1991studyonthecuriosityofWil-
liamandHenryJames,inwhichPosnockappliesmodelsofcuriosity
laidoutinFreudÕsstudyofLeonardodaVincitoilluminatehowthe
differingcuriositiesoftheJamesbrothersshape,andarereflectedin,
1998);KrzysztofPomian,
Collectionneurs,amateursetcurieux.Paris,Venise:XVIe
-XVIIIesicle
,trans.fromPolish(Paris:Gallimard,1987).
28AndrŽGideandCuriosity
1903Ð1916infiltratesfictionalentertainmentfilms,itsscientificdis-
coursebeingamenabletofictionaltransformationthoughmetaphor,
analogyandanthropomorphisation.Hisworkontheinfluenceofeth-
nologistJean-HenriFabreonearlyscientificcinemaandlaterBu–uel
linkstoFabreÕsinfluenceonGideÕsscientificcuriositytowardsthe
naturalworld,asweshallsee.AndreaGouletusesthecontextofthe
bibliophilicrationaldetectivetoplacecuriosityÔasthescopophilic
linkbetweenabstractinvestigationandkillerinstinct,betweenbook-
lustandblood-lust,science andmurderÕ(AndreaGoulet,59).Sheob-
serves:ÔUnlikecommonpoliceagentsorfamilymembers,whose
crime-solvingeffortsarespurredbyduty,fear,avarice,oravenging
passion,thehero-detectiveistypicallymotivatedbyadesiretoknow
(an
epistemophilia
)Õ(51).
LinkingwithCazentreÕsfocusonGideÕs
avidcuriosityasareader,GoulethighlightshowinJulesClaretie,
LÕAccusateur
(1896),thecuriosityofthedetectiveBernadetÔistypi-
fiedbytheactofÒdevouringoldbooksÓÕ(AndreaGoulet,53).These
examplesallscrutinisetheroleofcuriosityinliteraryorfilmicfiction
beinganalysed,whichissometimesanalysedinconjunctionwithsci-
entificvisualorwrittentexts.
Outsideliterarystudies,arthistory,culturalstudiesandpsy-
choanalysishavealsoengagedwithcuriosity.ArthistorianJoanne
Leehascalledforamethodologyofcuriosity,whichwouldbetteren-
gagestudentsbytappingintoaestheticworksthatstimulatetheircuri-
osity.
ArtMatters
,PeterdeBollashowscuriositytobeacompo-
nentofwonder:ÔWonderhasanidentifiablearchitecture;itcomprises
avarietyofroomsweinhabit,movingfromfascinationandcuriosity
throughadmirationtoward,atthelowestlevelsbelowground,asit
were,stupororstupefactionÕ.
Butwhereasthecurioussubjectis con-
fidentthatthesecretcanbediscovered,theawe-strucksubjectknows
thatÔcherishedworksofart[É]willnever,completely,giveupwhat
itistheyknowÕ(143).JaneBennett,inananalysisofenchantment,
ThisresonateswithPaulGreenÕsanalysisofLafcadioÕs
actegratuit
JoanneLee,ÔLanguagesforLearningtoDelightinArtÕ,in
In(ter)discipline:new
languagesforcriticism
,ed.byGillianBeer,M.BowieandB.Perrey(Oxford:Leg-
enda,2007),pp.107Ð13.TheconferencepaperofSeptember2003onwhich thisarti-
cleisbasedwasoriginallyentitled,ÔCuriosityandenchantment:languagesforlearn-
ing todelightinartÕ.
PeterdeBolla,
ArtMatters
(Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress,2003),141.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary29
arguesthatcuriosityattachesustotheworld.
Herdescriptionofen-
chantmentasahyper-sensitivestateissimilartocuriosity:ÔYouno-
ticenewcolors,discerndetailspreviouslyignored,hearextraordinary
sounds,asfamiliarlandscapesofsensesharpenandintensifyÕ(5).
LauraMulveyÕs
FetishismandCuriosity
(1996)putscuriosityand
fetishismintoadialecticalratherthanapolarisedrelationship.She
recognisesfetishisminscreenrepresentations,butassertsthatknowl-
edgeandrealevents(whichcuriositytargets)existwithintheirfetish-
isticrepresentation.
AdamPhillipsconcentratesonÔthechild[...]
whocanbederangedbyhopeandanticipation[andwho]seemsto
haveapassionateloveoflife,acuriosityaboutlifeÕ.
Drawingon
FreudÕsearlywriting,heillustrateshowthechildÕsinfantilesexuality
isshowntomarktheapotheosisofÔthatimaginativehungercalled
curiosityÕ,thechildÕseffortstore-findaplaceintheworlddrivingits
needtoknowÔwherebabiescomefrom,thedifferencebetweenthe
sexes,hisparentsÕrelationshipÕ(6,16).PhillipsadoptsFreudÕsview
thatsexualcuriosityistheparadigmforcuriosityingeneral,butfinds
unsatisfactorilynarrowthetwooutcomesFreudsuggestsforthe
childÕsinfantilesexualresearches,namelythatofÎdipus(there-
searchesareunsuccessful,ceaseandaresublimated)andthatofDon
Quixote(thechildconstructsitsownfantasies,theoriesandstories).
Instead,heconflatesartisticexpression(theresultofsublimatedsex-
ualimpulses)withthetheories children comeupwithwhentheytryto
understandsex,becausebothinvolvestory-making andthebody:
Thechild[...]inevitablysublimates:shemakesuptheories,infantasyand
language;buttheyareaboutnothingotherthansexuality(aboutwhatgoes
inandoutofbodies,andwhatgoeson inside them).It isakindofsublima-
tion thatisalwaysrefusing toplay thegame; thatkeeps,asitwere,pointing
atbodies,andwhat theymightdoforpleasure.Sublimation,inotherwords,
isafigureforremaking,forredescription,butin theserviceofdelight[...].
Thisissublimationasanintimationofitsownlimits:wordstogetusback
tobodies.(23)
Weknowthat[...]thechildisinterestedinsex[...]becauseheorshe,atcer-
taintimes,isendlesslyaskingquestionsaboutit,andsecretlymakingup
30AndrŽGideandCuriosity
storiesaboutitthatFreudpointedlywantstocalltheories;formulating,in
fantasy,unconsciouswishes.ThechildÕsinterestisinthestories(what
[Henry]Jamesreferredtoasmakinginterestthroughart).(28)
Thisideathatsexualcuriosityismaintainedthroughsublimationand
expressedthroughartissupportedbyseveralexamplesfromGideÕs
Ïuvre
,inwhichsexualandwriterlycuriosityoperatecloselytogether.
Further,itprovidesawayoutoftheimpassesuggestedbyFreudin
1910of
either
sublimation
sexuality:theÔrarestandmostperfectÕ
typeofsublimationoccurswhenÔthelibidoevadesthefateofrepres-
sionbybeingsublimatedfromtheverybeginningintocuriosityÕena-
bling a ÔpowerfulinstinctforresearchÕtoemerge.
Thepresentstudyis a buildingblockinthelargerprojectofmodernist
curiosities,whichisintheprocessofcontstructingcriticalapparatus
toaddressdirectlyandintheirtotalitytheencyclopedic,hybridand
interdisciplinaryinterestsofsignificantculturalfiguresinFrancein
thelate19thandearly20thcenturies.Thisendeavourseekstoover-
comecriticalblindspotsresultingfromkeyfiguresbeingcategorised
insaisissable
indŽfinissable
and
inclassable
,byvalorisingrather
thanneglectingparticularartistsfortheseveryqualities.
Workex-
emplifyingthisprojectincludesEricRobertsonÕsmonographonthe
multiplestrandsoftheworkofHans(orJean)Arp(1886Ð1966),Ber-
nardGauthier
SigmundFreud,
ThePenguinFreudLibrary
,trans.byAlixandJamesStrachey,ed.
byAngelaRichards(1973Ð82)andAlbertDickson(1982Ð6),15vols(London:Pen-
guin,1990Ð91),
XIV
,170.Henceforth,Ireferto thisFreudcollectionas
.The
othertwooutcomesoftheabandonmentofinfantilecuriositydetailedinFreudÕs
ÔLeonardodaVinciandaMemoryofhisChildhoodÕare:thepermanentstuntingof
curiosity;andacuriositythatremainsunconsciouslyattachedtosadisticphantasies
andexpresses itself in theformofcompulsivebrooding.This latterversionresembles
thecuriosityfound inthedepressivepositionasdevelopedbyMelanieKlein.
GermaineBrŽe,
AndrŽGide,lÕinsaisissableProtŽe:ŽtudecritiquedelÕÏuvre
dÕAndrŽGide
(Paris:LesBellesLettres,1970).AntoineBertrand,
LesCuriositŽses-
thŽtiquesdeRobertdeMontesquiou
,2vols,(Geneva:Droz,1996),
,727Ð741;Ber-
nardGauthier(ed.),
MarcelSchwob.L'Hommeaumasqued'or
(Paris/Nantes:Galli-
mard/BibliothquemunicipaledeNantes,2006),cover jacket.
EricRobertson,
Arp:Painter,Poet,Sculptor
(NewHaven:YaleUniversityPress,
2006)
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary31
RogerGreavesholdsthatthereceivedvisionoftheworkof
Nadar(1820Ð1910)istoopartial,sinceitrecogniseshisphotographic
contributionbutneglectshisextensivecriticalandpoeticalwritings,
whichremainunpublishedinthearchivesoftheBibliothquenation-
alefranaise.
BertrandarguesthatdeMontesquiouhasbeenwritten
outofappreciationsofFrenchmodernism,andaccusedofsuperficial-
ityandcharlatinismbecausehismultifariouscuriositiesÐwhichspan
interiors,gardens,theplasticarts,poetry,theatre,andsocietyÐdefy
conventionalbracketing (
,469;10Ð12).MontesquiouÕsowncritical
writingdisplaysaÔmultiplicitŽ[...]descuriositŽsÕ(13),placingit,as
Montesquiouhimselfsuggestsin1916 (
,780Ð81),inthetraditionof
BaudelaireÕscollectedartcriticism,
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques
.(Baude-
lairechosethistitlein1857overhisoriginalideaof
Bric-ˆ-braces-
thŽtique
andthechangesuggestsamovefromdecadence,conveyed
bythenotionofesotericobjectsdisplayedintheconfinedspaceofa
shoporgallery,towardsamodernismextollingalimitlessoutside,
withmultipleobjectsofcuriosity.)TheanglophileMarcelSchwob,
variouslyjournalist,fictionandfantasy-writer,translator,historian,
critic,andtravel-writer,hasonlyinthelastdecadebeenconsideredas
anauthorofaparadoxicalandmulti-faceted
Ïuvre
ratherthanexclu-
sivelyasymbolistanddecadent,thankstoaswatheofrepublications
anda2006exhibitioninNantes,ÔLÕHommeaumasquedÕorÕ.
Ina
lettertoSchwobof7July1894,RobertLouisStevensonintuitsthat
SchwobÕswritingwilldevelopfromthedecadent(ÔcrŽpusculaireÕ)to
somethingthatresonateswithmodernistcuriosity(Ôquelqueautre
choseˆvenir,plut™tquÕunechosefinaleensoi[...],quelquechosede
plusgrandeallure;[...]ŽclairŽdepleinjour,[...]aveclescouleursde
lavie, [
];plusterrestre,plusnourri,plusordinaireÕ),
andGidehim-
selfcommentsonSchwobÕsÔinlassablecuriositŽÕinhisshorthom-
magetohim (
,855).EditorMironGrindeaevokesin1954the
RogerGreaves,
Nadarouleparadoxevital
(Paris:Flammarion,1980).
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques
wasusedintheposthumouspublicationof1868Ð69(Henri
Lema”tre,ÔIntroductionÕ,inBaudelaire,
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques;LÕArtromantique
xxviÐxxx).
Gauthier(ed.),
MarcelSchwob
,op.cit.
MarcelSchwob,
VersSamoa:LettesˆMargueriteMoreno(octobre1901Ðmars
1902),contenantlejournaldÕunvoyageˆSamoaparPort-Sa•d,Djibouti,Ceylanet
lÕAustralie,suiviesdeslettresdeRobertLouisStevensonˆMarcelSchwob
,ed.Ber-
nardGauthier(EditionsOmbres,2002).
32AndrŽGideandCuriosity
forceofcuriosityattheturnofthecentury,whenhedefinesJean
Lorrain(1855Ð1906)asÔFrenchjournalistandnovelistofthedeca-
dent and ÒcuriousÓschoolÕ.
ThisistheonlyreferenceIhavefoundto
aÔÒcuriousÓschoolÕ
perse
,atermthatissomewhatanarchic,asun-
checkedcuriositydefiestraditionalschoolsofcontainment.In
LorrainÕscontext,ÔÒcuriousÓschoolÕtobeemployed as a synonymfor
ÔdecadentÕ,whileatthesametimedestabilisingitbyalludingtothe
ÔcuriousÕman,whosewide-ranginginterestsspannedfiction,theatre,
poetry,criticism,journalism,travel,andsocialising;andwhosecriti-
cismwasconsideredbyMallarmŽasÔaigueÕ.
Theworkofthefig-
uresjustmentioned,situated atthecuspofdecadence andmodernism,
maybeconsideredasharbingers,ifnotthenascentstages,ofmod-
ernistcuriosities.
Structure
Gidewascurioustowardshimselfasherevealshimselfthroughhis
Ïuvre
,writingin
Dosto•evski
(1923):ÔLevŽritableartisterestetou-
joursˆdemiinconscientdelui-mme,lorsquÕilproduit.Ilnesaitpas
aujustequiilest.IlnÕarriveˆseconna”trequÕˆtraverssonÏuvre,
quÕaprssonÏuvreÕ (
,561).Thisself-curiosityisalsodirectedto-
wardshischaracters,whichheviewsvariouslyastransplantedoff-
shootsofhimself (
,616Ð17)oroffcutsfromhisownflesh
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,in
,551).Hewasalsocuriousto-
wardshisreadersÕreactionstohiswriting,scrutinising,forexample,
JulienGreenashereadfromoneofGideÕsnotebooks (
NRFH
,232).
InrelationtoGideÕsÔegocentricÕwriting,
IfindconvincingGideÕs
ownviewthatthehistorical authorisinseparablefromthe
Ïuvre
AbsurdethŽoriequÕoninventaenFrancedÕaprsGautieretFlaubert,quÕil
fautsŽparer lÕÏuvrede lÕhommecommesilÕÏuvreseplaquaitsurlÕhomme
enpostiche,commesi toutcequiestdanslÕÏuvrenÕŽtaitpasdanslÕhomme
Noteofeditor,MironGrindea,toStuartMerrillÕsarticle,ÔReminiscencesofOscar
WildeÕ,1912,
AdamInternationalReview
,22,nos241Ð43(1954),10Ð12.
StŽphaneMallarmŽ,ÔTennysonvudÕiciÕ,
NationalObserver
,29October1892,
611Ð12.
JamesBaldwin,ÔTheMalePrisonÕ, in
NobodyKnowsmyName
(1961),reproduced
CollectedEssays
(NewYork:TheLibraryofAmerica,1998),231Ð35,231.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary33
auparavant,commesilaviedelÕhommenÕŽtaitpaslesoutiendesesÏu-
vres,sapremireÏuvre (
,213).
Hence,Ishalldrawon:GideÕsfiction,namely
LeTraitŽduNarcisse
(1891),
LeVoyaged'Urien
(1893),
LaTentativeamoureuse
(1893),
Paludes
(1895),
LesNourrituresterrestres
(1897),
LePromŽthŽemal
encha”nŽ
(1899),
LÕImmoraliste
(1902),
LaPorteŽtroite
(1909),
Isa-
belle
(1911),
LesCavesduVatican
(1914),
LaSymphoniepastorale
(1919),
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
(1925),
LÕEcoledesfemmes
(1929),
Robert
(1930),
LesNouvellesNourritures
(1935),
GeneviveouLa
confidenceinachevŽe
(1936);hisimplicitlyandexplicitlyautobiogra-
phicalanddiarywritings,traveloguesanddocumentarypieces,thatis,
LesCahiersdÕAndrŽWalter
(1891),
SouvenirsdelaCourd'Assises
(1914),
Dosto•evski
(1923),
Corydon
(1911,1920,1924),
Silegrain
nemeurt
(1920,1921,1924,1926),
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
(1927),
Dindiki
(1927),
VoyageauCongo
(1927),
LeRetourdu Tchad
(1928),
LaSŽquestrŽedePoitiers
(1930),
LÕAffaireRedureau
(1930),
Retourdel'U.R.S.S.
(1936),
RetouchesˆmonÔRetourdel'U.R.S.S.Õ
(1937),
Acquasanta
(1938),
Printemps
(1939),
MaMre
(1942),
ThislinkstoGideÕstheoryof
rŽtroaction
,wherebythebookbeingwrittenandthe
writerenterintoadynamicflowofmutualinfluence (
,170Ð71).Themostfamous
proponentoftheopposingviewisRolandBarthesinÔLaMortdelÕauteurÕ,1968in
34AndrŽGideandCuriosity
afterandthisseemstohaveputGideatoneremovefromhisacting
self:atthecloseof
writes thatheisÔtransportŽÕandinastateofÔivresseÕ;hedescribesSchlumbergeras
ÔuntrequÕilfallaitouvrirÕ(therebydemonstratinghiscuriositytowardshim),and
claimsthathebothlovedanddesiredSchlumberger(unpublishedextractof
LesCa-
hiersdelaPetiteDame
readoutbyPierreMasson,AssemblŽegŽnŽralede
lÕAssociationdesamisdÕAndrŽGide,20November2004).
LŽonPierre-Quint,
AndrŽGide:LÕHomme,savie,sonÏuvre
(Paris:Stock,1952),
116;henceforth
Pierre-Quint
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary35
jepeuxavoirsurelle,pourdirigersesregardsversunecolonieencoretrop
peuconnue.
Whereassexualandscientificcuriositycontainend-points,writerly
curiosityisatransitionalpointleadinguptowriterlyproduction.The
ever-curioustext attractsthereaderÕscuriosity, andwill continuetodo
so,therebystavingoffthedisappointmentofsatiatingcuriosity,inthe
fashionofdesireintheopeningsectionfrom
LesNouvellesNour-
ritures
(1935):
Toiquiviendras lorsque jenÕentendraiplus lesbruitsde laterreetquemes
lvresneboirontplussarosŽeÐtoiqui,plus tard,peut-tremelirasÐcÕest
pourtoiquejÕŽcriscespages[...].IlmesembleparfoisquecÕestavecma
Gide,unpublishedlettertoAndrŽHesse,MinisterofColonialAffairs(Archives
nationales;sectionOutre-Mer,Mission99,dossierGide),printedinCatherineMau-
bon,ÔSguardoescrittura in
VoyageauCongo
IlVerri
,9Ð10(MayÐJune1986),61Ð
89,88Ð89.
Thisismanifested in
Silegrain
when,afterdetailingAndrŽÕsobservationofDaniel
BhavingsexwithMohammed,thenarratorturnsthematteronhimself:ÔPourmoi,
quinecomprendsleplaisirquefaceˆface,[...]Õ (
,312).
36AndrŽGideandCuriosity
writingandfictionalwritingtoilluminateoneanother,andanalyse
self-curiosityasitmanifestsitselfunderthethreeheadings.Thus,
Gidecouldbesexuallycurioustowardshimselfwhenherecountsto
MartinduGardthefreakishaspectsofhissexuality (
monstruositŽsde
manature
scientificallycurioustowardshimselfwhenhewatches
adoctorexaminehisoctogenarianbody(Delayreports:ÔCommeM.
Laubryenregistraitunesecondefoislesoscillationsdesartres,[Gide]
demanda:ÒJevousennuie?ÓÒOnnemÕennuiejamaisÓ,rŽponditGide
avecvivacitŽ,ÒquandonsÕoccupedemoi.ÓÕ [
NRFH
,359]);
andhis
wholeautobiographicalprojectÐdiary,autobiography,fictionÐdis-
playsself-curiositythroughwriterlycuriosity.
IshallnowconsidercuriosityfirstinGideÕslife-writingand
biographicalaccountsofhim,andsecond,inhisfiction,
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
(1925).Myintentionisfourfold:torevealthevarious
manifestationsofcuriosityinGidebeforeadoptingthetriangularthe-
maticstructureofsexual-scientific-writerlycuriosityinthebodyof
mytext;toconsiderlife-writingandfictionasrelativelydiscreteunits
beforeexploringechoesinthefunctioningofcuriosityacrossthese
twomodes;toillustratefurtherimportantcharacteristicsofcuriosity
inGide(inadditiontonovelty;
,magnetismandconta-
gion;andpassive/activecuriosity)whichwillrecurinvariousguises
throughoutthisstudy;andfinallytosuggestwaysinwhichpsycho-
analyticalthoughtcanilluminatebehaviourbyhistoricalandfictional
subjectsinrelationtocuriosity.
RMG J
,232Ð33,presentedinEnglishin
P&P
,43Ð45.MartinduGardmayhave
primedGideforthisconfessionofMay1921,recommendingtohimsevenmonths
priorthattherebeincorporatedinto
Silegrain
theautobiographerÕsexacttorments
aged12to16,hiscuriosities,andhisnocturnalreveries (
RMGCorr
,158).Michael
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary37
CuriositiesinLife-WritingsofGide
Allwritersarecurioustosomedegree,sincetheirartdependsonre-
cording,processingandexpressingtheirobservations,whetherofthe
worldaroundthem,oftheiremotionallandscapeoroftheirown
imagination.ButGideÕscuriositywasexceptional.Biographicalac-
countsemphasisethetrait;hisfictionispeopledwithcharacterswho
areactivelyand/orpassivelycurious;hisfrequentchangesofgenre
illustrateanappetiteformaximumpossibilities;evenhisapproachto
readingworldliteratureisparticularlycuriousintheactivesense:
ÔDanschaquelittŽraturelapremirequestionˆseposerest:que
cache-t-ondelÕhomme?(Laquestion:quemontre-t-on?arelative-
mentmoinsdÕimportance.)Õ (
,1244).
ThisappetitefordiscoverymadeGideapower-houseformo-
dernism,introducingtoFranceforeignauthors,whoincludedConrad
andNietzsche,
andidentifyingnewvoiceswithinFrance:ÔToujours
ˆlÕaffžtilaccueillaitsuccessivement:JulesRomainsetlesÒunani-
mistesÓ;Alain-Fournier,lÕauteurdu
GrandMeaulnes
;JeanGirau-
doux;HenriFrank,lepotede
LaDansedevantlÕArche
...Õ (
Pierre-
Quint
,44).Forward-looking,optimisticandinventive,GideÕscurios-
itycouldsupplytheblastoffreshairrequiredtodispel
findesicle
stultification,thedecadentdefeatismofbelievingthatallhasalready
beendoneorwritten.
Paludes
(1895),Gideparodiesthedying
See,forexample,JeanDaniel,ÔGideetlamodernitŽdeNietzscheÕ,
LeNouvelOb-
servateur
,no.2025(28August2003),96Ð97;PeterAndrŽBloch,ÔGide,disciplede
Nietzsche,faceaunihilismeeuropŽenÕ,in
AndrŽGideetlaTentationdelaModer-
nitŽ
,ed.byRobertKoppandPeterSchnyder(Paris:Gallimard,2002),130Ð53,130Ð
31;WalterPutnam,
LÕAventurelittŽrairedeJosephConradetdÕAndrŽGide
(Sara-
toga:ANMALibri,1990).GidedidnotintroduceDostoyevskyÕsworktoFrance,but
ratherpopularisedit.
Curiosity,anoptimisticurgetolookforwardanddiscoverthenew,becomesmore
concentratedfollowingperiodsoffearandclosure,bethat
fin-de-sicle
decadence,or
followingwar-time.Cf.MallarmŽÕsdolefulcry:ÔjÕailutousleslivresÕ(MallarmŽ,
PoŽsies
,1899[Paris:Gallimard,
1992]22),avariationonLaBruyreÕscomment:
ÔToutestditetl'onvienttroptardÕ(LaBruyre,ÔDesOuvragesdelÕespritÕ,in
Les
CaractresoulesmÏursdecesicle
,1688,inLesCaractres,ed.byLouisVanDelft
[Paris:Imprimerienationale,1998],133).Inthescreenplayfor
JulesetJim
of1962,
adaptedfromHenri-PierreRochŽÕsnovelof1953,TruffauthasFrenchJimintimateto
hisGermanfriendJulesintheaftermathofWorldWarOne thatsurvivalandvocation
nowresideinbeingcurious:ÔLÕavenirestauxcurieuxdeprofession.LesFranais
sontrestŽstroplongtempsenfermŽsderrireleursfrontires.Voustrouvereztoujours
38AndrŽGideandCuriosity
de-sicle
:thestiflingliterarydogmaisconveyedbytheairless
andthewriter-charactercanmakeouthardlyanythingÔˆcausedu
crŽpusculeÕ (
,263).WhereasinJ.-K.HuysmansÕs
Arebours
(1903),
theimageofthedyingsunsetisfusedwiththatofthedyingcentury
anditsÔderniresbalbuties,[...]derniersspasmes,[...]derniers
ŽclatsÕ,
Gidepreferstodepictnewdawns:ÔJÕaivulecielfrŽmirde
lÕattentedelÕaubeÕ (
LesNourrituresterrestres
,1897,
,358).Unlike
HuysmansÕsmisanthropicheroclosedinsideapalaceoftreasures,
Gide,ÔnullementcollectionneurÕ,
aspiredrathertobe,inthewords
ofhischaracterMŽnalque,theÔaubergeouverteaucarrefour;cequi
voulaitentrer,entraitÕ (
,381).
ThisdistinguishesGideÕscuriosityfromothercuriositytypes
ofhistime.Whereasthepracticeofcollectingcurioswascertainly
commonduringthe
fin-de-sicle
,Gidetendstodirecthiscuriosity
towardsanimateobjectsoutsidethehomeortowardsworksofart.
Therarefied,esotericatmosphereofdecadence,albeithighlyforma-
tive,becameanathematohimfromaround1895.GideÕscuriosityis
optimisedwhenitisshared:thespeakeroftheafterwordofhis
TraitŽduNarcisse
declares:ÔonsouffredÕadmirerseulet[É]on
voudraitquedÕautresadorentÕ
,176),andofGidehimself,Martin
duGardobserves:ÔGideatoujoursenviedepartagerÕ (
RMGNotes
53).ThiscontrastswithBaudelaireÕscuriosity,whichisoneofisola-
tionamongstathrong,asconveyedbytheimageoftheÔbeaumon-
sieurgantŽ,verni,cruellementcravatŽetemprisonnŽdansdeshabits
quelquesjournauxpourpayervosescapadesÕÓÕ(FranoisTruffaut,
JulesetJim
Screenplay,1962[Paris:Seuil,1971],69).DuringVichy,anotherperiodof
literary
decadence,HenriThomaswrotetohisfriendDuval,ÔSinoussommesdansunepŽ-
riodededŽcadence,cÕestpeut-treuneraisonpourrechercherdetoutessesforcesce
quiestpositifÐcequiestanimŽdÕuneŽnergieascendanteÕ (
ChoixdeLettres
,194).In
GideÕs
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
constraint(suffocation, lockedrooms)andcuriosityare
competingthemes;foranexposŽofconstraint,seeMichaelTilby, Ô
LesFaux-Mon-
nayeurs
:aNovelaboutEmbarrassmentÕ,
FrenchStudies
,35,no.1(Jan1981),45Ð59,
55Ð56;forcuriosity,readon.
J.-K.Huysmans,
ARebours
,1903(Paris:Gallimard,1977),322.
PierreMasson,ÔLeLivreet labibliothqueÕ,in
Lecturesd'AndrŽ Gide
,ed.byJean-
YvesDebreuilleandPierreMasson(Lyon:PressesuniversitairesdeLyon,1994),41Ð
43.SeealsoGideÕscommentin
AvecAndrŽGide
:ÔjesuistrspeuattachŽauxob-
jets,jecroisquejelesquitteraisanspeineaucuneÕ (
AvecAndrŽGide
.Dir.Marc
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary39
toutneufsÕ;
byWalterBenjaminÕscharacterisationofBaudelaireas
thesolitary
fl‰neur
inacrowdofpeople:Ôilsefituneenseignedeson
isolementsocial:ildevintfl‰neurÕ;
andbyBaudelaireÕscharacteri-
sationofthepainterConstantinGuysastheuntouchable Ô
prince
qui
jouitpartoutdesonincognitoÕ.
Further,whereasinGideÕsfiction,
therearefewinstancesofovertjealousy,andGidehimselfalways
claimedtobeimmunetojealousy,
inProustÕs
Alarecherchedu
tempsperdu
,jealousyoftenmotivatescuriosity.MarcelÕsÔcuriositŽ
douloureuseÕiselicitedbyAlbertine;
Swannstates:ÔMoi,jenÕai
jamaisŽtŽcurieux,saufquandjÕaiŽtŽamoureuxetquandjÕaiŽtŽja-
louxÕ (
III
,101);andhisspyingonOdetteiscomparedtoanobleand
scientificsearchfortruth.
Financialmatters,andoneÕsstandingin
societyalsoprovidecatalystsforcuriosityin
Alarecherche
:AimŽÕs
unassailablenosinessabouthowmuchtipMarcelisgivingtothe
driverissoforcefulthatMarcelÕsfingersaretranscendentallypried
open,AimŽexperiencesasalivarushandcompleteabsorptioninhis
desiretofindout(
,413);Saniettespiesandthenfixeshisgazeona
letterleftlying,whichmayrevealwhetherornotMarcelhasbeenin-
vitedtoBalbecwhile Saniettehasnot (
,412).Thevoyeuristicview-
pointofthenarratorin Proustdoesindeedbespeakcuriosity,
butitis
unlikevoyeurisminGide,wherebyitstandsonlyasapreludeto
Baudelaire,ÔUnPlaisantÕ,in
PetitsPo‘mes
,27.
WalterBenjamin,ÔNotessurles
Tableauxparisiens
deBaudelaireÕ,in
Ecritsfran-
ais
(Paris:Gallimard,1991),311.ThetranslationisBenjaminÕsown,takenfroma
paperhegaveatthe
DŽcadesdePontigny
inMay,1939.
Baudelaire,
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques
,463.
ForGideonjealousy(butnotinrelationtocuriosity),seeSegal,
P&P
,264Ð65,
280Ð82.
ÔJecrussentirlaprŽsencedeplaisirs,dՐtres,quÕ[Albertine]mÕavaitprŽfŽrŽs.En-
coreunefoisjefusagitŽtoutentierparlacuriositŽdouloureusedesavoircequÕelle
avaitpufaire,parlÕamourlatentquÕonportetoujoursensoi[...]Õ(MarcelProust,
SodomeetGomorrhe
,1922in
Alarecherchedutempsperdu
,4vols[Paris:Galli-
mard,1988],
III
,194).
Proust,
Duc™tŽdechezSwann
,1913in
Alarecherche
,269Ð70.
SeeVolkerRoloff,ÔSurlÕesthŽtiqueduvoyeurdans
LaRecherche
:curiositŽet
spectacledudŽsirÕ,in
Nouvellesdirectionsde larechercheproustienne
,2vols(Paris:
laRevuedes lettresmodernes,2000),
,273Ð93.VoyeurismiscapturedwellinRaoul
RuizÕsfilm,
LeTempsretrouvŽ
(1999), whenMarcelstandsonachairinordertogaze
throughan
Ïil-de-bÏuf
atCharlusinanall-malemassageparlour.
40AndrŽGideandCuriosity
physicalorconversationalcontactwiththecuriousobject;iftouchor
conversationisnotmade,thesubjectsuffersdisappointment.
Gidewouldmakehimselfintoapassiveobjectofcuriosityin
ordertolurepeopletowardshim,andtherebypositionhimselfbetter
asactivecurioussubject.MarcAllŽgretrecollectshowpartofGideÕs
ÔimmensecuriositŽÕwastoÔnouerdesconversations;cequilefaisait
entrerdanstouslesmilieux.Õ
Thesexualdimensionofthesestrate-
giesisintimatedinaletterof30March1894GidewrotetoEugne
Rouart,GideÕslongest-standingconfidantinhomosexualmatters,
whichhedetailshisactivitieswhilewaitingdaysonashiparriving
intoTunis:
JefiledesgensdÕalluressuspects; jemarcheunedemi-heureaprseuxpour
lesvoirdispara”tredansuneimpasse;jÕadressedessourirespourquÕon
mÕadressedesparoles;jepasseetrepassesixfoisdevanttelsendroitspour
quÕaprslÕonmereconnaisse,etpourreconna”trelesgenslorsquÕaprsje
lesrencontraailleurs[...]Danscetennui jemÕirrite,jemedŽpravehorrible-
ment.
GideÕsattemptsatdrawingotherstohimweremosteffectiveandun-
savourywithchildren.GidewasclearlyawareofCharlesDudley
WarnerÕsinsights:
Iknowthegeneralimpressionisthatchildrenmustbegovernedthrough
theirstomachs.I think theycanbecontrolledquiteaswell through theircu-
riosity;thatbeingthemorecravingandimperiousofthetwo.Ihaveseen
childrenfollowaboutapersonwhotoldthemstoriesandinterestedthem
ÔUnTŽmoignagedeMarcAllŽgretÕ,25.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary41
pontdÕunbateau,sÕilavaitdŽcouvertunepersonnedontilsouhaitaitfairela
connaissance,ilsortait,desvastespochesdesavesteoudesrecoinsdesa
RobertLevesque,ÔEnGrceavecGide:LeJournalinŽditdeRobertLevesqueÕ,
,19,no.90Ð91(April1991),305Ð336,324.SeealsotheimagesofGideen-
gagingthefascinationofhisgrandchildrenwithamatchtrickin
AvecAndrŽGide
(1.05.30Ð1.08.43).
42AndrŽGideandCuriosity
movementÓÕ (
P&P
,228).
GideÕsskillsinseducingchildrenwithhis
gamesparallelhisskillinseducinghisreadersthroughplay.
WhereasthecuriosityoftheBaudelairian
fl‰neur
iscooland
collected,GideÕscuriositydidthreatenonoccasiontoexerciseanim-
periousforce,terrorisinghimanddivestinghimofself-control.Adi-
aryentryfrom1907reads:
UnesortedevertigedŽconcertaenuninstantmavolontŽ,dontaussit™tles
freinsserel‰chrent:mevoicilivrŽˆtouteslesimpulsionssansaveudela
curiositŽ,delavanitŽÉˆ touscesmenusressortssansnomquelÕonmain-
GideÕsself-assurednesswhencruisingsuggeststhathealsotendedtomaintainthe
monopolyonskillinthisactivity(Lambert,111,113,115,120&154).
ThisisaptlyillustratedinWilliamJenningsÕsfascinatingstudy,ÔThePhysical
MazeandtheSpiritualLabyrinthofGideÕs
LesCavesduVatican
Nottingham
FrenchStudies
,46,no.1(Spring2007),47Ð54.
ThisisakintoLafcadioÕshelplessnessin
LesCavesduVatican
:ÔlacuriositŽdŽjˆ
lÕemportait,cettecuriositŽpassionnŽecontrequoirien,mmesasŽcuritŽpersonnelle,
nÕavaitpujamaisprŽvaloir.IlsÕassitÕ (
,1161).Gidedescribeshimselfashaving
beenÔcommeunpossŽdŽÕwhenhewasclose toschool-boysinAlgeria,andwhenhe
wasaroundpeasantchildreninCuverville(Schlumberger,
MAG
,187Ð88;seealso
Lambert,15).
ThreeadjoiningapartmentsattherueVaneauconstitutedthebohemianset-upthat
wasGideÕsParisbasefrom1928untilhisdeath;helivedtherealongsideMariaVan
Rysselberghe,herdaughterElizabeth,andGideandElizabethÕsdaughterCatherine;
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary43
coupdesonnetteÉÕ.
FromthePetiteDameÕsobservation,itcould
beinferredthatthisoverpoweringcuriosityrequiresasexualcontext,
butthecontextofthe1907diaryexcerptisdefinitelynon-sexual,and
the1932exampleisnon-specific.
UnlikethefictionalMŽnalque,championof
disponibilitŽ
and
epitomeoftheperfectlycuriousperson,GidedidnotpossessÔ[une]
curiositŽ[...]sansbornesÕ (
,648).[...]Althoughgenerallysolicitous
ofcuriosity,Gidealsorequiredawayofcontrollingitwhenitthreat-
enedtowreakhavocinhisbeing.Tothiseffect, Pierre-Quintwritesof
GideÕsneedforÔunsecoursvenudÕailleursÕtoreleasehimfromhis
trancesofcuriosity (
Pierre-Quint
,27Ð28).Thisoutsidehelpcouldbe
intheformof a personfromGideÕssupportnetwork.
GideÕsmotherandlaterMadeleine,GideÕsfirstcousinwhom
hemarriedathismotherÕsbehestshortlyafterherdeath,werethe
primaryfiguresexpectedtoprovidethisÔsecoursvenudÕailleursÕ.But
Gidealsorelieduponothersinhisentouragetoadopttherole:Martin
duGardrecordshavingsometimesfeltinGideÕscompany,Ôcommesi
jÕavaiseulagardedÕunenfantsurlepointdecommettrelespiresim-
prudences;oudÕunmaladeenpleinaccsdefivrechaudeÕ,noting
thatMadeleineÕssenseofÔbrefmalaiseÕaroundGideÔressembleau
mienÕ.
Similarly,thePetiteDameandMarcAllŽgretbothcautioned
GideÕspotentiallytransgressivecuriosityatvariouspoints (
CPD
151;14),andwhen,ononeoccasion,ElisabethvanRysselberghe,de-
liberatelydidnotcurbanexperimentofcuriositybyGide,herinaction
lefthimbewilderedandtroubled:ÔGide,unpeu affolŽdesproportions
quecelaprend,setourneˆladŽrobŽeversElisabeth,sedemandant
pourquoiellenÕintervientpasÕ (
CPD
,224Ð25).Asimilarsenseof
bewildermentanddisconcertionwasexperiencedbyGidewhenhis
pursuitofagroupofchildrenwentwrongandtheychasedhimwith
stones(Lambert,104).
Thisintervening,responsible,andknowingfigureadoptsasit
weretheroleofamotherorprimarycaregivertowardsthechild-like
Gide.In
TheChild,theFamilyandtheOutsideWorld
,Donald Winni-
cottdemonstrateshowinhisclinicalpractice,thepresenceofa
Gide,
Journal1926Ð1950
,ed.MartineSagaert(Paris:Gallimard,1997),340;
henceforth
.SeealsoLambert,43.
RogerMartinduGard,
NotessurAndrŽGide,1913Ð1951
(Paris:Gallimard,1951),
59Ð60.Thistextappearshenceforthas
RMGNotes
44AndrŽGideandCuriosity
motherintheroomridsthechildofangst,leavingitfreetoexplore
strangeobjectsthedoctorholdsouttoit,whichnormallyitwouldnot
daretouch.
Themotherletsthechildknowthatitisacceptableto
touchthe attractiveobject(inthisinstance, a spoon).The childisreas-
suredbythefamiliarityofitsmotherasitmakesthisacquaintance
withthestrange;andalsobyitsbeliefthatitsmotherwillpreventit
fromdoinganythingdangerous.Themotherthusfunctionsasacata-
lysttothecuriouspursuit, and as a potentialemergencystop. Wehave
justseenhowGideexpectedexternalfigurestocurbhiscuriosity;fur-
therelementsofthisframeworkmay alsobe appliedtoGide.
Winnicottidentifiesinthechildconfrontedbynewsurround-
ingsacuriosity-impedingÔangstÕ,whichthepresenceofthemother
candiffuseinordertofacilitatecuriosity.Analogousscenarioscanbe
foundinGideÕsexperience.WinnicottÕsobservationoftheinfantÕs
non-responsivenessinanunfamiliarenvironmentconcordswithGide
commentsonhowtotalnoveltyelicitsincomprehension,notcuriosity:
ÔtropdenouveautŽnousŽtonne;nousnesavonsgožterenautruique
cequenouspouvonsreconna”tre[...];lereste,nousnelÕente
ndons
mmepasÕ (
,477).ArrivinginAlgiersin1895,Gidewasclosedto
theimpressionsofthecity:ÔJÕŽtaissot;ilfautenvoyage
oubliertous
sessouvenirs
sefaireneuf
ˆchaquechosenouvelleÕ;
inCairoin
1939heatfirstfeltunabletoengagewiththeEgyptianpeople:Ôla
population[...]meresteassezpŽniblementŽtrangreÕ (
,646).
theseexamples,GidewasnotlikeMŽnalquelookingtodiscoverthe
new,butmorelikeMichelonhisreturntoAfrica,hopelesslysearch-
ingtore-findtheold.Indeed,CatharineSavageBrosmansignalsthat
ingeneralGidewasÔhabitŽparlepassŽbeaucoupplusquÕonneledit.
LÕimagequÕiloffredÕunesortedeMŽnalque,mieuxdit,dÕunThŽsŽe,
tournantledosaupassŽ,bržlantlesponts,prenantsonŽlandÕunema-
D.W.Winnicott,
TheChild,theFamilyandtheOutsideWorld
,1964(Harmonds-
worth:Penguin,1991),75Ð79.SeealsoHans-GeorgVossandHeidiKeller,
Curiosity
andExploration:TheoriesandResults
,1976,Englishedn(NewYork:Academic
Press,1983),58.
Myitalics
Correspondanceavecsamre1880Ð1895
,ed.byClaudeMartinand
HenriThomas(Paris:Gallimard,1988),589;henceforth
CorrGideÐmre
,646.Seealso
,791;and
,779.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary45
nirequasiexistentialisteverslÕavenir,nÕestvraiequÕˆmoitiŽ.Õ
Brosman continues:
ÔJetermonlivreÕestpeut-trepossible,maisjeterlaBiblenelÕŽtaitpas;
vendreLaRoque-Baignard,entendu,maisongardeCuvervillepar
lÕintermŽdiairedeMadeleine;ha•rlesfamilles,trsbien,maisonfondeen
margedelÕunion lŽgitimeunefamilleunpeusurlemodledeBloomsbury;
sedŽbarrasserdesafemme,cÕestMicheldans
LÕImmoraliste
quilÕafait
pourGide...Chezlui,donc,lare-prŽsentationestunetentationpuissante:
rŽcrire
untexte,
remettre
enscneunŽpisodeÐdansunŽclairagediffŽrent
Ðse
relire
revivre
unactedanslejournal,
rechercher
unplaisirpassŽ,
re-
voir
unsite,unpays,sÕengagerdenouveauvis-ˆ-visdeMadeleine[...].
TandisqueFreudprŽtendquelÕobsessiondelarŽpŽtitionexprimeledŽsir
de lamort,chezGidecÕestsouventlecontraire:sionnepeutsedŽbarrasser
dupassŽ,onpeut le
revivre
CatharineSavageBrosman,ÔLÕEvasionanglaiseÕ,in
LeDŽsirˆl'Ïuvre,AndrŽ
GideˆCambridge1918,1998
,ed.byNaomiSegal(Amsterdam:Rodopi,2000),43Ð
58,56Ð57.Futurereferences tothiscollectionofarticleswillbe to
DŽsir
46AndrŽGideandCuriosity
drenuntilsheintroducesoneintotheirhome;hereachesthepointat
whichheismost
tocuriosityduringhisconvalescence,
whichisinpartduetohercareofhim;hiscuriositytowardstravel,
theland,andhisstudyhaltwithMarcelineÕsdeath.InGideÕslife,by
contrast,whenMadeleinediedin1938,Gide attemptedtorecreateher
presencebywriting
SeeNaomiSegal,ÔGideinEgypt1939Õ,in
CulturalEncounters:EuropeanTravel-
Writinginthe
1930s
,ed.byCharlesBurdettandDerekDuncan(Oxford:Berghahn,
2002),143Ð58,149Ð50.
Gidewrote toScheffer thathecouldnotconceiveofMichelbeingawriter(ÔLetter
toSchefferÕ,
,616).
Forexample,in theActeon myth,Acteon looksonatDiana,thepassiveobject,but
whenshespieshim,hebecomesthepreyofherhuntingdogsandisrippedtoshreds.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary47
maximisepossibility;veeringofffromtheend-pointbybeingcurious
towardsmanyobjectsinsuccessionandbeingincurioustowards
women.Ishallnowtreateachoftheseissuesinturn.
Curiosityrequiresspatial,emotionalortemporaldistancebe-
tweensubjectandobject.Inordertodesiretoknowtheobject,the
subjectmustbeabletoviewtheobjectasother,evenifthatobjectis
theself.Gidenotes:ÔPourbienjugerdequelquechoseilfautsÕen
Žloignerunpeu,aprslÕavoiraimŽ.Celaestvraidespays,destres
,141.Seealso
RMGNotes
,37.
48AndrŽGideandCuriosity
sedaspectofGideÕsgaze:GidehadÔlÕÏilfiŽvreuxetfureteurÕ;Ôle
regardglissesansfranchiseentrelespaupires,avecdebrefsŽclats
fuyantsÕ (
NRFH
,188).Inthe
CarnetsdÕEgypte
,Gidewrites:ÔJÕaica-
ressŽduregarddix,douze,vingtvisagescharmantsÕ (
,648),and
thisaccordswithGoetheÕsversefromthefifthÔRomanElegyÕ:ÔSehe
mitfŸhlendemAugÕ.
Whereasvoyeurismpresupposesdistancebe-
tweenthelookingsubjectandthelooked-atobject,GideÕsformof
curiosityultimatelysoughtcontact.Thiseffectivelyallowedhimto
scrutinisehisownimpactontheobjectofhiscuriosity.Martindu
GardnoteswhenGidelaughed,alongsidethefacialjerksandsaliva
rush,ÔdanslafentedespaupiresbridŽes,leregardrieur, ˆpeinevisi-
ble,sefixesurlÕinterlocuteuravecuneexpressiondecuriositŽetde
jubilationintensesÕ (
RMGNotes
,77).
Gidefacilitatedcuriositybydislocatinghimselfemotionally
fromexperience:ÔDepuisquejemesuisdŽtachŽdemoi-mme,joie
outristessenÕontplusenmoidecausequephysiologiqueÕ (
,1248).
Thisisillustratedbyhisrecollectionofwitnessingacoachmanfall
fromhisseatwhenhewastravellinginBrittany agedeighteen:ÔJene
ressentaispaslamoindreŽmotion;simplementjÕŽtaisextraordinaire-
mentintŽressŽ(amusŽseraitplusexact)Õ (
,1270).Hehadasimilar
reactiontoanincidentinVenicein1914whenagondoliertookhim
to anisolatedpartofthecanaltorobhim:ÔjÕŽtais comme auspectacle,
amusŽ,simplementamusŽÕ (
,1270).Thisisarguablyacommon
humanreactiontostressfulevents,yetGideviewsit as a characteristic
thatmarkshimout,openingtheaboveobservationsthus:ÔCefutune
sortedebrusquerŽvŽlationsurmoi-mmeÕ (
,1270),avariationon
theÔcurieuserŽvŽlationsurmoi-mmeÕexperiencedbyMichelof
LÕImmoraliste
whenhewitnessesMoktirstealingMarcelineÕsscissors
,618).Heviewedasexceptionalhiscapacitytoneverbeentirely
absorbedinhislivedexperiencesbut alwaystobeobserving.
Gideavoidspreconceivedend-pointswhichlimitthepossi-
bilitiesofdiscovery
enroute
totheunknown.MartinduGardcom-
mentsthatGidehadÔlÕoriginalitŽdelÕitinŽraireÕ,notÔlÕoriginalitŽdu
butÕ (
RMGNotes
,120);Gidewrotein1929:ÔNonsÕefforcerversle
ÔSeewithafeelingeyeÕ (
mytranslation
;Goethe,
SŠmtlicheWerke
,ed.byFried-
marApelandothers[Frankfurta.M.: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag,1985Ð],
Gedichte
ed.byKarlEibl[1987],405).
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary49
plaisirmaistrouversonplaisirdanslÕeffortmme,cÕestlesecretde
monbonheurÕ (
,105);
andin1924:
Certainssedirigentversunbut.DÕautresvontdevanteux,simplement.
Pourmoi,jenesaisojevais;maisjÕavance.
Jenesuispeut-trequÕunaventurier. (
,1259)
OfGideÕswalksinthecountryside,thePetiteDamenotesthatwhen
heisnotstridingatspeed,Ôilfl‰ne,regardantˆterre,soulevantles
grossespierres,fouillantlÕherbe,danslÕespoirdÕydŽcouvrirunscor-
pion,unecouleuvreÕ (
CPD
,71).LambertobservedGideÕsbehaviour
in a hotelonMountEtna:
Nousavionslechoixentre toutes lestables;peusÕenfallutqueGide leses-
say‰tlÕuneaprslÕautre,transportantavecluisonVirgileetsesdeuxman-
teaux.JÕairarementaussibienobservŽcette incapacitŽdechoisirquilÕafait
para”tresihŽsitant toutesavie.Elle impliquaituneconsciencenettede tou-
teslespossibilitŽsoffertes,maisaussidetoussespropresbesoins;elle
nÕŽtaitautrequelÕincapacitŽderŽaliserleurco•ncidence.MaiselleŽtait
aussiuneformedesacuriositŽ,dans lamesureocelle-cinesupportaitpas
quÕonlalimite:carchoisir,cÕestrenoncerˆconna”trecequÕonnechoisit
SeealsoGideÕsviewthat:ÔÒ[Gouchtenaer]vatropfacilementjusquÕauboutdesa
pensŽe,quilÕŽpatetoutdesuite;celanÕestintŽressantquequandonsÕydŽchire,ˆ
50AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ery,butthatjoyappliedtotheprocessoftakinginthenewimpres-
sions(theclimaxofcuriosity);bycontrast,oncehehadassimilated
themÐandthiscouldhappenalmostsimultaneouslyÐdisappointment
wouldsetin,becauseherecognisedthathecouldneverrecreatethe
thrilljustexperienced.ForGide,aknownobjecthadnoattraction.
BaudelaireexpressesthisdisappointmentinÔLervedÕuncurieuxÕ:
ÔEhquoi!nÕest-cedoncquecela?/LatoileŽtaitlevŽeetjÕattendais
encoreÕ.
Thespeakerof
LesNourrituresterrestres
, animatedbyÔce
dŽsirexaspŽrŽdenouveautŽÕ,iseverconsciousofthemenaceofdis-
appointment:Ôilnemesemblaitpointeffleurer,dŽfloreraucune chose;
maismasubitesensationŽtaitdupremiercoupsiintensequÕellene
sÕaugmentaitensuiteparaucunerŽpŽtitionÕ (
,417).Thisresonates
withGide,ofwhomHerbartobserves:ÔFaitcurieux:ilŽtaitextrme-
mentrarequeGidenefžtpasdŽuparunesecondelecture,unenou-
vellevisitedansunmusŽeÕ(Herbart,62); Schlumbergercommentson
GideÕstotallackofinterestinatextoncehehaswrittenit (
,92);
andGiderecordsthefollowinginhis autobiographicalwriting:
Non,cÕestchoseinutile.OnpeutrevoirvingtfoislemmelieuÐjamais
plusavecnouveautŽ.Onregardeplus;onvoitmoins.Oncomprendmieux
peut-tre...maislÕŽtonnementravissantnÕyestplus. (
,384)
ToutlÕeffortdelÕespritneparvientpasˆrecrŽercetteŽmotiondelasurprise
quiajouteaucharmedelÕobjetuneŽtrangetŽravissante.LabeautŽdu
mondeextŽrieurrestelamme,maislavirginitŽduregardsÕestperdue.
VoyageauCongo
,389)
(NotehowGidereversesherethecommonmotifofthevirginityof
theobject,asinthemythofActeonandDiana,intothevirginityof
thegaze.)Thedisappointmentoflostcuriosityistobeavoided.Her-
bartsuggeststhatGideÕseveryactionwasguidedbyÔlapeurdedŽ-
cevoiretdՐtredŽu,lapeurdՐtreledŽu-dŽcevantÕ(Herbart,26).
Anxioustoobviatethedreadedend-pointofcuriosity,therefore,Gide
wouldforcehimselfÔdefileravantlacatastrophe[...]Etpeuˆpeuses
rapports aveclestresprendrontcecaractreinachevŽ, chaotique,fur-
tif,quiadžŽtonnertantdegens.[
...]IlquitteralecinŽma,lasallede
thŽ‰tre,ilrejetteralelivre,dsquÕilsouponneladŽceptionpossibleÕ
(Herbart,31).MartinduGardreportsGidehavingsaid:
Baudelaire,
LesFleursduMal
(Paris:Garnier,1961),154.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary51
Ilyaunmoment,lorsquÕonatendudetoutessesforcesversunbutdiffi-
cile,etquelÕonestsurlepointdelÕatteindreˆtraversmillecomplications
dontonatriomphŽ,Ðilyaunmoment,toujours,lorsquÕonalesentiment
que lapartieestgagnŽe, lorsquelapositiondespionssurlÕŽchiquierrend la
rŽussite,quoiquÕonfasse,absolumentfatale,Ðalors,toujours,ilyaun
momentotouteslesforcesraidiesserel‰chent,otoutelÕŽnergiesombre
andpersonalthathecannotkeeplongtothepathsofothermen,nor
indeedtohisown.HeisalwaysveeringÕ.
Partofthisveeringstrat-
egycomprisesexercisingcuriositytowardsmanyobjectsinsucces-
sion,asnotedbyHenriMassis:Ô[Gide]nefaitdecetinstantpathŽ-
tiquesesdŽlicesqueparcequÕil attendlasecondevictoire, alorsquela
premireluisemblebanaleÕ.
Thus,Gide couldsimplyaverthisgaze
fromthecuriousprocessinhandthatwasthreateningtoreachanend,
targetinginsteadanewobjectofcuriosity,asoccursattheendof
Les
Faux-Monnayeurs
,forexample,whenEdouardshiftshissightsfrom
OliviertoCaloub.Afurthertechnique,asidentifiedbyScottMan-
ning,istheconstantpostponingofthedisclosureoftheopensecretof
homosexuality,asin
LÕImmoraliste
and
LaPorteŽtroite
GideÕs
veeringtranslatesintoadislikeofpossession:ÔJÕaitoujoursprŽfŽrŽle
boutonpleindepromesseˆlÕŽpanouissementdelafleur,ledŽsirˆla
possessionÕ (
Printemps
,888Ð89).
Sartrefeminisestheobjectof
curiositywhenhedescribesitsdiscovery asadeflowering:
Noted inSchlumberger,
MAG
,189Ð90.
E.M.Forster,ÔKillYourEagle!Õ,1919,in
ThePrinceÕsTaleandOtherUncol-
lectedWritings
,ed.byN.Furbank(London:AndreDeutsch,1998),22.
HenriMassis,ÔLÕInfluencedeM.AndrŽGideÕ,
Revueuniverselle
,15November
1921,http://hri.shef.ac.uk/gide/works/GideDetail1.17.1.htmh2;t-1;�t-1;�p1:;B/-;/-;h2;r18;&#xi-10;&#x.14s;&#x-5he;༘.;ᒬ$.-;u1;&#xk27/;&#x-10g;'i-;პ$/-;w1;o27;&#xr-8k;&#xs22/;&#x-10G;i-;გ绑㸤&#xt-10;ਤi;&#x-10l;&#x-101;'.-;ሒw.-;ሒ.-1;h27;&#xt-10;&#xm160;[20October2008],
paragraph18.
ScottManning,ÔRevelationandDissimulationinAndrŽGideÕsAutobiographical
SpaceÕ;
TheFrenchReview
,78,no.2(December2004),318Ð27,325-26.
Cf.ÔLucsouhaitaitlÕamourmaissÕeffrayaitdelapossessioncharnellecomme
dÕunechosemeurtrieÕ (
LaTentativeamoureuse
,244).JacquesRivirecontends
52AndrŽGideandCuriosity
DanslÕidŽemmededŽcouverte,derŽvŽlation,uneidŽedejouissanceap-
propriativeestincluse.Lavueest jouissance,voircÕest
dŽflorer
.[...]Onar-
rachelesvoilesdelanature,onladŽvoile[...];touterecherchecomprend
toujourslÕidŽedÕunenuditŽquÕonmetˆlÕairenŽcartantlesobstaclesquila
couvrent,commeActŽonŽcartelesbranchespourmieuxvoirDianeau
bain.
Flaubert,in
VoyageenEgypte
,alsoindicatesmalesexualpossession
ofwomen astheconventionalend-pointofcuriosity:
CarjÕaicettemaniedeb‰tirdesuitedeslivressurlesfiguresquejeren-
contre.UneinvinciblecuriositŽmefaitmedemandermalgrŽmoiquelle
peuttrelaviedupassantquejecroise.JevoudraissavoirsonmŽtier,son
pays,sonnom,cequilÕoccupeˆcetteheure,cequÕilregrette,cequÕiles-
pre,amoursoubliŽes,rvesdÕˆprŽsentÐtoutÐjusquÕˆlaborduredeses
giletsdeflanelleetlaminequÕilaquand ilsepurgeÐetsicÕestunefemme
(dÕ‰gemoyensurtout)alorsladŽmangeaisondevientcuisante.Commeon
voudrait toutdesuitelavoirnue,avouez-le,ÐetnuejusquÕaucÏur.
ThisisanotherformofpossessionfromwhichGideveers,literally
andmetaphorically.WhereasthewomenaroundGidefulfilledtheir
rolesasfacilitatorsofhiscuriosity,Gidewastrenchantlyincurious
towardswomeningeneralandtowardssexcontainingafeminine
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary53
element(heterosexual,penetrativehomosexual,lesbian).
Byignor-
ingthefemalebody,theconventionalsiteofÔpossessionÕandend-
pointofcuriosity,Gidesustainedthetrajectoryofcuriosity.Diderot
hadhisdaughterpartakeinÔunpetitcoursdÕanatomieÕ,andreports:
ÔCÕestainsiquejÕaicoupŽracineˆlacuriositŽdansmafille.Quand
elle a toutsu,ellenÕaplusrien cherchŽ ˆ savoir. SonimaginationsÕest
assoupieetsesmÏursnÕensontrestŽesquepluspuresÕ.
Theroots
ofGideÕscuriosity,bycontrast,werenevercut.
Gideenjoyedthenovelty,
disponibilitŽ
,magnetism,andpas-
sive-activedynamicofcuriosity.Herecognisedtheprecariousnessof
theperfectlycuriousstateanddidhisutmosttomaintainit,bethatby
havingitsmoreterrifyingaspectscurbedbythepresenceofasome-
onetrustedtointervene,orbykeepingupitsmomentumthrougha
numberoftechniques,suchasfollowingupvoyeurismwithtouch,
maintainingcuriosityduringandbeyondthepointofcontact,remov-
inghimselfemotionallyfromexperiences,veering awayfromdefinite
end-points, andrenegingoncuriositytowardswomen.
CuriositiesintheFiction:
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
LeCurieuxmalavisŽ
is a playGideplannedbutneverwrote.Hemen-
tionsitin1905 (
,478)andagaininJune1921,whenhedescribesit
asÔunvieuxprojetauqueljemesuisremisˆpenseretquiprendbrus-
quementcorps;admirablesujet,trouvŽdansCervantsÕ(
CPD
,81Ð
82).Atthispointheconsidersitaworkhemustcompletebeforebe-
ginningwritingon
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,534).Theplay
wastobeinthreeactsandbasedonthenovellacomprisingchapters
33Ð35ofPart1of
DonQuijote
LeCurieuximpertinent
,whichitself
isareworkingof Song43of
Rolandfurieux
InCervantsÕversion,
AnselmorequeststhathisclosefriendLotariorelievehimofhis
strangeandextravagantdesiretodiscovertheextentofhiswifeÕsvir-
tuebytemptingherintoanadulterousliaison.Theoutcomeofthis
ÔimprudenteÕandÔimpertinenteÕ
curiositŽ
isthatAnselmodies
ÔIncuriositŽ(pasattirŽparlÕautresexe)Õ(Unpublishednotesfor
Si legrain
,quoted
byPierreMasson,
,1107).Seealso
,116,195;
,339;and
infra
DenisDiderot,
MŽmoirespourCatherineII
,1774(Paris:Garnier,1966)86.Iam
gratefultoAngelicaGooddenforsourcing thisquotation.
MigueldeCervants,
ÒDonQuichotteÓprŽcŽdŽdeÒLaGalatŽeÓ
,ed.byJean
Canavaggio,ClaudeAllaigreandMichelMoner(Paris:Gallimard,2001),687Ð732.
54AndrŽGideandCuriosity
strickenbyadoublebetrayal,Lotarioperishesinbattle,andCamilais
condemnedtoaconvent(724,732).AccordingtoJeanClaude,the19
loose-leafsheetspertainingtoGideÕs
LeCurieuxmalavisŽ
intheAr-
chivesCatherineGideindicatethatGideintendedtoÔintroduireun
personnage,ÒfourbeÓ,ouÒperfideÓ[...]quinÕexistepasdansCervan-
tsetquiauraitŽtŽlemeneurdejeuÕ.
Thispotentialcharacterreso-
JeanClaude,
AndrŽGideetle thŽ‰tre
,2vols(Paris:Gallimard,1992)
,102,n.
Claude-EdmondeMagny,
Histoireduromanfranaisdepuis1918
(Paris:Seuil,
1950),227,228.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary55
laireÕssecondÔSpleenÕpoem,
thatis,itoccupiestherealmofadult
sexuality.BernardinvestigateshismotherÕspastsex-lifebypenetrat-
ingasealed-offspace,agesturewhichinitselfissymbolicofpene-
tratingthemotherÕsbody:Mulveyobserves,inthecontextofPandora
topos,thatÔtheboxeasilyallowsametaphoricrelationshiptocome
intoexistencebetweentheboxandthefemalegenitals,providinga
substitute,suggestedbyshapeandimaginativesimilarityÕ.
Inhis
analysisofÒLittleHansÓ(1909),Freudwrites:Ôthirstforknowledge
seemstobeinseparablefromsexualcuriosity.HansÕscuriositywas
particularlydirectedtowardshisparents.Õ
Infantilesexualcuriosity,
Freudbelieves,isthebasisforallcuriosity,whetherthroughtransfer-
encetonon-sexualobjects(forthedevelopingchild)orsublimation
(forthedeveloped,sexuallyenlightenedadult).
ThechildÕscurios-
ityseekstofathomÔthefertilizingroleofsemenandtheexistenceof
thefemalesexualorificeÐthesameelements,incidentally,inwhich
theinfantileorganizationisitselfundevelopedÕ.
BernardÕsdiscoverythatProfitendieuisnothisfatherillus-
tratestheliberatingforceofcuriosity.InFreudÕsÔfamilyromanceÕ,
thechildfantasisesthatitisbornofparentsofhighersocialstanding,
trustingthatitsmotherisitsnaturalparent,whilesuspectingthatits
fatherisnot.Thisfantasyallowsthechildtoabandonthelaw,asrep-
resentedbythefather,andgivefreereintoitsdesiresandcuriosities,
asillustratedbyBernard:ÔNepassavoirquiestsonpre,cÕestaqui
guŽritdelapeurdeluiressembler.[É]Neretenonsdececiquela
dŽlivranceÕ (
,175).EdouardislatertodeclarethatthefutureÔap-
partientauxb‰tardsÕ (
,258),andtodescribethefamilyasanintel-
Baudelaire,ÔSpleenÕ,in
LesFleursduMal
,79.
Mulvey,
FetishismandCuriosity
,57.
Freud,ÔAnalysisofaPhobiainaFive-Year-OldBoy(ÒLittleHansÓ)Õ,
173.Freudobserves thatHansÕssexualcuriositypermittedhimtodistinguishbetween
theanimateandthe inanimate,and thereforeÔalsorousedthespiritofenquiryinhim
andenabledhim toarriveatgenuineabstractknowledgeÕ(265).
Anexampleofthechildtransferringitscuriosityfromasexualontoanon-sexual
objectoccurswhenÔLittleHansÕasksquestionsthatÔaremostlyconcernedwithwhat
thingsaremadeof(trams,machines,etc.),whomakesthings,etcÕ (
PFL
VIII
,258),but
infactheisÔcudgellinghisbrainstodiscoverwhatafatherhastodowithhischild,
sinceitis themotherwhobringsit into theworldÕ(259).Foradescriptionof thesub-
limationof infantilesexualresearches,see
,170.
ÔThreeEssayson theTheoryofSexualityÕ,1915,
VII
,115.
Freud,ÔFamilyRomancesÕ,1909 in
VII
,217Ð26.
56AndrŽGideandCuriosity
lectualgaolthatpushesthechildtorevolt.Liberatedfromthisgaol
andfromsocietyÕslaws,BernardstealsEdouardÕsbriefcaseand
money.Curiosityallowshimtoescapethelabelsoflock-pickerand
thiefsince,whereasathiefiscovetous,graspingandneedy,acurious
personseekstheÔhigherpleasureÕofknowledge:ÔToutdemme,je
nÕaipasprŽcisŽmentforcŽletiroirÕ (
,215Ð16);ÔÒFairecomprendre
ˆEdouardquejenesuispasunvoleurÓ,sedisait-il,Òvoilˆlehic.[...]
Maiscequiprouvequejenesuispasunvoleur,cÕestquelespapiers
quevoicivontmÕoccuperbiendavantageÓÕ (
,234).
Bernarddoes
notnormallyneedtostealÐthisbourgeoisboyartificiallycreateshis
hunger,thirst, andpovertybyleavingthefamilyhome.Heclaimsthat
hisinterestinthecontentsofEdouardÕscaseispurelyintellectual;
EdouardÕsclotheshetakesnotoutofnecessity,butforhisconven-
ience.Curiositydemandsappetiteratherthanhunger:
astarving
personwillnotinvestigatetheflavoursandtexturesofparticular
foods,buteatthefirstediblethings/hefinds.Apersonfreeofwantis
alsofreetobecurious.
InaccordancewiththeWinnicottiannotion
oftheprimarycare-giverprovidingasecuresettinginwhichthein-
fantcanexplore,BernardÕsfamilyisneverfaraway.AlthoughBer-
nardstill appearsvulnerabletotheoverwhelmingforceofcuriosityon
occasion,hisfirstactionsbeingdrivenbyademonofcuriosity,sym-
bolofÔcetteÒfatalecuriositŽÓÕ (
,233,216),thesedescriptionsmay
benomorethatrhetoricalflourishesfromtheboywhoisconstructing
anadventureforhimself:Bernardisthemostself-possessedofallthe
Thisbrings thelegitimacyofcuriosity intodoubt,since inthis instance theactions
ofthecuriouspersonmatchthoseofthethief.RomainRollanddemonstratesthe
proximityofcurioussubjecttolock-pickerwhenhewrites:ÔLÕinsatiablecuriositŽdu
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary57
characters.Bycontrast,Vincent,futurebiologicalfathertoLauraÕs
illegitimatechild,whohastakenhimselffarofffromhisfamilyto
ÔdarkestAfricaÕ,doesbecomedangerouslyoverwhelmedbycuriosity.
IntermsredolentoftheanarchicstateinwhichGidefoundhimself
whencuriosityhadhiminitsclutches (
,43),thenarratorwrites
ofhim:ÔlՐtrequisecroitlepluslibre,nÕestplusquÕuninstrumentˆ
sonservice.LedŽmonnÕauradoncdecesseÕ (
,280).Incuriosity,
theobverseofbeingliberatedfromsocialconfinesistobeatthemer-
cyofthedemon.
ThedescriptionofBernardputtingthingsbackinordershows
theproperexercisingofcuriositytobe complex anddemanding:
Ilremitlaliassedanslecoffretetlecoffretdansletiroirdelaconsole.Le
tiroirnÕŽtaitpasouvert;ilavaitlivrŽsonsecretparenhaut.Bernardrassu-
jettitleslamesdisjointesduplafonddebois,quedevaitrecouvrirunelourde
IdetaillaterhowinKleinianpsychoanalysis,theinfantconceivesitscuriosityas
phantasmaticsadismtowardsthemotherÕsbody;andhowinadulthood,artisticcrea-
tionservestomakereparationtowardsthemotherimagoforinfantilesadism.Curio-
sitycausesphantasmaticharm,whilecreativityputsitright.
58AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Si,aprscela,lepetitnesonnepasˆlÕheure,cÕestˆyperdresonlatin.
(327)
TheclockwhichBernardrepairedproperlyrecursheremetaphori-
cally.Edouardcontinues:
SophroniskavarŽpŽtantquelepetitBorisestguŽri;cettecuredoitcorrobo-
rersamŽthode;maisjecrainsquÕellenÕanticipeunpeu.Naturellementjene
Thenarratorcomments:Ô[Passavant]nÕeutdoncpastropdemalˆsepersuaderque
prŽcisŽment il enavaitassezdÕOlivier;quÕencesdeuxmoisdÕŽtŽ, il avaitŽpuisŽ tout
lÕattraitdÕuneaventurequirisquaitdÕencombrersavie;quÕaudemeurantilsÕŽtait
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary59
IlsÕestliŽavecuncamaradedeclasse[...]quilÕa initiŽˆdespratiquesclan-
destines,quecesenfants,na•vementŽmerveillŽs,croyaienttreÔdelama-
gieÕ.[...]IlscroyaientdebonnefoiavoirdŽcouvertunsecretquiconsol‰tde
KleinwritesofcommonlyencounteringthemalechildÕsbeliefinthemagical
powersofthepenis,masturbation,erectionandejaculation(Klein,
Writings
,243).
ÔJemÕacharneˆmonromanparisien,quinevientpasdu tout.[...].Jenebandepas
etjememasturbeenvainmapauvrecervelleÕ(Flaubert,ÔLettertoJulesDuplanof
March1863Õ,in
Îuvrescompltes
,16vols[Paris:ClubdelÕhonntehomme,1974Ð
76],XIV,156).Tissotwrites:ÔTheself-polluterperpetuallyabandoned tohisobscene
60AndrŽGideandCuriosity
andasarealobjectinhisworld.Gidewritesin
JournaldesFaux-
Monnayeurs
ofÔlecasdusŽducteurÐquifinitpartrecaptifdelÕacte
quÕilarŽsoludÕaccomplirÐetdontilaŽpuisŽpar avanceeten
toutlÕattraitÕ (
,522,
myitalics
);Michel,thenarratorof
LÕImmoraliste
,wonderswhether,withregardtoAlcideÕsactions,he
wasguiltyofhavinginventedÔlemystreˆforcedecuriositŽ?Õ (
669);andBaudelairewritesofÔLervedÕuncurieuxÕ.Thesubjectis
curiousbecauses/heimaginestheobjecttobeworthdiscovering.
EdouardÕscuriosityinjects a newleaseoflifeintothecloseof
thetextbysuggestingthatanewbookcouldbegin.GideÕseffective
enactmentofEdouardÕswishtoclosehisnovelwiththewords,
ÔÒPourraittrecontinuŽÉÓÕ (
,422),defiesliteraryconventionand
embracesreality,asPaulineobserves:ÔCÕestaffaireˆvous,romanci-
ers,dechercher ˆ rŽsoudre[lessituationsfausses].Danslavie,rienne
serŽsout;toutcontinueÕ(411).
EdouardÕsabandonmentofOlivier
coincideswiththenarratorÕsabandonmentofthetext.Copeautold
MartinduGard:ÔÒAndrŽmanquedÕundonessentiel auxvraisroman-
ciers:ilestincapabledesÕennuyer.DsquÕuntrenÕaplusdepiquant
pourlui,sacuriositŽtombe.Ilenvademmepourlespersonnagesde
seslivresÓÕ (
RMGNotes
,30).EdouardiscurioustowardsCaloub;the
readeriscurioustowardshowEdouardiscurious;andcuriousGideis
impatienttoescapethistexttoexplorepasturesnew.TheauthorÕscu-
riosityhasstopped,whilethecuriositiesofthecharacterandthe
reader arelefthanging.
In1913JacquesRivirewrotetwoarticlesonthe
roman
dÕaventure
,whichdescribethegenreasonestimulatingcuriosityand
offeringafarrichercuriositythanthatfound,forinstance,inthe
manpolicier
UncrimeaŽtŽcommis:cherchonslÕassassin.[É.]LacuriositŽquenous
ressentons,cÕestunecuriositŽlimitŽe,circonscrite,ŽtranglŽe, lacuriositŽde
quelquechosedeprŽcis,departiculier,debornŽquisedŽrobebrutalement
etcommephysiquementˆnotreintelligence.[É]EllenÕariendecommun
Schehrdescribes
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
asaconstructedworldwhichGide
Ômine[s]fromwithintoundercutanysenseoftotality,fulf
illment,orcompletionÕ
(LawrenceSchehr,
FrenchGayModernism
[Urbana&Chicago: UniversityofIllinois
Press,2004],4).
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary61
aveccetabandonˆlabeautŽdumondequelevŽritableromandÕaventure
doitŽveillerennous.
GideendorsedRivireÕsdescription,althoughhedidnotfeelthat
Les
Caves
,shortlytobepublished,couldlayclaimtothegenre.
But
could
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,atleastinpart?Itwouldbereductiveto
bracket
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
asa
romandÕaventure
,andGoulethas
demonstratedwaysinwhichthetextparodiesthegenre.
However,
Walkersuggeststhatthenovelworkssimultaneouslyasa
roman
dÕaventure
anditsparody,dependingonwhetheronechoosesnotto
readthetextironically,byfocusingmoreonapparentlyrandom
eventsastheyoccur,orratherdoesconcentrateonthetextÕsironies,
byfocusingmoreontheprocessesofwriterlyproductionthatreveal
contrivances,suchasastorybeingfittedtightlytoaplot,briskjunc-
turesbetweenscenes, andengineered coincidences.
IronypermeatesGideÕswork,
yetmyanalysisofcuriosity
hereandthroughoutthestudyadoptsapredominantlynon-ironicap-
proach.
Walkerdemonstratestheplaceofcuriosityintheplotwhen
hewritesoftheuseofcoincidencein
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
:Ôeach
coincidence[is][...]soobviouslyunforeseeableasanevent,sofla-
grantlypurposiveasastructuringdeviceÕ.
Here,thecuriosityfactor
lieswiththeÔunforeseeableÕratherthantheÔpurposiveÕqualityofthe
coincidences.MagnywritesthatthenarratorexploitsÔcette affectation
denÕavoirsurlelecteuraucunavantageÕinordertoÔpiquernotrecu-
riositŽÕ(Magny,235).Becausetheplotin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
over-emphasisedfornovelisticconvention,curiosity,whichpiggy-
backstheplot,isconsequently alsoprivileged.
JacquesRivire,ÔLeRomandÕaventureÕ,
LaNouvelleRevuefranaise
,no.55(1
July1913),56Ð77,75.Partiofthisarticleis
,no.54(1June1913),914Ð32.I
shallrefer tothesearticlesas
Rivire
ÔCÕestbienprŽcisŽmentparcequejevoisle
Roman
,ˆpeuprs(oummetoutˆ
fait)commevouslevoyezvous-mme,quemme les
Caves
jenepuislesconsidŽrer
commeun
roman
CorrespondanceAndrŽGide,JacquesRivire,1909Ð1925
,ed.by
PierredeGaulmynandAlainRivire[Paris:Gallimard,1998],389).
AlainGoulet,ÔLire
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,1975in
EPV
,278Ð79.
David H.Walker,ÔChallengingthenovelin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,1986in
AndrŽ
Gide
,ed.byD.H.Walker(London:Longman,1996),202Ð20.
62AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Rivirearguesthattheimpliedauthorofthe
roman
dÕaventure
shoulddisplayÔcetteignorancedelÕavenir,cettenouveautŽ
aumondequenoussentonsennousÕ(
Rivire
,56),
beÔenŽtat
dÕaventureÕ,andasignorantasthecharactersandreaderoffuture
events(57).SuchisthepositionoftheÔintrusiveauthorÕattheendof
theSaas-Feesectionwhosits,aGod-likeauthor,injudgmentofthe
charactersheclaimstohaveinvented,yetdoesnotknowwhattheir
fateholds (
,337Ð39).ForRivire,charactersshouldappeartobe
autonomous,totheextentthatreaderandimpliedauthorshouldbe
curioustowardsthem,andthisisillustratedinGideÕsnovelwhenthe
narratorremarks:ÔJÕauraisŽtŽcurieuxdesavoircequÕAntoineapu
raconterˆsonamielacuisinire;maisonnepeuttoutŽcouterÕ (
191).Theadventurenovelhasforwardmomentum:ÔcÕestunroman
quisÕavance ˆ coupsdenouveautŽÕ (
Rivire
,66), andthisistheam-
bitionofEdouardÕsprojectednovel (
,422).Itisfurthergesturedat
bythequasi-cinematicuseofpresenttimein
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
itself:Walkerwritesthat
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
exploitsÔthemodelof
romandÕaventure
ÕtodefyÔthenotionofrealityas achronological
wordsÕliteralsense(WayneC.Booth,
ARhetoricofIrony
[Chicago:Universityof
ChicagoPress,1974]).Hecontrastsstableironies,where thecontextdeemsanexam-
pletobe incontrovertiblyironic(part1),withunstableirony,whichresists interpreta-
tionandmightfinallyleadtoalackofnormativeconsensusbetweenauthorsand
readers,whichmakesimpossibleanyplatformforreconstruction(part3).BoothÕs
ruleofthumbistherefore:Ôotherthingsbeingequal,oneshouldalwaysacceptthe
readingthatcontributesmosttothequalityofthework[...]Thetestwillworkmost
clearlywhenwearereasonablysureof thegenericgrooves inwhichwetravel,andof
howironyoritsabsencewillincisethemfurtherÕ(184).GideÕsgenericgroovesÐ
journal,memoirs,
sotie
,ironic
rŽcit
,1196;
,808)Ðareasupport,butthelayering
ofnarrator,impliedauthorandhistoricalauthorinhisautobiographicalwritingand
rŽcits
destabilisesandmultipliespossibleinterpretations,byprovidingfurtherironical
leverage(seeBooth,
TheRhetoricofFiction
[Chicago:UniversityofChicagoPress,
1961],chapter6).
Thisisbecause theactionofcuriosity liescloserto theproaireticcode(thecodeof
action)thantothehermeneuticcode(thecodeofenquiry).SeeRolandBarthes,
S/Z
(Paris:Seuil,1970),24Ð27.
FollowingBarthes,LauraMulveywrites:ÔWhereasthe
proaireticcodefunctionsonasingle,lineartemporallevel,thehermeneuticfoldsback
onthepastandcontainstwolevelsoftemporalityÕ(LauraMulvey,
VisualandOther
Pleasures
[London:Macmillan,1989],179).Thislayeringoftimeandviewpoint,
suggests thatunstableirony ismoreathomeinthehermeneuticworld.
Walker,ÔChallenging thenovel in
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,215.
Rivirereferstothewriter;ÔimpliedauthorÕismyterm,toconformtomodern
usage.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary63
continuumÕ(Walker,204,205):timeis alwaysinthepresentÐÔback-
groundisnotconstruedassuch,butisfilledinvialetters,diaries,dia-
logues,inwhichtheinformationcomesacrosswiththesameairof
immediacyasinthenovelÕsopeningparagraphsÕ(205).Rivirecalls
forÔunroman[...]olÕaction[...]Žclate ˆ lafoisenvingtendroitsdif-
fŽrentsetne[peut]treracontŽetoutentirequÕauprixdemilleem-
barrasetdemillerecommencementsÕ (
Rivire
,60),andGideÕsaes-
thetic,describedbyAndrŽJulienasÔŽcartelerlÕactionenaventuresÕ
NRFH
,128),andinvolvingseveralaccountsofthesameeventby
differentcharacters,conformstothis.Thewholecuriousexperience
should,Rivire argues,beencapsulatedinthenovel:Ô[lÕaventure]doit
comprendre,enmmetemps[É]notreattenteetnotreaccueilde
lÕimprŽvudansleschosesÕ (
Rivire
,67).ThisconcordswithStein-
beckÕsassessmentof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
asaforumwhereGide
Ôvoulaitetdonnaitforme ˆ sescuriositŽsÕ (
NRFH
,30).
Curiosityspillsoverthe confinesofthetextof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
ToanalysecuriosityinGideÕswritingfromnowon,Ishallusethe
thematicstructureofsexual-scientific-writerlycuriosities,andapply
psychoanalyticaltheory.Gidehimselfseemstoinviteapsycho-
analyticalapproachwhenhewritesinaroughdraftof
Îdipe
(1931):
ÔdanstoutÏuvrelittŽraire,riennemepla”tautantque,
fžt-ilincon-
scient
,lÕaveu,comparableˆuneempreintedigitale,etquipermette
dÕidentifierlÕauteurÕ (
myitalics
,711).
64AndrŽGideandCuriosity
AKleinianPsychoanalyticalApproach
NeilKennyin
CuriosityinEarlyModernEurope
(1998)makes a brief
surveyofmoderntheoristsengagingwithcuriosityanditscognates
and concludes:
WhileavoidinganyrestrictivelyFreudian,Kleinian,Lacanian,Piagetian,
NeilKenny,
CuriosityinEarlyModernEurope
,27Ð28.
MelanieKlein,
TheWritingsofMelanieKlein
,1975,1984,4vols,firstpublished
as4volumesby theHogarthPressand theInstituteofPsycho-Analysis:
Love,Guilt
andReparationandOtherWorks,1921Ð1945
,1975(London:KarnacBooksandthe
InstituteofPsychoanalysis,1992);
,The
Psycho-AnalysisofChildren
,1932(Lon-
don:KarnacBooksand theInstituteofPsychoanalysis,1992);
EnvyandGratitude
andOtherWorks
,1946Ð1963,1975(London:KarnacBooksandtheInstituteofPsy-
choanalysis,1993),
NarrativeofaChildAnalysis
,1961(NewYork:FreePress,
1984).Futurereferencesto theseworkswillbe toKlein,
Writings
Ontherationaljustificationofatentativepreferenceforonetheoryoveranother,
seeKarlPopper,
KnowledgeandtheBody-MindProblem:InDefenceofInteraction
basedonlecturesgivenin1969(London:Routledge,1994),138.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary65
cal)whichmaybeappliedpiecemeal.
Consciousthat,asKarlPop-
perwrites,ÔnotheoryisanultimateexplanationÕ(140),thisstudy
doesnotfetishiseKleinÕspsychoanalysis,butratherviewsitascon-
jecturalknowledgethatresonatesattimeswithtendenciesinGideÕs
writinginanilluminatingway.
KleinÕsmappingofhumanpsycho-
logicaldevelopmentderivesfromclinicalobservationofpatients(in-
fantsthroughtoadults)inpsychoanalytictherapy.Assuch,itisasys-
temofsubjectiveknowledge and,to cite Popper again,theÔverygood,
thoughquiteinconclusive,argumentsÕthatsupportitare Ô
hominem
,[i.e.]anappealfrommantomanÕ(107).Iamawarethat
thisappealcannotÐandshouldnotÐfinduniversalsympatheticre-
ception. Forthoseofmyreadersmorescepticalofpsychoanalysis asa
meansofinterrogatingtext,youmaywishtoelidetheexegesisof
Kleinianthoughtwhichfollowsbymovingdirectlynowtochapter2.
ForthosewhoareopentothisKleinianvariantof Ô
imaginativecriti-
cism
Õ(Popper,141),readon.Readersmayalsorefertotheshortglos-
saryofpsychoanalyticterms appendedtothisstudy.
Kleinattributesgreatimportancetoepistemophilia(thedesire
toknow/pleasureinknowing)inthedevelopmentoftheinfantÕspsy-
che.Inthisstudy,Ishallequateepistemophiliatocuriosity.
KleinÕs
ÔAframeworkofassumptions[...]canbestudied,understood,andcriticizedbyan
66AndrŽGideandCuriosity
theory concentratesontheinfantÕsphantasmaticrelationtothemother
andpositstheinsideofthemotherÕsbodyastheprimeobjectofthe
infantÕscuriosity;
sheconsiderstheÔimpulsetoquestionÕasanin-
nateprincipleguidingtheinfant (
Writings
,3).Kleinengageswith
andbuildsonanumberoftheviewsinFreudÕs1917paper,ÔTheDe-
velopmentoftheLibidoandtheSexualOrganizationsÕ,inwhich
Freudpresentsthepre-genitaldevelopmentoftheinfant,andposits
epistemophiliaasanelementaryinstinctualcomponentonaparwith
scopophilia andsadism. Freudwrites:
Themost interestingphasesofsexual,or,aswewillsay,of libidinal,devel-
opmentlieearlierthan[thethirdyearoflife].[É]Accordingly,Icannow
describetoyoutheformtakenbyachildÕssexuallifebeforetheestablish-
mentoftheprimacyofthegenitals,preparationsforwhicharemadeinthe
firstperiodofinfancyprecedingthelatencyperiodandwhich ispermanen-
tlyorganizedfrompubertyonwards.Akindoflooseorganizationwhich
maybecalledÔpregenitalÕexistsduringthisearlyperiod.Duringthisphase
whatstandintheforefrontarenotthegenitalcomponentinstinctsbutthe
sadisticandanalones.[É]Theinstinctsfor lookingandforgainingknowl-
edge[...]arepowerfullyatwork;thegenitalsactuallyplayapartinsexual
lifeonlyasorgansfortheexcretionofurine.Thecomponentinstinctsof
thisphasearenotwithoutobjects,butthoseobjectsdonotnecessarilycon-
vergeintoasingleobject.[É]Behindthesadistic-analphaseoflibidinal
developmentwegetaglimpseofastillearlierandmoreprimitivestageof
organization, inwhichtheerotogeniczoneof themouthplays thechiefpart.
[...]Afewofthecomponentsofthesexualinstinct,then,haveanobject
fromthefirstandholdfasttoitÐforinstance,theinstinctformastery(sa-
dism)andthescopophilicandepistemophilic instincts. (
,369Ð71)
Kleingoesontoinvestigatetherelationshipbetweensadismandepis-
temophiliaininfantdevelopment.Herpsychoanalysisfunctions
throughtheinfantÕsphantasmaticrelationshiptothemotherÕsbody
andtheobjectsitÔperceivesÕtherein.KleindoesnotdenytheinfantÕs
curiositytowardsthefatherÕsroleinsex,butcontendsthattheinfant
phantasmaticallyperceivesthemotherÕsbodytocontainthefatherÕs
penisbytheorisingthatduringcoitusthemotherÕsvaginaincorporates
Inthiscontext,ÔphantasyÕanditscognatesreferÔto theimaginativeactivitywhich
underliesallthoughtandfeeling[...]Consciousmentalactivityisaccompanied,sup-
ported,maintained,enlivened,andaffectedbyunconsciousphantasy,whichbegins in
childhood,isprimarily(originally)concernedwithbiologicalprocessesandrelations,
andundergoessymbolicelaborationÕ(CharlesRycroft,
ACriticalDictionaryofPsy-
choanalysis
,1968[London:Penguin,1995],131Ð32).
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary67
andretainsit(Klein,
Writings
,131Ð2).Aswellasananal-sadistic
phase,Kleinconceivesofanoral-sadisticphase,symbolised(oractu-
alised)bytheinfantbitingthemotherÕsbreast.
AlthoughKleinusesFreudianterminology(oral,analand
genitalstages,castrationcomplex,superegoetc),RobertHinshelwood
arguesthatherworkoftenprovidesalternativesratherthancomple-
mentstoclassicalpsychoanalysis.Itwouldhavebeendetrimentalto
KleinÕscareertodiscardormodifykeyFreudiannotionsexplicitly,
particularlygivenherinitialindebtednesstothem;instead,shesimply
stoppedreferringtocertainconceptsinlaterwritings.ThusFreudÕs
castrationangstbecomesinKleinfearoftheretaliationofbadpart-
objectsinthesubjectÕsownpsycheandinthemotherimago.
Klein
effectswhatHinshelwooddescribesasÔthesqueezing-upoftheearly
libidinalphasesversustheirclearlytimedprogressionÕ(Hinshelwood,
108).Thatis,shemodifiesclassicalpsychoanalysisby,forexample,
unhookingthesuperegofromtheÎdipuscomplex.Fromthis,she
claimsthataharshsuperegoisinexistencefrombirth,andthatthe
Îdipuscomplexisnotsolelysituatedinthegenitalphase,butin-
volvesalsooralandanalinstinctswhicharelinkedtotheprocessesof
introjectionandprojection.
KleinÕsphasesandpositionsinvolve
processesthateveninnormaldevelopmentcanpersistthroughout
RobertHinshelwoodnotesthatalthoughKleinclaimstobereinforcingtheFreu-
diancategoriesofcastrationanxietyandpenisenvy,Ôinfacttheanxietiesshewas
describingwerenotthosethatFreuddescribed.Kleininthe1920shaddescribeda
newanxietyÐthatofviolentlyinvadingmotherÕsbodyandthefearofacomparable
retaliationonthechildÕsownbodyÕ(RobertD.Hinshelwood,
ADictionaryof
KleinianThought
,1989,2ndedn[London:FreeAssociationBooks,1991],62).Inits
firstmonths,the infantcannotyetconceiveofthemother imagoasawholeobject,as
Ôapersonwhosefeelingsandneedsareas importantasoneÕsownÕ,andsofocuseson
part-objects,whicharephantasmaticobjectsthatareÔpartofaperson,e.g.apenisora
breastÕ(Rycroft,114).
Inprojection,Ôthesubjectdisownshisownimpulseandattributesthemtohisob-
ject,e.g.ÔIdonothatehimÐhehatesmeÕ.Introjection[...]is theoppositeofprojec-
tionÕandisthementalcounterparttotheearliestoralimpulsetoeattheobject.The
objectÕscharacteristicsareintrojectedbecause theegocannotgiveup itsobject.Iden-
tificationisnotalwaysclearlydifferentiatedfromintrojection.Onetypeisidentifica-
tionof theselfwiththeobjectasthemodel.Thesubjectassimilates thecharacteristics
oftheobject;thusidentificationcanbeadefenceagainstthelossoftheobjectorri-
valrywithit.(SeeHannaSegal,
Klein
[Glasgow:Fontana,1979]22Ð23).
68AndrŽGideandCuriosity
life,
andreappearattraumaticmomentsinadulthood.Forexample,
mourninginadulthoodtakesthepsychebacktothemourningofthe
withheldphantasmaticbreastininfancy,thoughfortheadult,itisan
actualloveobjectthathasbeentakenaway,incontrasttotheÔinnerÕ
loveobjectofinfancy.
ÔIfFreudhaddiscoveredthechildintheadult,thenKleinbe-
lievedshehaddiscoveredtheinfantinthechildÕ,writeHinshelwood
andRobinson.
ShedidsobypioneeringtheÔplaytechniqueÕ,which
entailsanalysingthesymbolismofachildÕsplay.ThisenabledKlein
toaccesstheunconsciousofpre-verbalchildren,incontrasttoFreud,
whoseapplicationofÔthetalkingcureÕhadlimitedhisanalysesto
olderchildren,theyoungestofwhomwasfive-year-oldÔLittleHansÕ.
HannaSegal,adiscipleofKlein,writes:ÔFreuddiscoveredtheexis-
tenceofaninternalworld,buthisdescriptionofitcentresononein-
ternalobject,thesuperego.Kleinwidenedthisunderstandingbythe
detailedstudyofinternalphantasylifewithcomplexinternalobject
relationshipsevolvingfromearliestinfancyÕ(HannaSegal,
Klein
161Ð63).ThisÔinternalphantasylifeÕprovidesthecontextforKleinÕs
writingonepistemophilia.Theobjectsthatpopulateitarephantas-
matic,i.e.theybelongtothesubjectÕsunconscious.Assuch,theyare
distinctfromordinarydaydreams,orÔfantasiesÕ,
and alsofromreal
objects.Forinstance,eveninfantswithlovingrealmotherswill,in
theirunconscious,experience a ÔbadÕmotherimago.Kleinian analyses
arethereforelargelydetachedfromhistoricity,yetsometimesthereis
contactbetweentheimagoandtherealobject,as,forexample,when
theinfantÕsbeliefinaÔgoodÕmotherimagoisgivenexternalproof
throughareallovingmother.Kleinalsoconsidersthattheinfanthas
aninnateunconsciousknowledgeofamother,herbreast,afather,his
Ô[Klein] impliedthatintrojectionof theparentsdoesnotcomeaftertheÒlossof the
lovedobjectsÓofinfancybutisaprocessthatgoesoninthecourseofÐandinfact
fromthebeginningofÐanactiverelationship.Thisimplicationismuchmoreinline
withAbrahamÕsviewsÐintrojectionandprojectionareconstantlyactiveprocesses
linkedwithoralandanalimpulses,andtheyareactivecontinuouslyfromthebegin-
ningandthroughoutlifeÕ(Hinshelwood,102Ð3).
SeeKlein,ÔMourninganditsrelation tomanic-depressivestatesÕ,1940in
Writings
,344Ð69,esp.347.
RobertD.Hinshelwood,SusanRobinson,andOscarZarate,
IntroducingMelanie
Klein
(Cambridge:IconBooks,1999),88.
Hinshelwood,RobinsonandZarate,100.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary69
penis,coitus,andotherpotentialchildren.ForKlein,allchildrenex-
periencethesamephantasmaticrelationships,whethertheybeor-
phans,childrenofone-parentfamilies,orbottle-fedbabies.
TheParanoid-SchizoidPosition
Kleinholdsthatforboy andgirlinfants,themotherÕsbreastisthelo-
cusofbounty(duringfeeding)andanxiety(duringweaning).
Using
thebreastasamodel,theinfantconsequentlysplitsitsobjectsinto
ÔgoodÕandÔbadÕ.OtherphantasmaticobjectslocatedinthemotherÕs
body are: children, conceived asÔgoodÕfaeces,inthatthey aredesired
bytheinfantforitself,andasÔbadÕfaecesinthattheyareincompeti-
tionwithit;andthefatherÕsÔgoodÕpenis,offeringsatisfactiontothe
libido,andhisÔpersecutoryÕpenisseekingtoexerciseitssadism
againsttheinfantandthemotherÕsbody.Theobjectshavepersonali-
tiesoftheirown:theycanlove,hate,andbeenvious.Thisisbecause
theinfantconceivesthemintheimageofitsownemotions, andthere-
forefearstheobjectsÕretaliationforthesadismithasphantasised
againstthem.Thequantityofsadismcorrelatesdirectlytothequantity
ofanxietyexperiencedbytheinfant. Sadismismademanifestin child
analysesthroughbiting,wettinganddefecating,andresultsfromthe
infantÕsdeathinstinct.Thisperiodofsplittingobjects,characterised
byextremefearandinsecurity,iscalledtheÔparanoid-schizoidposi-
tionÕ,
andoccursatthreetofourmonths:
IntheveryfirstmonthsofthebabyÕsexistenceithassadisticimpulsesdi-
rected,notonlyagainstitsmotherÕsbreast,butalsoagainst the insideofher
body:scoopingitout,devouringthecontents,destroyingitbyeverymeans
whichsadismcansuggest.Thedevelopmentof theinfantisgovernedby the
mechanismsofintrojectionandprojection.Fromthebeginningtheegoin-
trojectsobjectsÔgoodÕandÔbadÕ,forbothofwhichthemotherÕsbreastis
theprototypeÐforgoodobjectswhenthechildobtainsit;forbadones
whenitfailshim.Butitisbecausethebabyprojectsitsownaggressionon
totheseobjectsthat itfeels themtobeÔbadÕandnotonlyinthattheyfrus-
trateitsdesires:thechildconceivesofthemasactuallydangerousÐperse-
ReportinghiscatÕsneglectofherkitten,Gideobserves:ÔAlamontŽedu laitcom-
mencelÕamourmaternelÕ (
,710).In
DustyAnswer
byRosamondLehmann,Miss
Pimwrites:ÔJudithisanexceptionallycleverchild,especiallyaboutessaysandbot-
any.ShelapsupknowledgeasakittenlapsmilkÕ(Lehmann,
DustyAnswer
,1927
[London:Virago,2000],8).
SeeKlein,
Writings
,61Ð71.
70AndrŽGideandCuriosity
cutorswhoitfearswilldevourit,scoopouttheinsideofitsbody,cutitto
pieces,poisonitÐinshort,compassingitsdestructionbyallthemeans
whichsadismcandevise.Theseimagos,whichareaphantasmaticallydis-
tortedpictureoftherealobjectsuponwhichtheyarebased,becomeinstal-
lednotonlyintheoutsideworldbut,bytheprocessofincorporation,also
withintheego.Hence,quitelittlechildrenpassthroughanxiety-situations
(andreacttothemwithdefence-mechanisms), thecontentofwhichiscom-
parabletothatof thepsychosesofadults.(Klein,
Writings
,[1935]262)
Moresuccinctly,Rycroftcharacterisestheparanoid-schizoidposition
asaprocesswherebytheinfantmastersitsdestructiveimpulsesby
Ôsplittingboth[its]egoand[its]object-representationsintogoodand
badparts,andprojecting[its]destructiveimpulsesontothebadobject
bywhom[it]feelspersecutedÕ(Rycroft,125).Itthusentailsaviolent
engagementbetweentheinfantÕsandmotherimagoÕsÔgoodÕand
ÔbadÕobjects,whicharevariouslyprojected,identifiedwith,andin-
trojected;althoughatthisstageintrojectionismoredifficultthanpro-
jection.Thisdynamicandviolentprocesstakesonthelanguageof
warfare:
Projectionandintrojection involvephantasticoffensiveswherebytheobject
andtheegocaneachbeentered,occupied,controlled,repulsedorwith-
drawninacontinuingstruggletodefineandmaintainboundaries.Strictly
speaking,violenceinitsprimaryandoriginatingstateis,forKlein,awayof
describinganexcessofforcewhichinvadesordevours.Violencecanthus
bedefinedasaforcefulentry intothefieldof theother,theextensionofone
fieldintothatofanother,ortheconsumptionofanobjectbyanother.
Epistemophilia
Duringtheparanoid-schizoidposition,epistemophiliaishighlyactive
becausetheinfantmustlocaliseandrecogniseitsenemy.Thisunder-
standingofepistemophiliareplacestheroleoflibido(Freud)with
needand,insodoing,betteraccommodatesthenotionofcompulsion
incuriosityasarticulatedbytheGideandemon.AsAdamPhillips
observes:
(Need,onemightsay,couldbedefined:unconsciousdesirecouldonlybe
tracked.)[É]ThepsychoanalyticchildthatemergedfromtheSecond
JohnPhillips,ÔTheFissureofAuthority:ViolenceandtheAcquisitionofKnowl-
edgeÕ,inL.StonebridgeandJ.Phillips(eds),
ReadingMelanieKlein
(London:
Routledge,1998),162Ð63.
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary71
WorldWarinhervariousguisesÐKleinian,AnnaFreudian,Bowlbyan,
WinnicottianÐwasequippedwith,indeedconstitutedby,adiscernibleset
ofneedsandwasinfact,equippedforawarofneed.Thechildwhocame
outoftheSecondWorldWarhadavarietyofdifferentwars insideher,de-
pendingonwhichpsychoanalytic theoristyouread.
Theinfantundertakesvariousreconnaissancemissionsintoenemy
terrain,asitwere,toestablishthelieoftheland(thecontentsofthe
motherÕsbody),andsabotagesthisterrainthroughitssadisticim-
pulses.Epistemophiliarevealstotheinfantphantasmaticobjectsit
fears,initiallyoperatesinconjunctionwithsadism,ismotivatedby
envytowardsthesexualrelationsbetweentheparentimagosand,
withintheframeworkofthedepressiveposition(tobedeveloped),is
ultimatelyinstrumentalinreparation.Themotherimago,withits
ÔgoodÕandÔbadÕbreast,isÔperceivedassomeonewhocangiveor
withholdsatisfactionandinthisway[theinfant]acquirestheknowl-
edgeofthepowerofhisobjectinrelationtothesatisfactionofhis
needsÐaknowledgewhichseemstobetheearliestbasisinexternal
realityforhisfearoftheobjectÕ.
Theinfantcountersthisanxiety
withsadism,byphantasmaticallyinvadingthetreasurehouse,initially
ofthebreastandlaterofthewholebody,andstealingitscontents,
whichcomprisephantasychildren,faecesandpenises:thechildÕssa-
dismÔisinthefirstinstancelevelledagainstitsmotherÕsfrustrating
breast;
butitissoondirectedtotheinsideofherbody,whichthus
becomesatoncethetargetofeveryhighlyintensifiedandeffective
instrumentofsadismÕ (
Writings
,129).Epistemophiliadrivesthe
infanttodiscoverthenatureofthecontentsofthebreast.Incontrastto
Freud,KleinianpsychoanalysisclaimsthatÔitisnotlibidowhich
bringstheepistemophilicinstinctintobeing(throughsublimation),
butsadism,theearlysadismwithwhichthechildattacks,andsimul-
taneouslycomestoknow,hismotherÕsbody.ThemotherÕsbodyis
AdamPhillips,
Promises,Promises
(London:FaberandFaber,2000),43.
Klein,
Writings
,128.KleinÕsuseofÔhisÕhereapplies toinfantsofbothsexes.
WinnicottalsowritesoftheinfantÕsaggressiverelationshipinitsimaginationto-
wardsthemotherÕsbreast(D.W.Winnicott,
TheChild,theFamilyandtheOutside
World
,53).RycroftwritesthatÔbreastÕinpsychoanalysisÔreferseithertotheana-
tomicalorgan itselforto theidea(object-representation)ofitexistingin thesubjectÕs
mindÕ(Rycroft,16);inherlaterwork,Kleinincreasinglystressestheimportanceof
thephantasmaticbreastovertherealone.
72AndrŽGideandCuriosity
thusthefirstobjectofknowledgeÕ.
InÔTheDevelopmentofa
ChildÕ,Kleinrelateshowtheepistemophilicinhibitionsofherson
ÔFritzÕweresuddenlyovercomewhenhewasfour-and-a-half.This
coincidedwithhiscuriositytowardshismother:
Aboutthistimeheexpressedacuriositytoseehismotherquitenaked.Im-
mediatelyafterwardsheremarked,ÔIwouldliketoseeyourstomachtoo
and thepicture that isinyourstomach.ÕToherquestion,ÔDoyoumean the
place insidewhichyouwere?Õ,hereplied,ÔYes!Iwouldlike tolookinside
yourstomachÕ.Somewhatlaterheremarked,ÔIamverycurious,Iwould
liketoknoweverything intheworld.Õ (
Writings
,33)
ThemotherimagobecomestheconduitfortheinfantÕsaccesssionto
knowledgeofthewiderworld.Epistemophiliais arousedbythebelief
thatparentsenjoyoralmutualsexualpleasuresfromwhichtheinfant
isexcluded,andhenceresultsfromenvyaswellashatred:ÔOralenvy
isoneofthemotiveforceswhichmakechildrenofbothsexeswantto
pushtheirwayintotheirmotherÕsbodyandwhicharousethedesire
forknowledgealliedtoitÕ (
Writings
,131).Epistemophilia,sadism
andguiltareÔintimatelyconnectedÕ:ÔSotheepistemophilicinstinct
andthedesiretotakepossessioncomequiteearlytobemostinti-
matelyconnectedwithoneanotherandatthesametimewiththe
senseofguiltarousedbytheincipientÎdipusconflictÕ (
Writings
188Ð89).KleindevelopsthisÔsenseofguiltÕwiththedepressiveposi-
tion.
TheDepressivePosition
Workingthroughtheparanoid-schizoidpositionpermitsentryintothe
depressiveposition,inwhichtheinfantrecognisesthedamageitssa-
dismhasdonetothemotherandseekstomakereparationtoher
EdnaOÕShaughnessy,explanatorynoteinKlein,
Writings
,429.DidierAnzieu
depictsthebreastasthefirstobjectofknowledgeinÔLeSeindesseinsÕ,through
word-playandassociation.Hissearchinthe
Robert
dictionaryforanself-referential
entryonÔRobertÕrevealsthatoriginally,RobertwasabrandofbabyÕsbottlewhich
cametobeusedcolloquiallyforthebreast itself:Ôainsilesein,cataloguedetousnos
dŽsirs,symboledusavoirtotalauquelnousaspirons,originedonttouslesmotsdŽri-
ventquandnotremreennousallaitantnousappritˆparler,estvenutoutnaturelle-
mentdonnerundesesnomsaudictionnairedetouslesmotscommunsafinquecelui-
cipuissesementionnerlui-mmeÕ(Anzieu,
Contesˆrebours
[n.p.:LesBellesLet-
tres/Archim-baud,1995],105Ð6).
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary73
throughlove.DidierAnzieusituatesthedepressivepositionataround
ninemonths(42);LaplancheandPontalisatbetweenfourmonthsand
ayear(316).
Kleinwrites:
[Thedepressivepositioncomestothefore]whenthechildcomestoknow
itsmotherasawholepersonandbecomesidentifiedwithherasawhole,
realandlovedperson. (
Writings
,286)
InshortÐpersecution(byÔbadÕobjects)andthecharacteristicdefences
againstit,ontheonehand,andpiningoftheloved(ÔgoodÕ)object,onthe
other,constitutethedepressiveposition. (
Writings
,348)
Itdescribesthepositionreached[É]bytheinfant(orbythepatientin
analysis)whenherealizesthatbothhisloveandhatearedirectedtowards
thesameobjectÐthemotherÐbecomesawareofhisambivalenceandcon-
cerned toprotectherfromhishateand tomakereparationforwhatdamage
heimagineshishatehasdone.(Rycroft,36)
Toworkthroughthedepressiveposition,theinfant,throughtheproc-
essesofprojectionandintrojection,succeedsinsecuringaÔgoodÕin-
ternalwholeobjectinitspsycheandlayingtorest,oratleastmini-
mising,thepersecutoryÔbadÕinternalpart-objects.Becausetheintro-
jectedmotherimagostandsfortheÔgoodÕobject,theinfantÕsrestitu-
tivephantasiesaredirectedtowardsit,whiletheinfantÕssadismwill
stillbedirectedattheÔbadÕobjectsinsidethemother.Theseimpulses
arerepresentedinplaythroughgamesof constructionanddestruction.
Astheinfantslowlyrealisesthattherealmotherisnotbeingharmed
byitssadismtowardsherorbythepersecutingÔbadÕobjectsper-
ceivedtobeinsidethemotherimago,itbecomesincreasinglycon-
vincedofitsownpowersofrestitution,anditsassociationofepiste-
mophiliawithsadismslackens.Inthedepressiveposition,epistemo-
philiaestablisheswhatdamageitssadismhasdonetothemother
imagoandthisleadstoconcernandawilltomakereparation (
Writ-
III
,74).Curiositywithreparativeendsislegitimate.
In1888,whenrevisingforhis
baccalaurŽat
,Gide/AndrŽ
seemstoexperiencethisnon-sadisticcuriosity:
DidierAnzieu,
CrŽerDŽtruire
(Paris:Dunod,1996),42;JeanLaplancheandJ.-B.
Pontalis,
LeVocabulairedelapsychanalyse
,1967(Paris:Pressesuniversitairesde
France,1998),316.
SeeKlein,
Writings
,71Ð80.
74AndrŽGideandCuriosity
CÕŽtaituntempsdesplusheureuxÐoui,jenemerappellepasavoirŽtŽja-
maisplusheureuxquelorsdecetteprŽparationdÕexamen.MamreŽtait
excellente,parfaitepourmoi;encestempsnotreintimitŽdevintmmetrs
grande.EllemÕaidaitdesonmieux,mefaisaitrŽciterlesleons,mÕaidaitˆ
Unpublishednote to
Si legrain
citedin
,403.
Exceptionsoccurwhensheconsoleshimafterhisnervousattack (
,165);andin
theirbriefamnestybeforeherdeath(324).
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary75
toobsessionalandmanicdefencemechanisms,whichaccountforthe
natureofhisextremecuriosity andincuriosity. Forthemoment,Ishall
detailtwoinstancesofwhatIrecogniseasGideÕsinfantilesadismto-
wardsthemotherimago.ThesesuggestthatGideÕsdepressiveposi-
tionwasleftunresolved,andofferanexplanationwhy,throughouthis
life,Gideremainedincurioustowardswomen (
,ch.2).SinceI
cannotknowthebehaviouroftheinfantGideinhistoricalterms,my
primesourceforthisanalysis,asforDelay,isGideÕsautobiography,
supportedbytendenciesinhiswriting.
DelaydescribesAndrŽÕsactionsasÔnŽronienÕÐNerokilled
hismotherbyhavingherclubbedandstabbedtodeath,afterfailed
attemptstopoisonher,crushher andhaveherdrowned.
Twoexam-
plesin
Silegrain
suggestapronouncedsadismagainstthemother
imago. First,theyoungAndrŽvisitshisrelatives andistoldtokisshis
cousin,ayoungwoman:
JemÕavanai.LacousinedeFlauxmÕattiracontreelleensebaissant,cequi
76AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Thefour-orfive-year-oldAndrŽmayhavebeenstruckbytheresem-
blanceofthecousinÕsdazzlingskinandherwhite,roundedandpar-
tiallyexposedshouldertohismotherÕsbreast,
theprimaryobjectof
sadisminKleiniantheory.
Thebite,moreover,tallieswithKleinÕs
oral-sadisticphaseandherassertionthatthesadisticphantasiesofthe
childculminateincannibalism.
Second,intheLuxembourgGardens,AndrŽwatchestheother
childrenbuildrowsofprettysand-castles:ÔSoudain,ˆunmomentque
mabonnetournaitlatte,jemÕŽlanaisetpiŽtinaistouslesp‰tŽsÕ (
82).Thisisnotanobvioussadisticattackagainstthemotherimago,
butaconsiderationofthesymbolicfunctionofsandinGidesuggests
thatitcouldbe.AmanuscriptvariantshowsthatGidechangedthe
originalÔp‰tŽsenterreÕtoÔp‰tŽsdesableÕ (
,82,c),
andJadinhigh-
Luceywrites:ÔAsshebendsovertokissheryoungcousin,thedressslipsasifto
revealherbreastÕ (
GideÕsBent
,48).Inamanuscriptvariant,Gide/thenarratorpro-
tests:ÔRiennemÕestplusŽtrangerquelesadisme;maisnonpointsansdouteunsubit
Introduction:CuriosityandaCanary77
lightsthesignificanceofsandtoGideÕsÔvieintimeÕ,sandproviding
thesettingforGideÕsfirstexperienceofpederastyandfortheconcep-
tionofhisdaughter:ÔCesgrainsdesableenveloppentensesdeux
actesdevieunmmemomentdegr‰ce, commeunvoiledÕŽtoffedont
lemodelŽressembletantauxdunes,commeunfŽticheÕ.
InFreud,
Jean-MarieJadin,
AndrŽGideetsaperversion
(Paris:Arcanes,1995),112.
Idiscussfetishismanditsproblematicsmorefully inch.2.
AnzieupositswomanÕsbodyasasourceofknowledgeinÔLaDamedesableÕ,in
whichthespeakercaressesthebodyofthewomanlyinginthesandbesidehim,in
searchofÔlÕentrŽesŽcrteÕ(Anzieu,
Contesˆrebours
,198Ð201,200).InE.T.A.
HoffmannÕsnovellaof1817,theeponymousSandman(
lÕhommeausable
inFrench)
triestostopchildrenseekingknowledge,bythreateningtothrowsand intheireyesif
theyarenotasleep(E.T.A.Hoffmann,
DerSandmann
,1817[Stuttgart:Reclam,
1991],5).HoffmannÕsSandman inhibitscuriosity;AnzieuÕsSandwomanpromotesit.
GideÕsÔSandwomanÕcountersthisset-up,herwaxdollsmilerecallingthemanufac-
turedOlimpiaofHoffmannÕsnovella,whichinhibitscuriositybyrevealingitsdanger:
theheroisdupedbyhiseyes intofalling inlovewiththeautomatonandconsequently
killshimself.Gide,byaligninghisÔSandwomanÕtoOlimpiacoversherepistemo-
philicassociations(AnzieuÕsSandwoman)withepistemo
phobic
ones(HoffmannÕs
Sandman,Olimpia).AndrŽWalterandEmmanulereadtogetherHoffmann (
,26);
HoffmannÕsOlimpiaisalludedtoinGideÕs
rŽcitIsabelle
whenGŽrarddreamsthat
IsabelleisanautomatonoperatedbyMademoiselle
Olympe
Verdure (
,961).
78AndrŽGideandCuriosity
thathismotherislessdamagedthanhehasimagined.Afterall,Gide
hadbeenparticularlyaggressivetowardshismotherduringhisAfri-
cantrip:Delaycomments,forexample,onÔunelettredÕuneparfaite
insolenceÕsenttoherinMarch1895 (
,470).
WhenAndrŽÕs
motherdies,thenarratorrecalls:ÔjesentissÕab”mertoutmontreÕ (
326),andalthough
ab”mer
isemployedheretomeanÔplungeÕ,itstill
connotesÔdamageÕ.Themotherimagoisdead,irreparablydamaged,
andthisechoesinthepsycheoftheson.Anzieuwrites:Ô[Lepetiten-
fant]pensealorsquÕilaperdusamrepouravoirŽtŽmŽchantenvers
elle;cellequÕilaimait,illÕadŽtruite.CÕestlapositiondŽpressive.Õ
Thedepressiveposition,experiencedbyeveryinfant,comesbackto
haunttheadultinmourning(Klein,
Writings
,347).
GideÕsmother
diedinMay1895,atthebeginningofhiscareeranddirectlybefore
hismarriage.Inmyview,GideÕsliteraryoutputwassignificantlyin-
fluencedbythisreplayeddepressiveposition,whichKleinlaterrelates
tocreativity.Asthisbookproceeds,theimpactofthisunresolvedde-
pressivepositiononGideÕsepistemophiliawillemerge.
Gidewasinsatiablycurious andthisisfundamentaltohis
Ïuvre
.How
didGideÕscuriosityoperate? Whywashecurious? Whatbearingdoes
thishaveonhiswriting?InthenextchapterIshallelaborateon
GideÕsextremesexualcuriositytowardsadolescentboysandyoung
menandhissexualincuriositytowardswomen,whichIunderstandas
symptomaticof anunresolveddepressiveposition.
NotealsoGideÕslettertoherfromLaBrŽvineOctober1894:ÔJevoudrais
Sexual Curiosity
A Circle of Sexual Curiosity
I define sexual curiosity primarily as a curiosity that has sex as its
goal, either directly or vicariously through voyeurism. GideÕs sexua-
lity was unusually elusive, as Pierre-Quint shows:
le r™le du toucher sÕaiguise, Ð le r™le de la vue devient plus important
80AndrŽGideandCuriosity
artˆcesindicationsˆpeinemarquŽes,ˆcegožtsiconnudelÕambigu•tŽet
delÕallusif. (
Pierre-Quint
,235Ð36)
Hence,Iincludeinstanceswherehegainssexualpleasurefromtouch
alone.Tostructurethechapter,Ishalluseacirclelinkingscientific-
sexualcuriosity,desiring-sexualcuriosity,fetishism, andincuriosity:
ExamplesfromGideÕs
Ïuvre
maymovethroughanumberof
positionsonthecircleandoccupyhybridpositions.Withscientific-
sexualcuriosity,theobjectofcuriosityÐthepersonorthepracticeÐis
sexualinnature,doesnotattractthesubjectÕslibido,andhasmore
generalapplication.ExamplesaretheprotagonistÕscuriositytowards
DanielBÕssexualintercoursewithMohammedin
Silegrain
,311);
andGideÕscuriositytowardshomosexualityinhisdiscussionswith
Proust (
,1124Ð25).Desiring-sexualcuriosityappliestomostinstan-
cesofGideÕssexualcuriosity,andrequiresaspecificobjectofdesire.
Infetishism,thesubjectÕsdesireissoimplicatedthatitobscuresthe
intellectualfacultiesofcuriosity.LauraMulveypositsfetishismasa
counterpointtocuriosity:Ôwhilecuriosityis a compulsivedesiretosee
andtoknow,toinvestigatesomethingsecret,fetishismisbornoutofa
refusaltosee, a refusalto acceptthedifferencethefemalebodyrepre-
sentsforthemaleÕ,
andshedevelopstheseoppositesinto a dialectical
relationship;Ishalltreatthem,however, asbeingon a continuum. Fet-
ishismmarksapointatwhichthereflectionofthesubjectÕsownde-
sire,likeMedusaÕsgaze,freezeshis/hercapacityforcuriosity.Ne-
vertheless,thedisavowalfetishisminvolvesispremisedonanunder-
lyingacknowledgement,achievedthroughcuriosity,inaccordance
withOctaveMannoniÕsdescriptionoffetishismas:Ôjesaisbien,mais
quandmmeÕ.
Sexualincuriosityisanactivedriveawayfromthe
objectrangingfromapathytohorror.Gideisincurioustowardswo-
menandsexualitythatcontainsafeminineelement:womenwhode-
GideÕscaressingofboysÕarmsandlegscouldbeviewedasasubstitutemasturba-
torypractice:ÔMamain,glissantetremontant le longdubras,doublaitlÕŽpaule...Õ (
947Ð48).GideÕsvalorisationoftouchisdiscussedbySegal (
P&P
,52Ð53,56,58).In
Silegrain
,thenarratorrelatesthatoftenforhim,ÔleplusfurtifcontactsatisfaitÕ (
312).CorydonadvocatesÔelusiveÕsex,viewingcaressesÔasanalternative toconven-
tionalintercourse (
leco•t
),fortheystillincludesensualenjoyment (
plaisir
voluptŽ
jouissance
)Õ(PatrickPollard,
AndrŽGide:HomosexualMoralist
[NewHaven:Yale
UniversityPress,1991],30).See
,96.
Mulvey,
FetishismandCuriosity
,64.
OctaveMannoni,
ClŽspourL'imaginaire
(Paris:Seuil,1969),9Ð33,esp.11Ð12.
SexualCuriosity81
sire,heterosexuality,penetrativehomosexuality,effeminatehomo-
sexuality.
Theclockwiseprogressionfromscientific-sexualcuriosity
towardsincuriositychartsthelevelofthesubjectÕslibidinalinvolve-
ment:noneinscientific-sexualcuriosity;asignificantamountindesi-
ring-sexualcuriosity,thoughnotenoughforcuriositytobeendange-
red;infetishism,desirecompromisesthecriticaldistanceofcuriosity;
inincuriosity,thereisostensiblynodesire,yettheincuriousstance
takenupbythesubjectsuggeststhatunconsciouslydesireremains
present, andmustbe counteredÐhencetheuseofthewordincuriosity
ratherthanapathyorindifference(apathy,feignedorreal,isnever-
thelesspartoftheincuriousexperience).
Incuriosity/Scientific-SexualCuriosity
AnexcerptfromGideÕs
rŽcit
Genevive
,illustratestheprecarious
transitionbetweenincuriosityandscientific-sexualcuriosity.The
eponymousheroineexemplifiesthestateofbeingintellectuallycuri-
ous andyetsexuallyincurious aboutthesexual act:
LesquestionsdÕordresexuel[...]Žtaientbienaussicellesqui
mÕintŽressaientparticulirementdans leslivresquejelisais.AmacuriositŽ
nesemlaitduresteaucunesensualitŽ.Ilavaitfallutoutleprestigedela
voixdeSarapourmefaireprendregožtˆlapoŽsiedeBaudelaire. Unesorte
decrainteinstinctivemÕŽcartaitdesimageslicencieuses,detoutcequires-
pireledŽsirouleplaisir. (
,857)
GeneviveÕsinsistencethatreadingaboutsexdidnotexcitehersug-
gestsherdisapprovalofsexualpleasure.Parenthetically,wemaynote
MartinduGardÕs addresstoGide afterreading a draftof
Silegrain
DsquevousabordezcequÕilyadeplushumainenvous,deplussensible,
depluspassionnŽ,votreplumeseglace.PourdŽfendredessentimentsqui
voustiennentsiprofondŽmentaucÏur,vousnetrouvezquedesaccents
,1092;
,60.ToGideÕsmind,penetrativeand/oreffeminatehomosexualitymim-
icstheheterosexualact,whichisdangerous.Forexample,SegalattributesGideÕs
horrorof theprayingmantisin
Corydon
to themantisÕsÔmimicryof womenÕssexual-
ityasfirstprovoking, thendestroyingmenÕsÕ (
P&P
,289).Luceysuggests thatGideÕs
uneasederivesfromthe insectbeingÔatrue
inverti(e)
withinnature, thefemalesarro-
gatingthemaleprivilegeofbeautifulbodies,excessivedisplay,evensize,asifin
drag,whilethemalesbecomeeffeminatedronesÕ (
GideÕsBent
,83Ð84).InKleinian
terms, this tendencyinGide ismotivatedbyfearofretaliatorybadpart-objects in the
motherimago.
82AndrŽGideandCuriosity
impersonnels.Jenesaiscommentdire.Ilsemblepresquequevousnepuis-
siezabandonner
lepointdevuede larŽprobation?
RMGCorr
[7October
1920]157).
FollowingMartinduGardÕsviewthatwhenGidewritesofhimselfin
afrigidway,itistomaskthemosthuman andsensualaspectsofhim-
self,itwouldseemthatwhenGideÕs characterGeneviverecountsher
frigidity,heraimistomaskorrepresshersensuality.Sexualimages
elicitinGenevive a tellingÔcrainteinstinctiveÕ.Thisfearistelling, as
revealedin
Corydon
byanexchangeregardingaquotationfromPas-
calbetweentheeponymousintervieweeandtheinterlocutor:
ÐJesoulignele Ô
jÕaigrand-peur
ÐParceque?
ÐIlmepla”tquÕilsoiteffrayŽ.JemÕassurequÕilyadequoi. (
,78)
FearofdesireappearstodriveGenevivetoshelterintheundesireof
incuriosity,andthisfacilitatestheconditionofnon-desireofscienti-
fic-sexualcuriosity.OnlyinalegitimateenvironmentcanGenevive
experiencesensuality,aswhenshelistenstoSarareciteBaudelaire.
Theincurioussubjectisterrifiedthathis/herdesiremightbeattracted
towardstheobject,andsomovesintheoppositedirection;bycon-
trast,inpurelyscientific-sexualcuriosity,thesubjectdoesnotdesire
theobjectatall,andsocanlookwithoutbeingdrawnin.Genevive
walksthistightrope,claimingscientific-sexualcuriosityinthefirst
sentence,statinglibidinalindifferenceinthesecond,andadmitting
herinstinctivefearofthesexual attheend.
IntheDanielBepisode,scientific-sexualcuriosityagaintee-
tersbackwardsintoincuriosity.Thenarratorrecallshowinadark
roomonthefourthfloorofanAlgerianhotel,hewatchedhisfriend
DanielBhavesexwithMohammed.AndrŽisprecludedfromvo-
yeuristicpleasurebecauseDanielBÕssexualpracticesdonotcorre-
spondtohisown.Voyeurismstrippedofdesirebecomesbydefaulta
coldscientificcuriosity,andthenarratorsuppliesdetailsoftheroom,
thelighting,furniture, clothing,theboy,DanielÕs actions,the coupleÕs
positions, andthesounds.ButAndrŽissoonengulfedbythehorrorof
LaPorteŽtroite
,AlissamakespoetrysafewhenshelistenstoJŽr™mereciting
Baudelaire,cancellingoutthefearhermotherLucileinspiresinJŽr™mewhenshe
SexualCuriosity83
incuriosity:Ôonežtditunimmensevampireserepa”tresuruncadavre.
JÕauraiscriŽdÕhorreur...Õ (
,311).AmanuscriptvariantÐÔonežtdit
uninsecteŽnorme,unegouledecauchemar.JÕaurais...Õ (
,1184,ab)
Ðrevealstheshakyborderlinebetween
scientific
-sexualcuriosity(the
insectcomparison,insect-huntingbeingafavouritechildhoodpursuit
oftheprotagonist)andanincuriosityofhorror(theghoul,thevam-
pire).Theinsectelicitsbothscientificcuriosity andhorror,asEdmund
Gossedemonstrates,when,inhisautobiography,herecountshowhis
childselfwatchedaÔratherlargeinsectÕcrawlupthebedclothesto-
wardshim ashisfatherprayedbyhisbedside:ÔIboreitinsilentfasci-
nationtillit almosttickledmychin, andthenIscreamedÔPapa! Papa!Õ
Hisfatherresponds:ÔYou,thechildofanaturalist,[...]
you
topretend
tofeelterrorattheadvanceofaninsect?Õ
InGidetoo,theinsectcan,
likethevampire,inspirefearandrevulsion.Luceycommentsonthe
Ômanic,andevenhystericalÕtoneofthefootnoterelatingtothesexu-
alityoftheprayingmantisin
Corydon
Segalassociatesthesexually
voraciousfemale
with
,inboththesenseofaunt(Lucile
Bucolin)andeffeminategay(atypeexcludedfromthedefenceof
Corydon
BypresentingtheÔauntasvampireÕ,shedemonstratesthe
sameassociationsofvampirewithinsectthatappearintheDanielB
sceneanditsvariant (
P&P
,289Ð90);thisisreinforcedbythelinkbe-
tweenGideÕsadmissionthatthefemalegenitalÔmefaithorreurÕ (
Pi-
erre-Quint
,457Ð58),andtheÔhorreurÕevokedintheDanielBscene.
AndrŽÕshorrorispossiblycausedbywitnessingpenetration(sodomy
orfellatio),
whichphysicallyfeminisesoneofthesexualpartners.
ThiswouldfitDanielBintothenexusofeffeminatehomosexuals and
sexualwomenthatelicitsGideÕsincuriosity.
EdmundGosse,
FatherandSon
,1907(London:Penguin,1989),134.
GideÕsBent
,83,84.LikeGosse,OliverGayckenexplorestheblurringofscience
andgothichorrorinhisforthcoming
DevicesofCuriosity
, illustratingitinrelationto
FeuilladeÕsserials,
Fant™mas
and
LesVampires
;thepreyingmantisalsofeaturesin
84AndrŽGideandCuriosity
TheCourtofAssizesofRouenpotentiallyoffersanotherfo-
rumfor anexaminationofthe authorÕsscientific-sexualcuriosity;dur-
inghistimethereasjurorinMay1912,Gideparticipatedinfiverape
trials,whichhereportsin
Nejugezpas
ButGidefocusesmoreon
thepeopleinvolved,theirsocialconditionsandthemechanicsofthe
judicialprocessthanonthesexualactitself.Gideevenseemstoshy
awayfromthat, askingseveraltimeswhytherapescenemustbegone
overtimeandagaintothedistressofthoseinvolved.Hismotivation
maybeprimarily altruistic,butequally,it couldbethatGideÕscurious
engagementwasdiscouragedbyhisownincuriositytowardsthese
heterosexual,violentacts,sodifferentfromhisownsexualpractice.
Alternatively,theparallelswithhisownsexuality,pedophilicandin-
volvingtheluringofchildren,whenshiftedtoanaccusatorycontext,
mayhavebeentoocloseforcomfort:attheopeningrapetrial,Gide,
ÔparabsurdecraintedemefaireremarquerÕ (
NJP
,12),choosesnotto
takenotes.Onewonderswhetherhefearedmoretheexposureofhis
writerlyorofhissexualcuriosity(cf.thisambiguityin
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
regardingEdouardÕscuriositytowardsCaloub).
Scientific-SexualCuriosity/Desiring-SexualCuriosity
Corydon
exemplifieshowGideÕsscientific-sexualcuriosityisbetter
sustainedwhenitembraceshisownformofsexuality,thekindprac-
tisedbyÔlespŽdŽrastesnormauxÕ (
,138),andnotbyÔlescas
dÕinversion,dÕeffŽminement,desodomieÕ(60).TheworkÕscreation
heldGideÕsattentionsporadicallyfrom1908until1924,duringwhich
timeGidepractisedscientific-sexualcuriositybygarneringmaterial
forhistext.(ContrastthiswiththeshorttimeAndrŽisabletocriti-
callyobserveDanielBandMohammed.)Althoughthecontentof
Corydon
ispredominantlyexplicativeandjustificatoryratherthanin-
vestigative(
,66Ð67;
,1235),itneverthelessrevealstheawkward
partnershipbetweenscientific-sexualcuriosityanddesiring-sexual
curiosity:ontheonehand,adashoflibidinalinterestmaintainsscien-
tific-sexualcuriosity;ontheother,ostensiblyscientificmaterialis
colouredbythenatureofGideÕssexuality.Forexample,Corydon
The
jugedÕinstruction
inBalzacÕs
Splendeursetmisresdescourtisanes
(1838Ð47)
isknowninprisonargotasÔlecurieuxÕ,illustratinghisÔofficiallyinquisitorialÕrole
(AndreaGoulet,ÔCuriosityÕsKillerInstinctÕ,56).
SexualCuriosity85
citesChamfortÕsdefinitionofsex (
voluptŽ
)astheÔÒcontactdedeux
ŽpidermesÓÕ(96),supportingGideÕsownpreferencefornon-penetra-
tivesex;characteristicsoftheabhorrentfemalesof
AndrŽWalter
foundinfemalespecimensofnaturalhistory (
,109,110);
and
womenÕssexualpleasureiselided(113).
Corydonpractisesscientific-sexualcuriosityinputtingto-
getherhisargument,andGidedoesthesameincreatinghistext.Ina
footnote,theeditor,ÔGideÕ, comparesthejoyofhisresearchesÔˆ celle
duchercheurdetrŽsorsdÕEdgarPoeÕ (
,107).Corydonvaluesgood
observationalskills(100),hisowninparticular:hehascompiled
enoughobservationstocompriseathree-volumework;heboastsof
hisperspicacitywhenherecountshowheandotherbystanders
watchedthreedogs copulateon a Parisboulevard:ÔNousŽtionslˆplu-
sieurs[...];maisjegagequejefusseul ˆ remarquer ceci:cÕestlem‰le,
etlem‰leseul,quelechienvoulaitchevaucherÕ(102).Thisscenehas
ahistoricalcounterpartinthe
Journal
,thoughhereGidedoesnot
claimtohavethemonopolyontheseeingeye:didthechildrenwatch-
ingalsonoticetheÔanomalyÕinthebehaviourofthesesincereani-
mals,Gidewonders (
,551)?Gide,likeCorydon,prizedgoodob-
servationalskillsÐÔMaiscombiensontraresceuxquiontlegožtde
lÕobservationetquisaventbienobserverÕ (
NJP
,149)Ð,andputthem
intotheserviceof
Corydon
.MoutotearguesthatGidetookup
Cory-
again attheendof1917inpartto addtotheseconddialoguesub-
sequentfirst-handobservationsfromnaturalhistory.
Pollardwrites
ofGideÕsÔvoracious[...]appetitefor
knowledgeÕ(Pollard,xiiiÐxiv),
andjudgesthatGidewasspurredoninhis
Corydon
projectbyÔcuri-
osity and a needtoknowÕ.
FemalebirdsÔreprŽsententlecentredegravitŽdusystmebiologiqueÕ (
,86),
evokingthepullofthewomanÕsblackhole;Corydondescribes:Ôlahideusefemelle
chondracanthusgibbosus
,avecsonm‰lenainfixŽsurelle...Õ(87);certainmale
spidersbeingdevouredbythefemaledirectlyaftercoitus;andthecaseofafemale
preyingmantisthatsuccessivelydevouredsevenmales.
DanielMoutote, Ô
Corydon
en1918Õ,
,16,no.78Ð79(April1988),9Ð24,15.
PollardaddsthatthebreadthofGideÕsenquiringmindwassuch thathisknowledge
couldbesuperficial(140).Hence,asSegalhasshown,GidemadesomeÔlogicalhic-
cupsÕ,suchastheuseoflesbianismamongstcowstodemonstratetheÔfrustrationof
theredundantmaleÕevenÔwhenitcontradictshispointsaboutmasculinityÕ (
P&P
203Ð4).MaybeCorydon is tacitlyawareof this,whenheclaimsnot tohavefound the
bestorthesoleexplanation,butconsidersaccuracy tobe less importantthanwidening
thedebate(109).Corydon thinksthatgreateraccuracywillbeattainedbyhiseliciting
86AndrŽGideandCuriosity
InJanuary1895,GidewrotefromAlgeriatohisuncleCharles
Gide,mentioningthathehadhadsexwithMŽriem,anOuladNa•l
prostitute.CharlesGidereplied:
OnnepeutnierquecettehistoirenesoitlamarquedÕundŽtraquementab-
soludusensmoral.FairelÕamourparbesoinphysique,cenÕestcertespas
beau[...]MaisallerchercherunefemmesansavoirpourexcuselÕinstinctet
ofintellectualcuriosityinotherresearchers, who willbringÔdenouvellesdŽcouvertes,
denouvellesconstatations(dussentcesderniresinfirmerladitethŽorie)[...]Õ(109).
Thisapproachisakin toPopperÕsdefinitionofÔscientificmethodÕ.
CitedbyDelay (
,442Ð44).WeshallseelaterhowCharlesGideÕsprediction
pannedout.MartinduGard,speakingofthebirthofGideÕsonlychildin1922,re-
portsin1952thatÔlanaissancedeCatherineaŽtŽconcertŽecommeuneexpŽriencede
laboratoireÕ(letter toAugusteValensinin
RMG J
,971).
Cf.attheendof
LÕImmoraliste
,Michelprobablydesires theboymorethanhissis-
ter (
,691).
SexualCuriosity87
cesseˆretrouverÕ (
Pierre-Quint
,224Ð25);ÔSachasseamoureuse,illa
voudrabrve,furtive,inachevŽe.[...]Leplussouventilplantelˆson
partenairepourallerpoursuivresolitairementlÕaccomplissementdesa
joieÕ(Herbart,34Ð35).Anotherwastotargetpubescentpartners,
whichpermittedGideÕscuriositytobestimulatedbywitnessingthe
boysÕdiscoveryofthevirilityoftheirbodies:Ô...CÕestdetreizeˆ
quinzeans,seizeauplus,lorsquelÕadolescentcommenceˆdŽcouvrir
sonexigeantenouveautŽavecunesurpriseexquise.PassŽquoi,jele
cdeauxfemmesÕ (
,656).
Athirdmethodisillustratedby
GoetheÕsÔFifthElegyÕofhis
RomanElegies
inwhichsexualinvesti-
gationisputon a parwithscientificresearch:
Undbelehrichmichnicht?wenn ichdeslieblichenBusens / FormenspŠhe,
dieHandleitedieHŸftenhinab./DannverstehicherstrechtdenMarmor,
ichdenkÕundvergleiche,/SehemitfŸhlendemAug,fŸhlemitsehender
Hand.
Thespeakerachievesadesirethatcoexistswithfacultiesofcuriosity
byreifyingandfragmentingtheobject.Gide,whoclaimedthat
GoetheÕs
RomanElegies
hadtaughthimÔlalŽgitimitŽduplaisirÕ (
711),alsoexploitedthesedevices.Forexample,in
Acquasanta
(1938),herelateshowtheboyalwaysinthesulphurouspoolin
GreecewhereGidewastakinghiscureresembledÔuntritonŽchappŽ
ducortgevoluptueuxdÕAmphitriteÕandswamlikeasealandadol-
phin (
,878),hissubmergedbodypartshiddenbytheopaquewater.
ThusGidemanagestosustainadesiring-sexualcuriositytowards
Bernardinooverseveraldays.Butsuddenlythechildbreaksoutof
GideÕsreifying,fragmentinggazebybecominghumanised,awhole
GideÕstargetingofobjectsindevelopmentisnotconfinedtoasexualcontext:he
wasscientificallycurioustowardswrigglingobjectsofnaturalhistory;andina
writerlycontext,MassisarguesthataftertheWar,Gideturnedhisinfluentialsights
fromhiscontemporariestoÔlesconsciencesjuvŽniles,inquites,troublŽesÑencore
informesÑquis'interrogentÕ(ÔLÕInfluencedeM.AndrŽGideÕ,paragraph2).These
malleableboysresembleNathana‘lof
LesNourrituresterrestres
(1897)andthe
youngerbrotherof
LeRetourde lÕenfantprodigue
(1907).
88AndrŽGideandCuriosity
personwhocansee,desireandfeel.GideÕsÔde-humanisingÕcuriosity
stops abruptly,asdoeshisdesire, andempathytakesover:
EttoutˆcoupvoiciBernardinosurmesgenoux,quimÕenlacedesesbras
charmants,metsonmentonsurmonŽpaule,cachesesyeuxcontremoncou
SexualCuriosity89
GideandDouglasspenttendaystogetherinBiskrainFebru-
ary1895andcorrespondedforashorttimeafterwards.
Contact
brokedownonceWildewasreleasedfromprisonandendeddefini-
tivelywhenGideimplicitlysuggestsDouglastohavebeenresponsi-
bleforWildeÕsdownfallin
PrŽtextes
(1903),arevisedversionofhis
HommageˆOscarWilde
(1902).Thisaccusationbecomesexplicitin
Silegrain
,304),towhichDouglasresponds,expressinghishurt
andfuryin a letterofMay1929.Inthemanuscript,Gidewrites:ÔAin-
simÕapparut-ildeplusenplusquedanscettetragiqueaventure,Wilde
ŽtaitmenŽparDouglas,commeiladvientdansdescasdepassionde
cegenre,etdansdÕautres,olÕinfluencedujeunesurlÕa”nŽlÕemporte
etocenÕestpaslÕa”nŽquiconduitÕ (
,1183,n).Thiscontrastswith
GideÕscontemporaryaccount,inwhichheclaimedthatDouglashad
beenÔdŽpravŽjusquÕauxmoellesÕbyWilde (
CorrGideÐMre
,587).
In1895,hehadfearedthesamefatefromcontactwithÔceterrible
WildeÕ(590).
By1921,itisDouglas,notWilde,whois
terrible
304)ÐGidewasnolongertheyounginitiate,buttheinitiatorofothers
anditsuitedhimtoviewtheyoungermanascorruptor.Thisexplains
inpartGideÕs1921professionofsexualincuriositytowardsDouglas.
Whenthenarratorof
Silegrain
writes:ÔAvraidire,Bosy
[Douglas]mÕintŽressaitextrmementÕ(304),andÔBosynemeplaisait
gure;oupourmieuxdire:ilmÕintŽressaitbeaucoupplusquÕilneme
plaisaitÕ(315),narrativecoherencewouldhaveusunderstandthat
AndrŽÕsinterestisnotsexual,butwriterlyorscientific.GideÕsidenti-
ficationwithDouglassuggeststhatGideÕscuriositytowardstheEng-
lishmanwaspartiallyaformofcuriositytowardshisownsexuality:
DouglasÕsexclamation,ÔJÕaihorreurdesfemmesÕ(301),finallyar-
ticulatesAndrŽÕs attitudetowardssexualisedwomenthroughout Part1
ThecorrespondenceisfromSeptember1895toMarch1897;afinalletterexpress-
ingDouglasÕsreactiontohisrepresentationin
Silegrain
wassentinMay1929.See
90AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Silegrain
;DouglasÕsobjectiontoAlisleepingwithMŽriempar-
allelsGideÕsownangeranddisappointmentin
VoyageauCongo
learningthathisfavourite,Adoum,had apparentlysleptwith a woman
,314Ð5,444).AndreÕsdesiretotakehisservantAthmanbackwith
himtoParisechoesDouglasÕsabductionofAli;inthemanuscript
thereisadirectcomparisonbetweenAthmanandAli,whichwould
havebeenintegratedintothepassagewhereAlidescendsfromthe
trainatSŽtif,grandlydressedlikeAladdin:ÔJÕeuslÕoccasionplustard
dÕadmirerquelairdeprinceAthmanŽgalementsavaitprendre,quand
jelÕamenai,aprslÕavoirparŽdevtementssomptueux,certainsoir
danslesalondesDucotŽÕ (
,1185,ah).In1895Douglaswasapro-
jectionofwhatGide,asaliberatedpederast,mightbecomeand,in
part,whathewas.Assuch,hewasausefulscreenwhichallowed
Gidetohint atDouglasÕspederastyinhisletterstohismotherwithout
implicatinghimself.JulietteGideapparentlyintuitedthisnarcissistic
set-up,instructingGidetoavoidDouglasÔetsonpetitArabeÕ:Ôpour-
Gidealsouses thewordÔattractionÕ inrelation toMadeleine,where it isnotexplic-
itlysexual (
,956).CandaceLangsuggeststhatGidecommutedasexualattraction
towardsMadeleineintoaseductionofher through text(CandaceD.Lang,ÔLaSŽduc-
tiond'EmmanuleÕ,in
DŽsir
,133Ð47),butthisscenariocouldnotapply toDouglas.
In1895,Gideregardedasa trend-setter theworldlyDouglas,Ôcefuturmarquis,ce
filsderoiÕ (
CorrGideÐmre
,590).Forexample,herequestedthathismothersend
himhisfineclothesbecauseÔŽtantsanscesseavecLordDouglasetˆc™tŽdeluiˆ
table,jetiensˆgarderuneattitudeunepeufirepournepaspara”tresonprotŽgŽÕ
(602).
SexualCuriosity91
pairings.Alternatively,theattractionmayhavebeenoneoffriendship
andcomplicitybetweenonegaymanandanother:itfunctioned
throughothers(ÔparÕ=ÔˆtraversÕ),aswhenWildesetsupAndrŽÕs
nightwithMohammed,DouglasÕsusualpartner(307).Thisrecalls
numerousotherset-upsofsexrequiringtheintermediaryof a friendin
thetext;
friendshipistherebyundergirdedbycomplicityandacom-
monsexualdesire.
GideÕsidentificationwithDouglasenabledhimtosharethe
subjectpositionofdesiring-sexualcuriosity.Thisisgesturedatwhen
thenarrator,evenbeforefinishingthedescriptionofAndrŽÕsnight
withMohammed,relateshowAndrŽlaterobservesMohammedÕs
sexualcongresswithDanielB.Mohammedstretchesouthisnaked
legsandoffersonetoeachseatedman,hisbodybindingtheirfriend-
ship.
AndrŽseemstoenvisagethere-enactmentofthetriangularfor-
mationofhimself,DouglasandMohammedwhenhedecidestoac-
companyDouglasandAlitoBiskra.Thepitchofanticipationpre-
cedingAliÕsarrivalsuggestsasmuch:AndrŽiskeentoreachBiskra
beforeDouglas;onreceivingadispatchfromDouglasheimpatiently
awaitsthepairat SŽtif:
jecommenaidÕattendreDouglasˆSŽtif[É]Aussibien letrajetdÕAlgerˆ
SŽtifmÕavaitparufurieusementlong.Maiscetteattente,bient™t,meparut
pluslongueencore.QuelleinterminablejournŽe![É]JÕŽtaisimpatientde
conna”treAli.JemÕattendaisˆquelquecaouadjibienmodeste,
miscomme
Mohammedˆpeuprs
.(313,
myitalics
PaulLaurensfacilitatesAndrŽÕssexwithMŽriem;AndrŽfacilitatesPierreLouisÕs
sexwithMŽriem;WildeistheintermediaryforAndrŽÕsnightwithMohammed,and
AndrŽhimselflaterbecomesthefacilitatorforDanielBÕssexwithMohammed;
AndrŽissexuallylinkedtoDouglasviaAli,whohassexwithAndrŽÕsfirstsexual
partner,MŽriem(possiblyfacilitatedbyAthman).Onesexual triangleexperiencedby
GidewaswithGhŽonandMauriceSchlumbergerin1904/05.
EugneRouartwasthehistoricalmodelforDanielB (
,1189,note31)andGide,
DouglasandRouartseemtohaveenjoyedaprovisionaltriangularfriendshipbasedon
sexualconfidences,withDouglaslunchingwithRouartandGideonseveraloccasions
inParis(Mouret,495).UpstagingGideÕsfindofDouglasasanobjectofscientific
curiosity,RouartwritestoGideinJuly1896:ÔJÕairencontrŽuncascurieuxauprs
duquel DouglasnÕestrienÕ (
CorrespondanceAndrŽ Gide,EugneRouart,1893Ð1901;
1902Ð1936
,ed.byDavidH.Walker,2vols[Lyon:PressesuniversitairesdeLyon,
,348).
92AndrŽGideandCuriosity
AsexualtriangleisproposedbythesleepingarrangementsinSetif,
describedinavariant,ofaroomwithtwobedsflankedbyasmaller
onethatbacksontoacorridor,echoingthetwochairsandperching
arrangementoftheDanielBscene.
ButAndrŽisforcedtosleepon
thesmallbed:ÔjecŽdailaplacejÕespresanstropdemauvaisegr‰ce,
ett‰chaidemÕoccuperlemoinspossible,durantlanuit,decequise
passait ˆ c™tŽ [
]Õ.Apparently,AndrŽisforcinghimselftobeincu-
riousbecauseheispeevedathavinghisdesiring-sexualcuriosity
thwarted.
Laterinthetext,thenarratorprotectshimselfinafortress
ofincuriositybyclaimingthatAndrŽwasnotsexuallyattractedtothe
effeminateAlianyway(313).GideagainsharedwithDouglasthe
subjectpositionofdesiring-sexualcuriositythroughanexchangeof
pornographyinFebruary1896(Mouret,487Ð9).In
Silegrain
,Gide
banishesallcomplicitybetweenhisandDouglasÕsdesiring-sexual
curiositywhenhecommentsdisparaginglyonDouglasÕspredatory
appreciationof WildeÕsyoungsonCyril (
,304).
ThetendentiousnessofGideÕssexualincuriositytowards
DouglasappearstobemotivatedbyGideÕsdesiretoblameDouglas
forWildeÕsdownfall;toadmonish,ingeneralterms,theolderpartner
inpederasticrelationships;andcrucially,tocoveruphisownrejected
desiring-sexualcuriosity,whichtargetedDouglasÕssexualpartnerdi-
rectly,andDouglasÕsfriendshipindirectly.Again,professedincuri-
osityfunctionstoprotect againstaformofdesiring-sexualcuriosity.
,1184,ag.Thesmallbedcouldeitherbepositionedatthefootof,or tothesideof,
the twolargebeds.
Asimilarpatternoccursinthe
Journal
whenGidereportshisencounterwithan
ArabattheportinRoueninAugust1904.Hefollowshim,speakstohim,giveshim
somecoins,followshimagain,thistimeintoabar,wheretheArabstrikesupacon-
versationwithagroupofEnglishpeople:ÔJeleregardais
sansgranddŽsirpeut-tre
maisinlassablementÕ (
,429,
myitalics
).Thelanguageisnon-commital:probably
Gidediddesirehim,butheisshutoutfromanycommunionwiththeArabsincein
thecafŽ,ÔtousparlaientlÕanglais;jedŽploraisdenepouvoirlescomprendreÕ.This
couldagainbereadasGideclaimingostensibleincuriositytowardstheArab (
sans
granddŽsir
)inordertodefendhimselfagainstfrustrateddesiring-sexualcuriosity.
SexualCuriosity93
Desiring-SexualCuriosity
Silegrain
,thevirginAndrŽlooksonasAliofSousseoffershim-
self:
JemÕassis,nonloindelui,maispastropprspourtant,et,leregardant
fixementˆmontour,jÕattendis,fortcurieuxdecequÕilallaitfaire.
JÕattendis!JÕadmireaujourdÕhuimaconstanceÉMaisŽtait-ce
bien lacuriositŽquimeretenait?Jenesaisplus.Lemotifsecretdenosac-
IuseÔAliofSousseÕtodistinguishthischaracterfromtheAliwhoaccompanies
Douglaslaterinthetext.
LikeAndrŽÕsimpatientwaitforthearrivalofDouglas (
,313),thefrustratedwait
ofthispassagewouldseemtobuildupsexualtension.Luceyremarksonhowthe
tensesused inthepassageconfusethetimeoftheeventwiththatofitsnarrationand
therebyÔderailmemoryÕ (
GideÕsBent
,30).ThenarratorÕsmovementfrom Ô
Žtait
-ce
bienlacuriositŽÕ toÔcÕ
est
bienlacuriositŽquimefaisaitattendreÉÕsuggeststhat the
curiosityappliesto
both
theprotagonist
thenarrator,who is trying to increasethe
excitementofhistale.
94AndrŽGideandCuriosity
habitudesi invŽtŽrŽe,quesouvent jedoutesijÕenpuisŽchappersansunse-
coursvenudÕailleurs. (
,916[1916])
Inthe1899example,thesubjectisuncertainastowhetherhiscurios-
ityordesireisinthrall;bothseemtobeevenlybalanced.Intheex-
ampleof1910,curiositycommandsthesubjectÕsdesire,providesits
catalystandforce.Theexamplefrom1916pointstothesubjectÕsloss
ofvolition,whichistantamounttoanalcoholicÕs,orthatofaperson
possessedbythedevil.
LibidoandcuriosityarefusedintoaÔcuri-
ositŽsensuelleÕdevoidofemotion,
anditssecret,insidiousnature
preventsitfrombeingrootedoutfromtheself,inwhichithasbecome
ÔunehabitudesiinvŽtŽrŽeÕ.
AcomparisonofthreeEden-likescenesinthe
Ïuvre
again
showcuriosityanddesiretofunctioninterdependently:thegardensof
LaRoque,whereAndrŽ andEmmanulewalkhandinhand (
,219);
thegardensofElKantara,whichAndrŽexperienceswithAthman (
319);andthewoodsin
Printemps
(1939),wheretheadolescentram-
pagesatdawn (
,886Ð87).First,LaRoque,wherecuriosityandde-
sire are absent:
noussortionsquandlamaisondormaitencore.[...].Nousavancions lamain
danslamain,oumoilaprŽcŽdantdequelquespas,silasenteŽtaittrop
EricMartyidentifiesthedevilinthisquotation,Ôpasencorenomm[Ž]certes,mais
trsreconnaissableÕ(EricMarty,ÔLaReligionou larŽpŽtition imaginaireÕ,
,11,
no.58[April1983],217).ForGoulet,thepositiveembodimentofthedemoninGide
is inpartÔlaforcedelacuriositŽÕ (
FVS
,534).
ContrastthiswithGeneviveÕscomment:ÔAmacuriositŽnesemlaitduresteau-
cunesensualitŽÕ (
,857).
SeetheassimilationofthedevilwiththeselfinÔIdentificationdudŽmonÕ (
567Ð68.
InGideÕslife-writing (
LesCahiersetlespoŽsiesdÕAndrŽWalter
Silegrain
SexualCuriosity95
Gidede-sexualisesthetoposofdawn, classicallythetimewhenlovers
mustpart.
ThelackofsexualpossessionallowsEdentobereani-
matedonadailybasis.AndrŽÕssexualincuriositytowardsEm-
manuleparallelshisscientificincuriositytowardsthefauna andwild-
lifeofthegarden.ThesecondEdeninElKantaracovertlyintroduces
sexuality.Intertextually,thelocationissignificant:in
LÕImmoraliste
ElKantaraistheunhallowedburialsiteofMarceline,MichelÕsCatho-
licwife;
LesCaves
,LafcadiogoesonhorsebacktoElKantara
duringhistriptoAlgeriawithLordFaby (
,1029),whomPierre
Massonhasidentifiedasan avatarofWilde.
Inasensethen,AndrŽ
andAthmanarewalkingoverthewomanÕsgraveandrevisitingasite
associatedwithhomosexualawakening.Further,thesceneiscoloured
bythememoryofAndrŽÕssexualliaisonwithAthmanÕsbrother,
Sadek,describedonlyaparagraphbefore.WithSadek,AndrŽcom-
municatedprincipallythroughÔcettetendrefaonquÕilavaitdeme
prendrelesmains,degardermesmainsdanslessiennes,mamain
droitedanssamaindroite,desortequenouscontinuionsdemarcher,
lesbrasmutuellementcroisŽs,silencieuxcommedesombresÕ,apos-
sibleparodyofAndrŽandEmmanuleÕsintertwinedhandsatLaRo-
que.Thenarratorelidesthesesexualovertoneswhenherecallshow
AndrŽandAthmanspentÔdanscetŽdendeuxjoursparadisiaques,
dontlesouvenirnÕarienquedesouriantetdepurÕ (
,319).Thethird
scenecouldbeare-writeoftheEdenofLaRoque,butnoreferences
toEdenaremadeandthetoneisfarclosertotheeroticisedprowling
ofMichelin
LÕImmoraliste
QuinÕapasdevancŽlÕauroreignoretoutcequÕilpeutseglisser,auprin-
temps,dansleshalliers,defrŽmissement,defr™lements incertains,demur-
mures.LÕadolescentfervent,quetourmenteune inquiŽtude inconnue,quitte
sonlitbržlantpourquterlaclefdÕunmystre.[...]ilcourtverslesentier
dubois,sÕyengage,offresonfrontˆlarosŽequesecouentsur lui lesbran-
Cf.ShakespeareÕs
RomeoandJuliet
;GideÕs
LesCaves
,1175Ð76).Seealsoa
briefaccountofthetoposinOldProvenalandOldFrenchin
Eos:AnEnquiryinto
theThemeofLoversÕMeetingsandPartingsat DawninPoetry
ed.byArthurT. Hatto
(TheHague:Mouton,1965),31Ð32.
DavidSteel,ÔADeathintheDesert:GideÕs
LÕImmoraliste
,BowlesÕs
TheShelter-
ingSky
NewComparison
,31(2001),157.
PierreMasson,ÔWildedansLesCavesÕ, in
Gideauxmiroirs:LeromanduXXme
sicle
,ed.bySergeCabiocÕhanePierreMasson(Caen:PressesUniversitairesde
Caen,2002),72Ð73;
,310.
96AndrŽGideandCuriosity
chages;ilestdemcheaveclegibier;lechevreuilnefuitpas;lÕŽcureuilse
cachederrirelÕarbre,maiscÕestpourjouer;ilparvientˆlÕorŽedubois,et
Gidebeganwriting
Printemps
shortlyafterMadeleineÕsdeathinApril1938.The
evocationofboundlesscuriosity in
Printemps
isprobably linked to theabsenceofher
brakingforce,describedbySegal (
P&P
,125).
ForaglimpseofMartinduGardÕsvoyeuristicpractises,see
RMG J
,395.
GideÕsfascinationforÔcettemaniedesuivrelesgensÕisreportedina
Journal
entry
SexualCuriosity97
GoetheÕsÔfeelingeyeÕandÔseeinghandÕ).Ofscopophilia,hewrites:
Ôvisualimpressionsremainthemostfrequentpathwayalongwhich
libidinalexcitationis aroused.[...]Theprogressiveconcealmentofthe
bodywhichgoes alongwith civilizationkeepssexual curiosityawake.
Thiscuriosityseekstocompletethesexualobjectbyrevealingitshid-
denpartsÕ.Gideassociatestouchingandscopophiliainaproposed
ÔprojetdesermonÕ:
Cf.ÔLetempsd'unseinnu/Entredeuxchemises!Õ(PaulValŽry,ÔLeSylpheÕ,in
PoŽsies
,1929[Paris:NRF,1958],83).
HenriGhŽonÐAndrŽGideCorrespondance
,ed.byAnne-MarieMoulnesandJean
Tipy,2vols(Paris:Gallimard,1976),
,379.
GideÕsadviceandcoercivegestureoftakingtheoldestboybythearmcouldalso
beunderstoodasa threat, theunderlyingmessagebeing,ÔTakemeintoyour trustorI
98AndrŽGideandCuriosity
therprolonged(orswiftlyreoriented)whenanotherboyproffershis
arm.WheninGidetheprogressionfromvoyeurismtotouchis
thwarted,thesubjectisfilledwithanguish,asillustratedbyGideÕs
responsetowatchingchildrenbathingintheseainBrittanyinthe
summerof1889:ÔjÕauraisvoulumebaigneraussiprsdÕeuxet,de
mesmains,sentirladouceurdeleurpeauh‰lŽe.MaisjÕŽtaistoutseul;
alorsungrandfrissonmÕapriset,danslÕeffondrementdÕunrve,jÕai
pleurŽcommeunenfantÕ (
,86).GideÕshatredofdisappointment
hereresultsingrief,whereaswithDouglasitresultedinaggressive
claimsofincuriosity.
Itisusefultoconceiveofdesiring-sexualcuriosityasahunt,
whichinGidebuildsupfromvoyeurismtoscopophiliatochaseand
ultimatelytocapture(touch).Atwood,discussingherbooktitleof
Cu-
riousPursuits
,writes:
PerhapsÔcuriousÕasawordcarriestoolightaweight:mycuriositiesare(I
hope)notidleones.ÔPassionateÕmighthavebeenmoreaccurate;however,
itwouldhavegivenawrongimpression,anddisappointedafewmenin
raincoats.
AsforÔpursuitsÕ,itÕsanounthatcontainsaverb.Whatcanyou
everdowithrealitybutchaseitaround?YoucanÕtexpecttocaptureitin
anyfinalway,becausethethingkeepsmoving.Picturemethen,butterfly
netorpopgun inhand,flappingover thefieldswiththeelusivesubjectsflit-
tingawayintothedistance,orcrouchedbehindthebushesinhopesofcat-
chingaglimpse.
HermentionofÔpassionateÕgesturestowardstheblurringofdesire
andcuriositypreviouslydiscussed;this,juxtaposedtotheimageofthe
crouchingspy/voyeur,makesspacefor a sexualisedunderstandingof
pursuit.Writingontheinterlinkingofcuriosityanddesireindetective
stories,thateminentlyhunting-orientedmodeoffiction,AndreaGou-
letdescribesasblood-lusttheimpulsewhichdrivesthemurdererto
hiscrimeandthedetectivetothesourceofthatcrime.HerÔblood-
lustÕ,likeAtwoodÕsÔcuriouspursuitsÕ,alsohassexualovertones,the
detectivespursuingtheirinvestigationswithanÔeccentricardorÕ
whichexposesÔthelibidinalÐevensavageÐenergiesthatsubtend[...]
reasonÕ.
WhereasinGideÕs
Silegrain
thechildAndrŽhuntsinsects,
plants andfish,forthe adultGideintellectualfood andpubescentboys
Atwood,
CuriousPursuits
,xv.
ÔCuriosityÕsKillerInstinctÕ,51.
SexualCuriosity99
weretobehuntedaswell:ÔlÕenfance,aurait-ilpuaffirmer[É],ÒcÕest
mongibierÓÕ,notesSteel,
andJeanCocteauremarksthatGidehad
Ôcetteragedechasser ˆ courreetdepoursuivreunhommecommeune
meuteÕ.
ThetraditionalhuntboresAndrŽbecauseitdemandsnoskill
otherthanaimingtokill (
,125),andtherebyhastenstheendofthe
delightsofthepursuit;fishing,however,ismarvellous,becauseitde-
mandsÔruseÕ,ÔhabiletŽÕandÔsurpriseÕ (
,125Ð26).Thisviewissec-
ondedbyAndrŽÕsresponsetotheprofessionalinsectcollectionhein-
heritedfromthenaturalist FŽlix-ArchimdePouchet:
certesjefusflattŽdÕenavoirŽtŽjugŽdigne;maisjenÕaipassouvenirquÕil
mÕaitfaitunbienŽnormeplaisir.Mapauvrecollectionparticulire,auprs
decetrŽsor,paraissaittrophumiliŽe;etcombienmÕyŽtaitplusprŽcieux
chacundecesinsectesquejÕyavaisŽpinglŽsmoi-mme,aprslesavoir
moi-mmecapturŽs.CequejÕaimais,cenÕŽtaitpaslacollection,cÕŽtaitla
chasse.(144)
(Note againthedesiretohavetouchedtheobjectoneself,which corre-
spondstowhatSartreexpressesasÔledŽsirdefaireÕ:ÔIlnesÕagitpas
seulementqueteltableau,dontjÕailÕidŽe,existe;ilfautencorequÕil
existe
parmoi
DavidSteel,ÔLÕEnfancesaisieÕ,179.Bycontrast, thechildAndrŽisÔ[le]misŽrable
gibierÕofhisbullyingclassmatesinMontpellier (
,151).
JeanCocteau,ÔGidevivantÕ,in
PoŽsiecritique
,2vols(Paris:Gallimard,1959),
208Ð33,210.Thatsaid,TrumanCapote,observingameetingbetweenCocteauand
theoctogenarianGideinSicily,suggeststhatCocteautriedinvaintoprovokeGide
intopursuit:CocteauwasÔtheranbow-wingedanddancingdragonfly invitingthetoad
[Gide]notmerelytoadmirebutperhapsdevourhim.[É]Asthough[GideÕs]stom-
ach turnedat thethoughtofdigestingsuchfancy-colouredfodder,heremainedahun-
gerlessfroguponathornyfrondÕ(TrumanCapote,
TheDogsBark:PublicPeopleand
PrivatePlaces
[NewYork:RandomHouse,1973]371).
100AndrŽGideandCuriosity
654,657,671).Theboringtraditionalhuntisexemplifiedinsexual
termswhenGidesubmitstothelift-boyÕs advancesandexperiencesa
ÔtrsmŽdiocreplaisir,sanssurprise,sansjoie,sanspoŽsie,etpuissans
appŽtitaucun,sansbesoin;trsbref,etsuividÕuntrsdurabledŽgožtÕ
(668).Gideismorepassionateaboutthenever-endingchaseevoked
byAtwood.
GideÕsapathytowardssexualpossessioninthenormalsense
suggeststhathemayhavere-locatedthesiteofpossessiontothe
pointsoflookingandtouching.
Sartrearticulatesthispossibilityin
complexedÕActŽon
DanslÕidŽemmededŽcouverte,derŽvŽlation,uneidŽedejouissanceap-
propriativeestincluse.Lavueestjouissance,voircÕestdŽflorer.SilÕon
examinelescomparaisonsordinairementutilisŽespourexprimerlerapport
duconnaissantauconnu,onvoitquebeaucoupdÕentreellesseprŽsentent
commeuncertainviolparlavue.[É]Onarrachelesvoilesdelanature,on
ladŽvoile[É];touterecherchecomprendtoujourslÕidŽedÕunenuditŽ
quÕonmetˆlÕairenŽcartantlesobstaclesquilacouvrent,commeActŽon
ŽcartelesbranchespourmieuxvoirDianeaubain.EtdÕailleurs laconnais-
sanceestunechasse.Bacon lanommechassedePan.Lesavantest lechas-
seurquesurprendunenuditŽblancheetquilavioledesonregard.Aussi
lÕensembledecesimagesnousrŽvle-t-ilquelquechosequenousnomme-
ronslecomplexedÕActŽon.(
L'Etreet lenŽant
,666Ð67)
ProwlingisaneroticisedformofthehuntinGide.In
LÕImmoraliste
MichelbecomesaprowlerafterdiscoveringÔlÕaffreusevoluptŽde
celuiquibraconne...Õandthedelightsofconsortingwithlow-life (
667,682).MassisdescribesprowlingasÔamourduplusrisquŽ,gožt
detournerautourduscandale,desÕybržlerleboutdesdoigts,curi-
ositŽdumalÕ,
andtheactivityfusesthesensualityofplace(country-
sideorcityscape)withsexualpursuit.WithMichel,however,thispur-
suitislimitedtolisteningtoseedystoriesandvoyeurismoffarm
workers,thebeautifulPierre(441Ð42),andtheincestuousHeurtevent
household(445Ð46).Onlyoncedoeshisprowlingresultinbodily
contact,wheninKairouanhesleepsnexttoagroupofArabsand
catchestheirvermin(465).MichelÕsprowlingisasexualpursuitthat
SexualCuriosity101
neverreachesitstarget;heremains,inthewordsofFrancisJammes,
ÔpŽdŽrasteenvainÕ,ÔilcommetdesactionsquinÕ
aboutissent
pasÕ.
GideÕsprowling,bycontrast,is amoreconvincingre-configurationof
thesiteofnormalsexualpossessionbecausehetargetsspecificindi-
viduals.InSeptember1901,GidereportedtoGhŽonanightonthe
boulevardsof Paris:
CorrespondanceFrancisJammesÐAndrŽGide,1893Ð1938
,ed.byRobertMallet
(Paris:Gallimard,1948),195Ð96.
Seealso
,550,and
,86,whereGidegiveschaseonlyafterbeingÔpursuedÕhim-
selfbythechildrenÕsbeauty.Thisrhythmisalsofollowedintwofictionalepisodes
featuringsexuallychargedgamesofone-upmanship: thatofLafcadio,JuliusandPro-
tosin
LesCaves
,1140Ð47);andofMichel,MoktirandMŽnalquein
LÕImmoraliste
,648Ð50).
RobertGraves,
GreekMyths
,1955,illustratededn(London:Penguin,1981),34.
102AndrŽGideandCuriosity
predationandnopredationwithoutdangertobothpredatorandpreyÕ
P&P
,216).Gidearguesthatcuriositycanbedrivenbydanger,as
wheninsectsareattractedtoaflame:Ôilsubsistepeut-tredanslacu-
riositŽquelquechosedÕanalogueˆcela,etˆcettefascination.[...]
Cettefascinationentra”nelÕanimalˆsaperte.EllesÕopposeˆtousles
autresŽlansquelÕonpeutrattacherˆlÕÒinstinctdeconservationÓÕ
NJP
,171).Gideidentifiesthisdangerousfascinationinhumankind,
termingcuriosityÔleplusdangereuxdetouslesressortsquinousac-
tiventÕ.ButthemostdangerousexampleIcanfindofGideÕsprowling
activitiesisrelativelyminor:
Unmatin,aupetitdŽjeuner[É][Gide]nousdemandaavecinquiŽtudesi
nousavionsŽtŽrŽveillŽspardesbruits,assez tarddanslasoirŽe.IlavaitŽtŽ
poursuivijusquÕˆlÕh™telparunehordedegaminsquiluiauraientpeut-tre
faitunmauvaisparti,sÕilnesÕŽtaitrŽfugiŽdansuncafŽ,dÕounchauffeur
avaitoffertdelÕaccompagnerÉ(Lambert,104)
Therealdangeremanatesfromfemaleandfeminineobjectsofcurios-
ity,asrepresentedherebyDiana.BecauseGideisincurioustowards
them,hehaslittletofear.
Sartredoesnotbelievethatcuriositycanbedrivenbydanger:
Ôonchassepourmanger.LacuriositŽchezlÕanimalesttoujours
sexuelleoualimentaireÕ(667)PerhapsSartreisright?IntheÔAdol-
pheÕepisode,GidewantedsexandÔAdolpheÕameal.Gideescaped
thechildrenÕsviolence;rarely,judgingfromhisrecordedsexualsuc-
cesses,didtheboysescapehisadvances.
Moreover,althoughGideÕs
Proteanqualitiesseemtomakehimparticularlysuitedtothefluid
role-playofpursuerandpursued,therolesheadoptsaregenerally
predatory:theportraitistPierreSicheldescribedhow,intheonesit-
ting,Gidefirst appearedtohim asagreatwriter,andthen,inturn, asa
wickedboy,abandit,aninternationalpoliticalspyandaslavetrader
NRFH
,268Ð9).TrumanCapoterecallsaconversationwiththe
eighty-year-oldGideinSicily,duringwhichGidetooktheposeofa
Ôwiseold...[...]buzzardÕ (
TheDogsBark
,xvi).Gideagainheldfirm
tohissubjectpositionincuriosity:inthe
CarnetsdÕEgypte
Gidefol-
lowsAlithroughasordidvillageandintoadarkroom;whenAliof-
fershisbacksidetoGide,Gideabortstheadventure,suddenlyaware
thathemightbecomevictimtorobbery.Segalcommentsofthiscon-
SeeSegal,
P&P
,217.
SexualCuriosity103
fession:Ôcuriosityis[GideÕs]motive,thewilltobebeckonedbutnot
suchforgetfulnessofselfthatheignoresthepracticalrisksofhistour-
ism,andaboveallnotapenetrativeact.Õ
GideÕssexualcuriosityis
extreme,butmeasured.Sartre,inÔGidevivantÕ,writesofÔcemŽlange
dÕaudaceetdecautlequi[...]rendGideexemplaireÕ,anddescribes
GideÕsÔtŽmŽritŽrŽflŽchieÕ,ÔcourageetprudenceÕ,Ôcompromisentre
lerisqueetlargleÕandÔprudenteaudaceÕ.
SeldomifeverinGide
doesDianasetherhoundsonthecurioussubject;nordoesthecurious
subjectletgoofAriadneÕsthread.Cocteauwrites:Ôilvoulaittre
lÕarchitecteetlevisiteurdesonlabyrinthe.Ilaimaityentra”nerles
jeunesetsÕyperdreaveceux,maisilnÕenquittaitjamaislefilÕ(Coc-
teau,210).LikeTheseusandPrometheus,Gidewasgenerallyableto
returntosecurityafterhiscuriouspursuit.
Thetremendouscontrol
Gideexercisesoverhissexualcuriosity(andthatofhispartners)gives
risetomoreinterestingchasesandismoreamenabletoaestheticrep-
resentation, asweshallsee.
Desiring-SexualCuriosityinTravel-Writing
GidetravelledwidelyinEuropeandNorthAfrica,andmadetripsto
theCongoandChad,Egypt,Senegal,theSudan,Guineaandthe
USSR.ReadingFlaubert,agednineteen,Gidewasovercomewithex-
citement:ÔCeFlaubertestgrisant:ˆlireseslettres,ilmeprenddes
ragesŽnormesdevoyager,dÕŽprouverdessensationsnouvelles,in-
connues,voirdespaysetdeschoses,conna”tredÕautreslangues,et
surtoutdelireÕ (
,59).
PriortohisdeparturefromMontpellierto
SpaininMarch1893,Gidewasstilllike a dogstraining atitsleash:
JÕaivŽcujusquÕˆvingt-troisanscompltementviergeetdŽpravŽ;affolŽtel-
lementquÕenfinjecherchaispartoutquelquemorceaudechairopouvoir
appliquermeslvres.
SatidenuditŽ
SaigneˆperpŽtuitŽ.
Segal,ÔGideinEgypt1939Õ,148.
Sartre,ÔGidevivantÕ,in
Situations
,10vols(Paris:Gallimard,1947Ð76),
(1964),
85Ð89,87.
Cf.thesecurepresenceprovidedby themotherfigureinWinnicott(ch.1).
Seealso
,175.
104AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Nousregardions, tousdeuxpenchŽsˆlafentre,lesoir,lesteintes
sur lamerenfinplusdŽlicatesetplusmauves.LecrŽpusculesÕŽtendait. (
Gidetravelledtoexperiencethingsthatexcitedhisdesire.Newlands
werelustedafterbecausetheyheldnewbodies.In1939,Gideunam-
biguouslystates:
JeveuxdirequÕunpaysnemepla”tquesidemultiplesoccasionsdeforni-
cationseprŽsentent.Lesplusbeauxmonumentsdumondenepeuventrem-
placercela;pourquoinepaslÕavouerfranchement? (
,648)
Desireandcuriosityareagainshackledtogether:ÔAuplusbeaupay-
sagedumondejenesauraisprtermoncÏur,sijenÕypuisaimerle
peuplequilÕhabiteÕ (
,768).GideÕstravelthen,isprowlingonan
internationalscale.
Turkey,whichGidevisitedinSpring1914,lefthimtotally
incuriousbecauseofwhathedescribesastheuglinessandlackofra-
cialunityofthepeople:Ôlepays,lepeupletoutentierdŽpasseenin-
firmitŽ,eninformitŽ,lÕapprŽhensionoulÕespŽranceÕ (
,779).He
evencutshorthistripinordertoreturnmorequicklytoGreece,the
countrywherehecouldexperiencetheÔcalmevoluptueuxdelachairÕ
,786),andwhoseculturehehadassimilated (
,646).Beforear-
rivinginTurkey,Gideportentouslyremarkedontheuglinessofthe
Bulgarians.InConstantinople,heobserves:ÔLecostumeturcestce
quÕonpeutimaginerdepluslaid;etlarace,vraiment,lemŽriteÕ(768);
inBursa (
),ÔlepeupleestlaidÕ(769);atIznik (
NicŽe
),a
childÕsfaceiseatenawaybyacanker;oftheboyscoutsatKonya,
Gidewrites:ÔtousdŽjˆlaidscommedesTurcs;[...]futurevigueurdu
pays,grotesquesethideuxÕ(780);andonlygrudginglydoesheadmit
thatsomeofthedervishespayingtributetotheYoungTurkMinister
oftheInteriorhaveÔunadmirablevisageÕ(781).Thisaversioncomes,
inpart,fromadislikeofhybrids:theuglyinhabitantsofBursa arede-
scribedasÔlÕŽcumequelescivilisationsontlaissŽeÕ(769);even
Greeks,normallyadmiredbyGideaspartofhiscelebrationofGreek
unity,harmonyandbalance(786),areconsidereduglythemoment
theytransportthemselvestoTurkeyanddonafez(779Ð80);ofeve-
rythingthatGidehasseen,KonyaisÔ[...]deplushybride,deplusvul-
gaireetdepluslaidÕ (
,779).
Significantly,GidefindstheTurksabrasive:ÔMaisicijene
feraispointdÕamisÕ(769);ÔpassŽdouzeans,dixansmme,lÕenfant
SexualCuriosity105
turcsetientsurlarŽserve,ondirait:surladŽfensiveÕ(776).Wehave
seenthisscenariooncebefore,inthecontextofDouglasandAli:
theretoothedesireofthesubject-as-protagonistisrejectedandthe
subject-as-narratorretaliatesbydenigratingtheobjectandassuming
incuriositytowardsit.Theretoo,thedenigrationentailsanaccusation
ofhybridity:theeffeminacyofDouglasandAlithatrendersthemun-
desirable alignsthemtotheÔhomme-femmeÕcategoryofhomosexuals
thatGiderelegatesfrom
Corydon
,60).Gidemayhaveclaimed
incuriositytowardstheTurksinordertodisguisetheirincuriosityto-
wardshim.Hecertainlyneededsomemeansofvanquishingthedis-
appointmentoftravelthathasnosexualdimension:ÔLÕobsessionde
cespays,quimetourmentaitdepuissilongtemps,estvaincue;cette
atrocecuriositŽÕ (
,785).
Inearly1939,GidejourneyedaloneinEgypt,thesettingfor
someofhismostexplicitlydocumentedsexualcuriosity.
Arrivingin
Cairo,GideisÔdansunŽtatdÕincuriositŽtotaleÕ(
,643).Hehankers
forabeautifulfacethatcanbreakÔcetennuiÕ(644),andpleasehis
eyes (
,643;cf.
,779).TodissipatehisviewthatEgyptiansare
ugly,Giderequiresafamiliarfoothold (
,44),andthishegains
on a visittotheEgyptianMuseum:
JÕaisentisoudainlÕartdelÕancienneEgypteserattacherˆ
culture;de-
vantlui,jenemesentaisplus
Žtranger
.ParcetimmŽmorialpassŽ,jÕaipu
reprendrecontactavecleprŽsent[...];et, maintenant,danslasalledurestau-
rantdu
Shepheard
sic
]ojÕŽcrisceci,jereconnaistouslesservantsbasa-
nŽsdelÕh™tel,pareilsˆceuxdutempsdespharaons,beaucoupmoinslaids
quÕilsnemeparaissaientdÕabord,ayantgardŽ,lelongdessicles,unein-
changeablephysionomie.(646Ð47)
ThecessationofGideÕsculturalalienationbringstoanendhissense
ofsexual alienation.
Henolongerconsiderstheindigenousblacks as
ugly,butengageswiththemthroughconversation,gazeandcaress.
Theseindividualsinclude:theboycarryinglettuceswhoisÔrobusteÕ,
ÔrayonnantdesantŽ,dejoieÕ(648);
theexhibitionistgardenersatthe
Segalsuggests thatGideÕslackofatravellingpartnercausedhimtotreatthenote-
booksof the
CarnetsdÕEgypte
ashiscruisingcompanion(ÔGideinEgypt1939Õ,147).
Gideshowstheinterdependenceofdesireandculture indialogue
Corydon
SexualcuriosityisherelinkedtoeatingasGidecrunchesonthelettuceleavesthe
boycarefullyselectsforhim,evokingSartreÕsassertioninthe
complexedÕActŽon
that:ÔConna”tre,cÕestmangerdesyeux[Note:PourlÕenfant,conna”trecÕestmanger
106AndrŽGideandCuriosity
hotel,ofwhomtheyoungestisten(652,653Ð54,668);theboywho
guideshisdonkey(655);themostreservedgardener(654,657[sco-
pophilicpleasuresonly]);anotherdonkey-guide,Zadig,whooffers
Gide analsex(664);thevigorousSudaneseboat-man(664);Egyptian
scouts(666);thelift-boy(668);andÔ™stupeur!
anewboy
Õ,whois
pushedGideÕswaybyhisfather,theheadwaiter(669).
Gidecarefullyandartisticallymodulateshissexualcuriosity
fromintenseperiodstolacklustreones,inwhichheturnsawayfrom
theadvancesofEgyptianboys,ostensiblybecauseheismoroseabout
growingolder,hasalowerlibidothanbefore(648),dislikesanal
sex,
andisrepelledbygluttony:inacountrywhereboysnoteven
familiarwithGideÕssexualpreferencesgrabandexhibittheirpenises
inresponsetoasmile,theauthorisliterallyspoiltforchoice(673).
Moreconvincingly,GideÕsclaimsofnon-desireare,ifnotbluff,then
atleasttheexpressionofamanwhoispacinghimself,whowantsto
controlandmoderatethedegreeofhisdesireforthedurationofthe
textinorderthatitculminateinthemostsatisfyingclimaxpossible.
Gideappearstobeactingoutaformofmeta-foreplaythattranscends
individualsexualacts,inorderthattheyclimaxinthesexsceneofp.
671,involvingÔlÕaide-jardinierÕ,Ali andtheoarsman.
GideÕs abilitytoplaywithhisdesiring-sexualcuriosity,which
isatoddswiththeviewthatcuriosityleavesthesubjectatthemercy
effectivement.Ilveut
gožter
cequÕilvoit]Õ(Sartre,
LÕEtreetlenŽant
,667);Ôonvoit
lesracinesdigestivesetsensuellesqueserŽunissentpourdonnernaissanceaudŽsirde
conna”treÕ(668).
FordescriptionsofGideÕssexualinsatiability ingeneral,see
RMG J
,232Ð33;and
onholiday inGreecein1939,Levesque,ÔEnGrceavecGideÕ.
Gidetwicecommentsthat,unliketheEgyptians,theArabsofNorthAfricadonot
offeranalsex(649,658).
Gidespiesaperfectnookintheembankmentforhavingsex,ÔsiseulementjÕen
gardaisledŽsir;maislasurabondancedesoffresmÕenlvelÕappŽtit,et,lepeudecuri-
ositŽ,quimerestaitencore,satisfaite,jedemandeaubatelierdemerameneraudŽbar-
cadreÕ(664).
Cf.themodulationofthescenewithAliofSousse (
,279);andJeanClaudeand
SexualCuriosity107
ofademon,isillustratedbyhisexchangeswiththeEgyptianAli:ÔAli
revintˆmoi,rentradansletaudisojenelesuivisquedÕassezmau-
vaisegr‰ce,maiscurieuxdugenredepropositionsquÕilallaitfaire,
encorequerŽsoluˆnelespointaccepterquellesquÕellesfussentÕ (
649).Gideswitchesoffhisdesiring-sexualcuriositywhenAlimakes
himaproposalofanalsex:ÔCelamesuffisait[...].Jesavaiscequeje
voulaissavoirÕ(649).Yetonleaving,hecaressestheboytogivehim
somehopeÔpouruneautrefoisÕ,
andfourdayslater,Gidegoesout
ÔaveclevagueespoirderetrouverAliÕ(651).Afterthemarketin
Luxor,Gideventuresoutsidethetown:ÔjÕaicherchŽˆretrouver,dans
uneruellequejecrusreconna”tre,laportedelapetitecouromÕavait
faitentrerAliÕ(652).GideÕssexualincuriositytowardsAliisrein-
forcedbymoraldisapprovalthattheraggedAlimightbeabeggar
(652),butthisresistanceappearsfeigned,intendedrathertobeafor-
mativepreludetoperfectsex:bytheclosingpages,Alihaslearned
howtomakeloveproperly:ÔRarementpareillerŽciprocitŽdecaresses,
pareillelenteur amusŽe. PasundŽfautdans ce corpstoutjeuneencoreÕ
(671).Gidesucceedsinprolonginghisdesiring-sexualcuriosityto-
wardsAlithroughoutthetext.Theimageoftheboat-manlookingon
asGideandAlifornicatemightpersonifyapartofGide,and/orthe
reader.
Desiring-SexualCuriosity/Fetishism
Montesquieuconceivesofcuriosityasthedesiretoravishordeflower
thevirginunknown,contendingthatthereisfinitesupplyofcurious
objects.
ForKlausMann,GideÕseyes,Ôpleins[...]dÕŽt
onnementet
dereconnaissance[...]sÕouvrentsurunm
ondeencoreviergeÕ (
NRFH
8).Sartretapsintothisvirginaltradition:ÔLÕobjetnonconnuestdon-
nŽcommeimmaculŽ,commevierge[...].IlnÕapasencoreÒlivrŽÓson
secret,lÕhommeneleluiapasencoreÒarrachŽÓÕ(
Giderepeatsthistacticwiththeexhibitionistgardeners:ÔamusŽmaisˆpeuprs
insensible; leurdonnantpourtantˆchacununedemi-piastre,pournepointlesdŽcour-
agerÕ(668).
Montesquieu,ÔDiscoursprononcŽˆlarentrŽedelÕAcadŽmiedeBordeauxle15
novembre1717Õ,in
Îuvrescompltes
(Paris:Seuil,1964),45Ð46,45.
108AndrŽGideandCuriosity
LÕimportantestdetrouverunemŽthode(ouuneabsencedemŽthode)devie
quiprŽserveˆlafoislasaveurdelÕobjetetnotrepropregourmandise.DŽ-
senchantementprogressifdetoutlÕuniversdÕunepart;satiŽtŽdelÕautre:il
semblequecesoit lˆlebutque lÕonsepropose;ilnÕenestpasquelÕonat-
teigneplusfacilementetpluscommunŽment,hŽlas! (
,1260)
Sartreobservesthisdesiretoreconcileassimilationandmaintaining
theobjectÕsintegrity:
OnremarqueralÕimportancedanslesimaginationsna•vesdusymboledu
ÔdigŽrŽindigesteÕ,lecailloudanslÕestomacdelÕautruche,Jonasdans
lÕestomacdelabaleine.IlmarqueunrvedÕassimilationnondestructrice.
LemalheurestqueÐcomme lenotaitHegelÐledŽsirdŽtruitsonobjet.(En
cesens,disait-il,ledŽsirestdŽsirdemanger.) (
L'Etreet lenŽant
,667Ð68)
ThesolutionSartreproposesisthe
complexedeJonas
,which,like
BorisÕsÔrecherchedesÒbiensimaginairesÓÕ(31),functionsthrough
fantasy and appliesto a sexualcontext.Hewrites:
EnrŽactioncontrecettenŽcessitŽdialectique,lePour-soirvedÕunobjet
quiseraitentirementassimilŽparmoi,quiserait
moi
,sanssedissoudreen
moi,engardantsastructuredÕ
en-soi
,car,justementcequejedŽsire,cÕest
cet
objetet,sijelemange,jenelÕaiplus,jenerencontreplusquemoi.
CettesynthseimpossibledelÕassimilationetdelÕintŽgritŽconservŽede
lÕassimilŽserejoint,danssesracines lesplusprofondes,aveclestendances
fondamentalesdelasexualitŽ.LaÔpossessionÕcharnelleeneffetnousoffre
lÕimageirritanteetsŽduisantedÕuncorpsperpŽtuellementpossŽdŽetper-
pŽtuellementneuf,surlequellapossessionnelaisseaucunetrace.CÕestce
quesymboliseprofondŽmentlaqualitŽdeÔlisseÕ,deÔpoliÕ.Cequiestlisse
peutseprendre,set‰ter,etnÕendemeurepasmoins impŽnŽtrable,nÕenfuit
pasmoinssouslacaresseappropriative,commelÕeau.CÕestpourquoilÕon
insistetant,danslesdescriptionsŽrotiques,surlablancheurlisseducorps
delafemme.Lisse:quisereformesous lacaresse,commelÕeausereforme
surlepassagedelapierrequilÕatrouŽe.(668)
Thesubject,inimagination,Ôhashis/hercakeandeatsitÕ.Thisoccurs
inGide:toChristÕsdyingwords,ÔToutestconsommŽÉÕ,thespeaker
LeTraitŽduNarcisse
responds:Ônon!toutestˆrefaire,ˆrefaire
ŽternellementÕ (
,174);in
Silegrain
,thenarratorÕsmemoryofthe
ElKantaragardens,despitetheirassociationwithAndrŽÕspederasty,
ÔnÕarienquedesouriantetdepurÕ (
,319).GideÕsfantasiesofmarble
ÐEmileXasclassicalGreeknude (
,328),andthechildof
Ac-
,878)Ð,complementedbyGideÕsÔphantasmesaqua-
SexualCuriosity109
tiquesÕ,
achievethesmooth,polishedeffectusedinthe
complexede
Jonas
tocreatetheillusionoftheobjectÕsvirginitystillbeingintact.
Notably,theelementsGideusestofacilitatethecoexistence
ofcuriosityanddesirearethesameasthoseSartreunderstandsasfa-
cilitatingtheprolongingofcuriositybeyonddiscovery,namelyfrag-
mentationandreification,whichincludemarblefantasies.Theseele-
mentsalsosignalfetishism.Forexample,KobenaMercershowshow
fetishismexploitsÔthe
sculptural
codeÕ,wherebyÔtheidealizedphy-
siqueofaclassicalGreekmalestatueissuperimposedÕonthefet-
ishisedobject.
Infetishism,thereisashiftfromcuriositytowards
realobjectsintodesiretowardsfantasyobjects,towhichthegazeis
drawntimeandagain.Asdesiring-sexualcuriositybecomesmore
weightedonthesideofdesire,itgraduallymorphsintofetishism,
whichobscuresthefactthattheobjecthasbeendiscoveredanddi-
vestedofitscuriosity,therebymakingitÔever-curiousÕ,i.e.fascinat-
ingormesmerising.Theclosebutambiguousrelationshipbetween
desiring-sexualcuriosityandfetishismisillustratedbyGideÕsdiscus-
sionofgoliathbeetlesin
Nejugezpas
,inwhich,desistingfromtalk-
ingofÔla
curiositŽ
desgoliathsÕ,heseesinthebeetleÕsÔfascinationÕ
ÔunembryondelacuriositŽhumaineÕ (
NJP
,165).This
curi-
fascination
ofthebeetleisparalleledtothatofthebird,which
precipitatesitsmovementintoÔlabŽantegueuleduserpentÕ,aspace
evocativeoffemalesexualitythroughtheholeandtheallusiontoEve.
Itwouldseemthatthemalesubjectwithhiswitsabouthimmaybe
curious,whilehewholoseshiswitstodesirerisksdoomthroughfas-
cination.Thisispartofthecontinuumlinkingdesiring-sexualcurios-
itytofetishism.
,249andDavidSteelÕschapterÔLÕenfantŽchansonÕ,in
LeThmedel'enfance
dansl'oeuvred'AndrŽ Gide
,335Ð70.Thesefantasies include:theÔGribouilleÕstory (
117); themoatofLaRoque (
,122Ð23); thewaterfallsandpoolsofLamalou-le-Haut
,155);thechildrenbathingintheseainBrittany (
,86,
,101Ð2);and
Ac-
quasanta
KobenaMercer,
WelcometotheJungle:NewPositionsinBlackCulturalStudies
(London:Routledge,1994),178.
110AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Fetishism
FetishistdiscoursedrawsonMarxistandFreudiantraditions.Marx
discussesfetishisminrelationtocommodities,demonstratinghow
theirexchangevalueisnotdeterminedbytheirÔuse-valueÕorbythe
qualityorquantityoflabourthathasgoneintotheirmanufactureÕ.
Rather,theproducttakesonaseparateÔenigmaticÕandÔmysteriousÕ
lifeofitsown,determinedbyÔthedefinitesocialrelationbetween
menthemselveswhichassumeshere,forthem,thefantasticformofa
relationbetweenthings.[...]Thisfetishismoftheworldofcommodi-
tiesarisesfromthepeculiarsocialcharacterofthelabourwhichpro-
ducesthemÕ(165).Thisrevealstheantagonismbetweencuriosity,
whichseeksknowledgeofanobjectinitsfacticity,andfetishism,
whichdisconnectsanobjectfromitsphysicalpropertiesandputsit
insteadintoaÔfantasticÕrelationshipwithitsenvironment.(Similarly,
inthe
complexedeJonas
,thesubjectdisconnectsfromthefactthat
theobjecthasbeendiscoveredandfantasisesthatitremainsdiscover-
able.)
InFreudianfetishismtheobjectisalsoinstilledwithatran-
scendentalvalueinthatitfunctions as a substitute andmaskforsome-
thingperceivedtobelacking:ÔThefetishisasubstituteforthe
womanÕs(themotherÕs)penisthatthelittleboyoncebelievedin andÐ
forreasonsfamiliartousÐdoesnotwanttogiveupÕ(
PFL
VII
,352).
Thefetishobject allowsthesubjecttofantasisethatthemotherhasnot
beenÔcastratedÕ(353), andthis alignsittotheÔrvedÕassimilationnon
destructriceÕofthe
complexedeJonas
. Freudianfetishismisproblem-
aticinanumberofareas,andEmilyApterwritesofitsÔinfelicitous
ascriptionsÕ.
Byitslogicamalehomosexualcannotbeafetishist
becauseextremecastrationangsttriggerseitherhomosexualityorfet-
ishism (
PFL
VII
,353Ð54);norcanawoman,becauseshedoesnotun-
dergocastrationangst.Moreover,FreudÕspremiseofwomenÕsÔcas-
trationÕisitselffantasy:CharlesBernheimershowshowÔthetruthof
castration[...]is[...]aphallocentricdeceit:womancannotbedeprived
SexualCuriosity111
ofanorganthatwasneverhersinthefirstplace.Õ
Bernheimerviews
fetishismasbeinginherentintheideologyofdecadence,advocating
Ô(male)artificeover(female)nature,ofcosmeticdisguiseovermi-
meticreproduction,ofthetruthoflyingovertherevelationoftruthÕ,
andconcludes,ÔFreudisamanofhistimewhenhedescribesallmen
asfetishists.Õ
Gide,ofcourse,wasamanofFreudÕstime,andtwo
scenesfromthe
CahiersdÕAndrŽWalter
demonstratethesubjectÕs
terrorofcastrationcausedby anencounterwiththewomanÕsÔlackÕ:
SonregardavaitprislÕautresoirunefixitŽsiperantequejÕensouffrais
commedÕunglaive;ÐetjevoulaismÕendŽtourner,maisilmepoursuivait
partout.PuissonsourireestdevenuceluidespoupŽesdecire.CÕŽtaitaf-
freux:jevoyaistoutessesdents,entreseslvresŽcartŽespardesfossettes
ridicules. (
,109)
Cauchemar:
EllemÕestapparue, trsbelle,vtuedÕunerobedÕorfroi[...].Et jÕavaispeur
devoir;jevoulaisdŽtournerlesyeux,maismalgrŽmoi, jeregardais.
Souslarobe,ilnÕyavaitrien;cÕŽtaitnoir,noircommeuntrou;je
sanglotaisdedŽsespoir.(110)
Castrationangstisindicatedbythesword-likegazeandthemouth,
suggestiveof
vaginadentata
,andtheabsenceofgenitalsunderthe
secondwomanÕsdresssuggeststhemotherÕsÔcastrationÕ.In
Sile
,DoctorBrouardelthreatenstocastrateAndrŽwiththeTuareg
spearsonhiswallifthechildcontinuestomasturbate,andalthough
thesceneisportrayed comically (
,121), a commentmadebyGideto
DelaysuggeststhatinrealityGidewasterrifiedbytheexperience (
222).Castrationangstisalsoevokedin
LaTentativeamoureuse
(1893)inwhichLucviewscarnalheterosexualpossessionastanta-
mounttoÔunechosemeurtrieÕ (
,244),andthenarratorbemoanshis
CharlesBernheimer,ÔFetishismandDecadence:SalomeÕsSeveredHeadsÕ,in
Fet-
ishismasaCulturalDiscourse
,ed.byEmilyApterandWilliamPietz(Ithaca:Cornell
UniversityPress,1993),62Ð83,65.
CharlesBernheimer,ÔÒCastrationÓasfetishÕ,
Paragraph
,14,no.1(1991),1Ð9,7Ð
TheoristssuchasEmilyApterhavesoughttoovercometheselimitationsbydraw-
ingontheshiftingmeaningsoffetishismÔfromlanguagetolanguage,disciplineto
discipline,andculture tocultureÕ(Apter,
FeminizingtheFetish
,4):Ôitisprecisely this
processofcreativemistranslationthatendowsthetermwithitsvalueascurrencyof
literaryexchange,asverbaltoken.Õ
112AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ownandLucÕsupbringingÔquinousfitpressentirsanglotanteet
navrŽeoubienmoroseetsolitaire,lavoluptŽÕ.
Fetishism andcuriosityenterintoatensebalancingact.Freud
writes:ÔItisnottruethat,afterthechildhasmadehisobservationof
thewoman,hehaspreservedunalteredhisbeliefthatwomenhavea
phallus.Hehasretainedthatbelief,buthehasalsogivenitupÕ(353).
BeliefinthemotherÕsphallusisfetishistic(masking);givingupthat
beliefinvolvescuriosity(lookingunderorthroughthemask).The
malefetishist, Freud argues,simultaneouslydisavowstheÔunwelcome
factofwomenÕscastrationÕ and,intheactofcoveringitup,acknowl-
edgesit:ÔwithtruepsychicingenuityÕ,writesEmilyApter,Ôthefet-
ishistmanagestoholdthesimulatedoriginalinastateofironicsus-
pensionadjacenttotherealandthefacsimileÕ (
FeminizingtheFetish
14).ThisbalanceisexemplifiedinGideÕswritingbyAndrŽÕsreaction
tothekaleidoscopewhichlefthimÔautantintriguŽquÕŽblouiÕ (
,84),
theintrigueindicatingcuriosity(thewilltoknowmore);thedazzle-
ment,fetishism.Itisalsoafeaturein
AndrŽWalter
whenthespeaker
gazeswithhorrifiedcuriosityattheabsenceunderthewomanÕsdress
,110),afterhavingbeenmesmerisedbyherglitteringgarments.A
furtherexampleisMichelÕsreactiontoBachirin
LÕImmoraliste
606Ð7).Ontheonehand,Micheldisplaysdesiring-sexualcuriosity,
which comprisesvoyeurism,scopophilia andtouch;ontheotherhand,
theboyistheobjectofthenarratorÕsfetishism.Commentingon
GideÕstendencytohomeinonthechildinthegroupwhoisÔchŽtif,
malingre,voireinfirmeÕ,
CatherineMillotwrites:
Sortiedulotgr‰ceˆlatarequilÕisole,cetenfant-lˆacquiertladignitŽdufŽ-
tiche,dignitŽqueluiconfresoninfirmitŽ mme.ErigŽˆlaplaceduphallus
maternel manquant, lefŽticheporte,eneffet,la marquedelacastrationquÕil
couvre.Ainsi,dans
LÕImmoraliste
,lÕunedesfigurescharmantessur lesquel-
lessefixeledŽsirdunarrateur [
Bachir
],porteÔunepauvrechŽchiaquinÕa
quÕuntrouˆlaplaceduglandÕ.LÕauteurnesemblepasavoiraperuleco-
miqueoverse icilÕŽquivoque.
MillotobservesthatforGide,ÔlÕŽrotisationsÕestfixŽesurlapertede
laformehumaine,ladŽcompositionoulemorcellementÕ(Millot,
285),andthisdoesseemtobeadirectreactiontoGideÕscastration
See
,483Ð84.
CatherineMillot,ÔLaCroixdeSaintAndrŽÕ,in
DŽsir
,289.
SexualCuriosity113
angst:DelaybelievesthatGidewaspursuedthroughouthisyouthby
ÔlacraintedՐtrech‰tiŽ,dŽtruitoumutilŽ,anŽanti,ourŽduit,morcelŽ
oudiminuŽÕ (
,222).The
enfantstarŽs
reassurebecausetheycon-
tinuetolivehealthilybeyondÔcastrationÕ.
OtherelementsintheBachirsceneindicateÔracialfetishismÕ,
asconstruedbyKobenaMercerinhis1986analysisofRobertMap-
plethorpeÕsphotographyofblackmalenudes:
114AndrŽGideandCuriosity
MichelscrutinisesBachirasthoughhewereascientistexaminingan
animalspecimen.Notethebalance againbetweencuriosityandfetish-
ism:ÔcuriousÕdissection;fetishisticÔmorcellementÕandreification.
BachirÕsbodyhassexualÔÒmystiqueÓÕ,asindicatedbytheuseoftwo
suggestiveellipses;theemphasisoncaressing;theboyÕs
c‰line
grace;
theclothrestingagainsthisnakedbody;andthehypnoticrefrainof
partialnakedness.MerceridentifiesthesubjectÕsfrustrationatfinding
Ôtheobjectofhisdesiresoutofreach,inaccessibleÕ,whichresultsin
ÔaggressionintheactoflookingÕ.MercerÕsobjectisinaccessiblebe-
causeitisaphotographicimage;inMichelÕscase,Bachirisuntouch-
ablebecausehemustoccupythesafesealed-offspaceofvoyeurismÐ
otherwise,MichelÕspederasticdesire,which,throughoutthetext,is
ÔrepressedtoaboutaninchbeneaththesurfaceÕ(Segal,
P&P
,169Ð
70),wouldbecomeexplicit.WhenMichelleansforwardtotouchthe
boy,thenextphrase:ÔJefaissignequÕildoitmepassersonsiffletÕ,
suggeststhatcontactwasnotmade.Theboybreaksthefetishistic
spellwhenheturnsroundandsmilesatMichelbyreinstatinghimself
aslookingsubject:BachirisnolongerasurfacereflectingMichelÕs
desire,butaperson.
ThefirstfeatureMichelnotesofBachirishisbrownskin,re-
callingthesmoothwhiteskinofSartreÕs
complexedeJonas
thatis
ÔvainementcaressŽÕ(Sartre,668).Anever-curiousobject,likeafetish
object,fascinatesthefantasisingsubject.InGide,smoothdarkskin
reassuresthesubjectagainstcastrationangst:skinfunctionsasa
metaphorforaÔphantasmatictopography,asurface,orcarapace,
whichhidesuglinessandanxietywithbeautyanddesireÕ(Mulvey,5),
andreflectiveskinisallthemoreeffectiveamask,becauseitdazzles
theonlooker aswell.Freudstressestheimportanceoftheglossquality
ofthefetishobjectbydescribingapatientwhoexaltedÔacertainsort
ofÒshineonthenoseÓintoafetishisticpreconditionÕ:ÔTheÒshineon
thenoseÓ[inGerman: Ò
GlanzaufderNase
Ó]wasinrealityaÒglance
atthenoseÓ.Thenosewasthusthefetish,which,incidentallyheen-
dowedatwillwiththeluminousshinewhichwasnotperceptibleto
othersÕ (
PFL
VII
,351).Verballytheproximityofscopophiliccuriosity
(theglance)andfetishism (
[shine])isevoked.Theglancefol-
lowsatrajectoryfromsubjecttoobject;theshinemovesfromobject
tosubject.Atthepointofreflectivity,thecuriousglancebecomesthe
reflectedgloss,thedesireforknowledgebecomesinsteadareflection
ofoneÕsowndesire.Gide articulateshisdesireforglossyskinthrough
SexualCuriosity115
thenarratorof
Silegrain
:ÔDisonsencoreetplusprŽcisŽmentqueje
suisattirŽparcequirestedesoleilsurlespeauxbrunes;cÕestpour
moiqueVirgileŽcrivait:QuidtuncsifuscusAmyntas?Õ (
,283).This
correspondstothefictionalJohnShadeÕscharacterisationofGidein
NabokovÕs
PaleFire
asÔGidetheLucid,whopraisesinhisAfrican
notessowarmlythesatinyskinofblackimpsÕ.
Thetoposofreflectiveskinoccursinrelationtodesiredboys,
theskincovetedforoneself,andsexualisedwomen.GideÕsfetishism
isnotexclusivelyÔracialÕ(Mercer),althoughthataspectissignificant:
age,classandgeographicaldividesalsoundergirdhisfetishism.Gide
admiredtheÔpeauh‰lŽeÕofbathingBretonchildren (
,86);andthe
ÔpoitrinedorŽeÕofthreeyoungBretonfarmers (
,96).Hecomments
onthegreycinderyaspectoftheskinofthesailorwhostrippedfor
himinthemoonlight(287);onthesimultaneouslysmoothandfurred
skinofEmileX,withitsÔŽclatmatetŽgalÕandatexturethatis
ÔblondeetduveteuseÕ (
,328).
TheyoungEgyptiangardenerinthe
CarnetsdÕEgypte
wasgolden-skinned (
,657);theschoolboysÕskin
onthetrainfromBiskraisÔduveteuseÕandÔambrŽeÕ (
,947Ð48).In
LÕImmoraliste
,MicheladmiresLachmiÕsÔnuditŽdorŽeÕ (
,616), and
theÔbellespeauxh‰lŽesÕoftheItalianfarm-workersthathewisheshe
himselfhad (
,624).In
Silegrain
AliofSousseisbrown-skinnned;
MŽriemisÔdepeauambrŽeÕ (
,285);LucileBucolinof
LaPorte
Žtroite
isÔcrŽoleÕ (
,814);andin
Genevive
,SaraÕsskinhasanam-
berglow (
,832,846).(MadeleineGidewasalsodark-skinned,
butinhercase,fetishisticdesireanddarkskincannotbelinked:she
didnotelicitsexualdesireinGide,andnotably,whenheÔemmanuel-
isesÕherinlife-writing,hedoesnotrefertoherskincolour).
Thedazzleofthefetishobjectdisablescuriosityasillustrated
byGideÕsdescriptionofMarcAllŽgretinAugust1917:
Michel [
=MarcAllŽgret
][...]semblaitrevtudegr‰ceet,commeežtdit
VladimirNabokov,
PaleFire
,1962(London:Penguin,2000),196.
Cf. inanunpublishednotefor
LesCaves
,GidewritesthatLafcadiohasÔunsoyeux
116AndrŽGideandCuriosity
EditorÕsnote,
,1667.
Cf.theopenshirtsoftheBretonfarmers;BachirÕsoff-the-shouldergandoura;La-
chmiÕsbillowingcloak.
Letterof2August1918,
AndrŽGideÐJeanSchlumbergerCorrespondance(1901Ð
,ed.byPascalMercierandPeterFawcett(Paris:Gallimard,1993),686.
SexualCuriosity117
Ilestdifficilederegarderenconscience lesgensetleschosesdesTropiques
ˆcausedescouleursquienŽmanent.EllessontenŽbullition lescouleurset
Louis-FerdinandCŽline,
Voyageauboutdelanuit
(Paris:Gallimard,1952),126.
Seealso
,306.
Gidealsoindulges inOrientalistfantasies in
VoyageauCongo
whenhechoosesto
118AndrŽGideandCuriosity
bržlant,maisparutˆmesmainsaussirafra”chissantquelÕombre.[...]
Danslasplendeuradorabledusoir,dequelsrayonssevtaitma
joie!...Õ (
,280).Fetishistically,AndrŽdisavowstherealitythatAliÕs
skinhasabsorbedtheheatofthesuninpreferenceforthefantasythat
AliÕsskiniscooland,throughthesimileofÔdieuÕ,reflective.Shortly
afterwards,thenarratorcontinues:
JesentaismoncÏurdŽsÏuvrŽ,sanglotantdereconnaissance,fondreenado-
rationpourunApolloninconnu.
ÔPrends-moi!Prends-moitoutentier,mÕŽcriais-je.JetÕappartiens.JetÕobŽis.
JemÕabandonne.Faisquetoutenmoisoitlumire;oui!lumireetlŽgretŽ
[...] (
,288).
WhileGideabsorbs,AfricaandtheAfrican,whomGideconsidersas
acomponentoftheAfricanlandscape,reflect.AndrŽispenetratedby
divinerayswhich,through association,emanatefromthegod-likeAli.
(Gidestatesin1935:ÔÒDÕailleurs,lÕ‰gevenant,maporositŽpourles
tresdiminuesansdoute;ainsi,jenÕaimepluslesArabes.ÓÕ [
CPD
439]).Thisdazzle contrastswith a sobermomentofscientificdescrip-
tioninGideÕs
Journal
of1903:ÔJeune[lÕAlgŽrien]estbeau,souvent
trsbeau;sonteintnÕestpasŽclatant,maisverd‰treÕ (
,381).
In1928GidegaveanintroductorytalktoaBrusselsscreeningof
MarcAllŽgretÕsfilm
VoyageauCongo
LÕonsÕattend,bienˆtort,enAfriqueŽquatoriale,ˆtrouveravecunelumire
beaucoupplusintense,desnuancesbeaucoupplusvives,desfeuillagesba-
riolŽs,desfleursplusŽclatantes,despapillonsetdesoiseauxplussomp-
tueux.Durantlasaisondespluies[É]unesortedebrumedechaleur
AndrŽGide, Ô
VoyageauCongo
,IntroductiontothefilmÕ,
,30,no.133
(January2002),25Ð30,27.Henceforth:
VCIntroduction
SexualCuriosity119
EquatorialAfrica.Hisassumptionthathisaudiencewillbesurprised
thatawhitebodyintherain-forestismorereflectivethanablack
bodysuggeststhatheimagineshisEuropeanlistenersfetishisingAf-
rica ashehimselfhad a tendencytodo.Initially,Gideseekstoreverse
thenotionofreflectingAfrican and absorbingEuropean,buthe aborts
hismission,possiblybecauseitrunscountertohisownfetishisticde-
sire(and,byextension,thedesireheanticipatesinhisaudience).He
doessobyrapidlymovingoutoftherainforestintothesun:
Etsi,danscertainssous-boisinondŽs,lÕombredelafortŽquatorialeest
tropŽpaissepourpermettreˆlaphotographiederacontercombienadmira-
blementcespeauxnoiressemlentetsÕharmonisentdanslagrandesym-
phonievŽgŽtale,[É]dumoinspourrez-vousadmireraupleinsoleil,lelus-
tredecespeauxlavŽes,lescorps,ausortirdÕunfleuve,prendreunaspectde
bronzeoudejade,unŽclatdÕuninstantquelachaleuraussit™tvaternir.
Frustratedfetishisticdesireiscompensatedwiththerepresentationof
awet,bronze-likebodywhichcarriesallthemarksofafetish:gloss,
cropping,reificationthroughanalogieswithartobjects,
andGideÕs
waterfantasies,keytothe
complexedeJonas
, are againindulged.
SeeMercer,178.Gidehasalreadybeguntoreifyintherainforest,wherehere-
marksonÔlagrandesymphonievŽgŽtaleÕintowhich thebodiesof theblacksareinte-
grated.Inthe
CarnetsdÕEgypte
GideanimalisestheblacksoftheCongo,amongst
whomÔunesortedecontactanimaletcharnel,chaleureux,ŽtaitpossibleÕ (
,646).
MarcAllŽgretillustratesanotherformofreificationofblackbodies ina lettertoMar-
tinduGardfromChadinNovember1925:Ô(NousnÕavonspasfaitquinzemtres
danslevillagequeGideestdŽjˆenlacŽpardeuxgamins,toujourscharmants[...]).
CÕestainsiquenousparcouronslÕallŽecentralejusquÕˆlacasequinousaŽtŽprŽ-
parŽe.LˆlecortgesÕarrte;nousnousasseyonssurnoschaises;lespetits
sÕagenouillentˆdroiteetˆgauchedeGidequiposesesmainssurleursŽpaules
commesurlesbrasdÕunfauteuil.[...]CettescneserŽpteˆtouslesvillages,avec
quelquesvariantesÕ (
RMGCorr
,673Ð74).ThisisareversalofMarxÕsopeningex-
ampleofcommodityfetishism,inwhichapieceofwood,bybecomingatable,
Ôevolvesoutof itswoodenbraingrotesqueideas,farmorewonderfulthan ifitwere to
begindancingofitsownfreewillÕ(Marx,163Ð64).
Inthe
VoyageauCongo
film,numerousscenesarefilmednexttowater:women
washing,aman takinghishorse todrink,childrenbathing,and inonesceneashotof
agirlÕsbodyasit isshowered inwater iscontrastedwithashotwhereherskinisdry
andmatt (
VoyageauCongo
.Dir.MarcAllŽgret.PanthŽonProductions,Filmsdu
Jeudi,1926,48:44).In
AvecAndrŽGide
,alsodirectedbyAllŽgret,thevoiceoverde-
scribingGideÕs1894triptoBiskraisaccompaniedof imagesofachildupapalmtree
jumpingintoapool,followedbyahordeofkidsrunningdownhill,castingofftheir
120AndrŽGideandCuriosity
De-fetishisationoccursinaninstantasthewaterevaporates
fromtheblackskin:ÔunŽclat[...]quelachaleuraussit™tvaternirÕ.
ThechoiceofthewordÔternirÕissignificant:thefirstdefinitionin
Robert
contextualisestheverbindulledordirtywindowpanes,fur-
niture,silverwareandmirrors,andthissupportsthenotionthatthe
bodiesarereifiedand,withouttheirgloss,considereddamagedor
faded.TheseconddefinitionofÔternirÕasÔflŽtrirÕ,asintarnishingthe
memory,reputationorhonourofsomebody,evokesthefrustration
experiencedbythedesiringwhitespectatoratthetransienceofglossy
blackbodies:Ôtheego[...]findstheobjectofhisdesiresoutofreach,
inaccessibleÕ(Mercer,183),andpossiblyaccountsforGideÕsfetishis-
tic aggression.GideincuriousmodeobservesÔlapeausombreetmate
desindignesÕ;Gideinfetishisticmodedisavowsthisknowledgein
favourofafetishismthatdeemsmattAfricanskintobeatarnished
versionofitstrue,glossyessence.
Tarnish,amarkofde-fetishisation,signalsthatfetishisation
hasoccurred.
AndrŽWalter
,directlyafterthescenewherethe
oneiricfemalessuggestcastrationangst,thespeakercomments:ÔLe
tristecÕestquelÕ‰meaussiseternitˆcervedesdŽlectationsmon-
strueusesÕ (
,111).WhereoncethespeakerÕsdesirewasreflected
backathimbytheshimmeringbeautifulwoman,nowherterrifying,
de-fetishisedholeisreflectedinhisownpsyche.Thisdisappointment
ofde-fetishisationisreiteratedin
LaTentativeamoureuse
:Ôvoustes
semblables,objetsdenosdŽsirs,ˆcesconcrŽtionspŽrissablesqui,si-
t™tquelesdoigtslespressent,nÕylaissentplusquedelacendreÕ (
254); and againin
LesNourrituresterrestres
JÕapprisˆjugertouslestresˆleurcapacitŽderŽceptionlumineuse;cer-
tainsquidanslejoursurentaccueillirlesoleil, mÕapparurentensuite,lanuit,
commedescellulesdeclartŽ.ÐJÕaivudeseauxcoulantˆmididansla
plainequi,plusloin,souslesrochesopaquesglissŽes,yfirentruisselerdes
trŽsorsamassŽsdedorures.
MaisNathana‘l,jeneveuxteparlericiquedes
choses
,Ðnon
pointde
INVISIBLEREALITE
Ðcar
clothesandplunging intoariver,acrosswhich theysplash.GideÕsÔrennaissancephy-
siqueÕis thenevoked. (
AvecAndrŽGide
.21.29;21.54Ð22.05).
Bycontrast,bothdesiring-sexualcuriosity(aprerequisitetofetishism)andfetish-
ismareabsentfromtheaccountofGideÕs1914triptoTurkey:ÔIcitoutestsali,
gauchi,
terni
,adultŽrŽÕ (
,779,
my italics
SexualCuriosity121
...commecesalguesmerveilleuses,lorsquÕonlessortdelÕeau,
ternissent... (
,415)
Curiositytowardsrealobjectsissaferthanfetishism,whichcreates an
ÔinvisiblerŽalitŽÕliabletotarnish.In
Silegrain
,thechildAndrŽre-
versesthede-fetishisationprocessbyproducingabrightglowfrom
histarnishedleadsoldiers:
MoiaussijÕavaiseudessoldatsdeplomb;moiaussijejouaisaveceux;
maiscÕŽtaitˆlesfairefondre.OnlesposaittoutdroitssurunepellequÕon
faisaitchauffer;alorsonlesvoyaitchancelersoudainsurleurbase,piquer
dunez,etbient™tsÕŽchappaitdeleuruniformeterniunepetite‰mebrillante,
ardenteetdŽpouillŽe... (
,149)
WemayfollowKleininviewingtheinfantÕsplayassymbolicofthe
workingsoftheunconscious,andidentifyingprocessesofprojection
andintrojectionasthesubjectassimilatesorexternalisesitsphantas-
maticobjects(theleadsoldierÕsbrilliantsoul;thespeakerÕstarnished
soulinthe
AndrŽWalter
passage).Delayinterpretstheburningofthe
soldiersasanexampleofAndrŽÕssadism,integratingitintohisdis-
cussionofthechildÕsÔthmesdÕexcitationsexuelleÕthatgenerally
containÔlÕidŽedesaccage,sousformedÕunjouetaimŽquejedŽtŽrio-
raisÕ (
,142,251;
,116).Throughtorture,thesoldiersarestripped
oftheirÔuniformeterniÕandthentheirskintorevealtheirnakedburn-
ingbrilliantsouls.
IntheCongo,in contrasttotheviolentfetishisationofthelead
soldiers,Gidesuffersaviolentde-fetishisationwhenhediscoversthe
damaged,diseasedskinofhispersonalassistantandfavourite,
Adoum.OnenightondiscoveringthatAdoumisill,Gide administers
tohimhimself,with cold compresses andquinine.DuringthedoctorÕs
examination,Adoumrevealshisgenitalsandthevisionassaults
GideÕs aesthetic andmoralsensibilities:
CenÕestpasdÕuneadŽnitequÕilsÕagit,maisbiendÕunbubonvŽnŽrienquÕil
importede traiterdiffŽremment[É]CÕestenpassantˆFort-Crampelquele
pauvregaronsÕestfaitpoivrer,ilyaprŽcisŽmentquarantejours,cettefa-
Mercier-CampichearguesthatAndrŽismotivatedtoburnthesoldiersforaesthetic
purposesandbytheÔcuriositŽdenaturalisteenherbe,pourdena•vesexpŽriences
chimiquesÕ(Mercier-Campiche,
Retouches
,26Ð27).Seech.3forGideÕsÔcuriositŽde
naturalisteÕtowardstheblacksoftheCongo;andch.4fortheaffinitiesbetweenthe
fetishobjectandaworkofart.
122AndrŽGideandCuriosity
meusenuitdÕorgiequinousŽtaitdemeurŽemystŽrieuse.Douloureuxspec-
tacledecebeaucorps,aux lignessipures,si jeuneencore,toutab”mŽ,flŽtri,
dŽshonorŽparceshideusesplaies. (
,444)
ThisreactionfitswithSegalÕsviewthatforGide,whocontractedve-
nerealdiseaseinOctober1905,penetrativesexremainsÔassociatedin
hismindwiththepathologythatfolloweditÕ (
P&P
,53),andalsocor-
respondstotheKleinianfearofbadpart-objectsharbouredinthe
motherimago.ThelexisÔflŽtri,dŽshonorŽÕevokethenegativecon-
notationsofatarnishedreputation,thecauseofwhichisapparently
heterosexualsex,behindwhichstandstheÔcastratedÕandÔcastratingÕ
womanonwhomFreudÕsmodeloffetishismisbased.Thisepisode
hasabizarrefollow-up:GidehasAdoumreexamined:ÔLÕexamenne
donnequÕunrŽsultatnŽgatif.Maisalors,cesbubons,ˆBouar?ÐSim-
plementducraw-craw,dontnousavionssouffertŽgalement,Marcet
moiÕ (
,480).Adoumclaimsthatheknewallalongthathedidnot
haveavenerealdisease,butplayedalongÔparcequevousaviezlÕair
dÕytenir.OnmerŽpŽtaitquejÕavaissžrementfaitlanoce.Jenepou-
vaispasdire:non.OnnemÕauraitpascruÕ (
,480).Gideisuncon-
SexualCuriosity123
toujoursconnus;mais,plusencorequelÕardentecouleurdesŽcharpesque
matantejetaitsursesŽpaulesnues,cedŽcolletagescandalisaitma mre.
LucileBucolinŽtaittrsbelle.UnpetitportraitdÕellequejÕaigar-
dŽme lamontretellequÕelleŽtaitalors,lÕairsi jeunequÕon lÕežtprisepour
lasÏura”nŽedesesfilles,assisedec™tŽ,danscetteposequiluiŽtaitcou-
tumire:latte inclinŽesurlamaingaucheaupetitdoigtmivrementrepliŽ
verslalvre.UnerŽsilleˆgrossesmaillesretientlamassedesescheveux
crpelŽsˆdemicroulŽssurlanuque;danslÕŽchancrureducorsagepend,ˆ
unl‰checollierdeveloursnoir,unmŽdaillondemosa•queitalienne.La
ceinturedeveloursnoirau largenÏudflottant,lechapeaudepaillesoupleˆ
grandsbordsquÕaudossierdelachaiseelleasuspenduparlabride,tout
ajouteˆsonairenfantin.[...]
LucileBucolinŽtaitcrŽole. (
,814)
Elleportaitparfoisˆsonfront,pourtantparfaitementmat,unmouchoir
commepouressuyerunemoiteur;cÕŽtaitunmouchoirdont
mÕŽmerveillaientlafinesseetlÕodeurquisemblaitmoinsunparfumdefleur
quedefruit;parfoiselletiraitdesaceintureunminusculemiroirˆglissant
couvercledÕargent,quipendaitˆsacha”nedemontreavecdiversobjets;
elleseregardait,dÕundoigttouchaitsalvre,cueillaitunpeudesaliveet
sÕenmouillaitlecoindesyeux.(815)
LucileÕsÔch‰lerougeÕlinkstotheÔchemisedesoierougeaigreÕof
Marc(aliasMichel) (
,1038)andSaraÕsÔsouplesoierougesombre,
dontletonchaudfaisaitvaloirlÕŽclatambrŽdesapeauÕ (
Genevive
,832).
Herbillowingopen clothesofferscopophilicpleasure.ÔSes
ŽpaulesnuesÕfitwithotherfetishisedshouldersinGide:thefascinat-
ingÔŽpauleŽblouissanteÕofthefemalecousinwhichAndrŽbites (
82)andBachirÕsÔmignonneŽpauleÕ (
,606).LucileÕsyouthand
child-likequalitiesareemphasised,suggestingthat,likeMŽriem,she
wassufficientlyundevelopedstilltoprovokedesireinGideÕsimagi-
nary (
,285).TheadultJŽr™mekeepsLucileÕsportraitsometwenty
yearsafterherdeparture;asachild,hesniffedherhandkerchief.Like
FreudÕsfetishistwhoimaginedthe Ô
GlanzaufderNase
Õ,thenarrator
dwellsonhergloss,evokingtheimaginedsweatonherbrow,whichis
ÔpourtantparfaitementmatÕ,andaddingtothisshimmeringeffectthe
tinysilvermirrordanglingonachain,LucileÕssaliva,andherglis-
teningeye.Croppingandfragmentationiseffectedbythelooseblack
velvetribbonroundherneck,reminiscentofthebeltssometimesworn
SegallinksSaratoLucilethroughtheircommonÔexoticfascinationÕ (
P&P
,293).
SeealsoEmilyApter,
AndrŽGideandtheCodesofHomotextuality
(Saratoga,CA.:
ANMALibri,1987),144Ð45.
124AndrŽGideandCuriosity
onthenakedskinoftheindigenouspeopleoftheCongo,whichGide
findstobeÔdÕunenettetŽdedessinadmirableÕ.
Creole,
LucileÕs
skinisprobablydark,inkeepingwithGideÕsfetishistictastes.
Thefetishobjectisintendedtoreassurethesubjectagainst
castrationangst.WhythendoesthefetishisedLucileelicitinJŽr™me
Ôunsentimentfaitdetrouble,dÕunesortedÕadmirationetdÕeffroiÕ (
815)?AdoumÕsvenerealdiseasepointstotheÔdivisionbetweensur-
faceallureandconcealeddecayÕoffetishism(Mulvey,72):AdoumÕs
ÔbeaucorpsÕdisplayssurfaceallure (
,444),whilehisÔhideuses
plaiesÕ,caused,Gideinsists,byheterosexualintercourse,arefemi-
nine.ItwouldseemthatLucileÕsfemalenesscausesthespectatorto
suspectmorereadilytheunderlyingÔmonstrousothernessÕoffemi-
ninityorthesadisticmotherimagoofKleinÕstheory.Certainly,in
Gide,thegenderofthefetishobjectdecidesthemalesubjectÕsreac-
tiontoit.Thus,BachirÕsshoulderisaconventionalfetishobject
whichreassuresMichel,whilethewomanÕsshoulderin
Silegrain
althoughfirstdazzlingAndrŽ,goesontoprovokehissadismashe
bitesitandspitsindisgust,asthoughdiviningthedangeroussub-
stanceitmasks.InthepederasticcontextofAndrŽÕsencounterwith
AliofSousse,sandfunctionsasaconventionalfetishobject(ÔQuele
sableŽtaitbeauÕ [
,280]),butintheheterosexualcontextofAndrŽ
WalterÕsnightmare,sand constitutesthewomanÕshorrificinsides, and
is anunstablefetishobject (
,109). Significantly,LucileBucolinis a
fetishobjectthatisnotcroppedordecapitated,andwhereasMichel
canbanishBachirÕsgaze,JŽr™mehasnocontroloverLucileÕs.Twice,
shepointstoherlipsÐindeed,thegestureÔluiŽtaitcoutumireÕ (
814,815)Ð,andlipsareagatewaytotheÔfeminine/feminizingvis-
ÔParfois ilsportentuneceinturedecuiroudecorde,quitraceunsimpletraitsur la
peaunoire,suivantexactementleplidelÕaineÕ (
,451).MŽriemkeepsonherankle
andwristbraceletswhenshetakesAndrŽÕsvirginity (
,284).Luceywritesofhowfor
Gide intheCongo theÔcarefully,artisticallyconstructedhutsÕof thesettlementof the
SarapeopleÔcreatesafocusinthisunfocusedland.[...]Theyseemtonourishand
engage thegazeandalsoprovideitwithasatisfactorysenseofmasteryÕ (
GideÕsBent
159;thehutsaredescribedin
,471).
TheCrŽolewomanisoftenassociatedwithsexualityin19thcenturyFrenchcul-
ture.Cf.ManetÕsÔOlympiaÕ(1865),inwhichtheCrŽoleprostitute isaccompaniedby
herblackslave,andBaudelaireÕsÔAunedamecrŽoleÕ(poemlxiof
LesFleursdu
Mal
,68Ð69).ForLucileÕslink,viaAlissa,toBaudelaireÕsverse,see
supra
,84,fn.
SexualCuriosity125
cousÕ,
hereevokedbyLucileÕssaliva.Thisexceptionalfetishobject
metaphoricallyputsondisplaythefemalegenitaliawhichwouldnor-
mallybeconcealed.Lucileisnotsomuchafetishisedobjectondis-
playasasubjectwhoputsherselfondisplay,paradingheropenness
bywearingopenbodicesandaloosenecklace;candidlyaskingher
nephewifshefrightenshim(816);andleavingopenthedoortothe
roomwhereshesitswithherloverandherchildren(818).Heractions
consequentlyunderminethedisavowalcomponentoffetishism,mak-
ingherextremelytroublingtoJŽr™me.Consequently,JŽr™memust
forcehisgaze awayfromLucile,eitherbybanishingherphysically,or
byforcinghimselftobeincurioustowardsher.Theplottakescareof
thefirststrategy;JŽr™meeffectsthesecondbymakingitapointof
honourtoextinguishhiscuriosity abouther:
NousnÕŽtionspasplust™trentrŽsˆParisquÕunedŽpcherappelait mamre
auHavre:matantevenaitdesÕenfuir.
ÔAvecquelquÕun?Õdemandai-jeˆMissAshburton[...]
ÔMonenfant,tudemanderaiscelaˆtamre;maisjenepeuxrien
terŽpondreÕ
[...]Aprstout,jemesouciaispeudematante,etmisunpoint
dÕhonneurˆnepasquestionnermamre.(820)
Silegrain
,theyoungAndrŽÕsconfrontationwithprostitutesgives
risetothesamepatternofbehaviour:AndrŽprogressesfromcuriosity
(ÔjecommenaideprterattentionÕ)todesire(itisspring-time,Ôla
saisondesamoursÕ [
,889],andsomeofthewomenhaveanÔallure
bizarreÕ [
,209])toentrancement(ÔjecontinuaidoncdÕavancerÕ)to
fear(oneofthewomancallsouttoAndrŽ:ÔÒMaisilnefautpasavoir
peurcommea,monjoligaron!ÓÕ,recallingLucileÕsÔJŽr™me!est-ce
Segal,
P&P
,289.Cf. the
vaginadentata
imageof
AndrŽWalter
:ÔCÕŽtaitaffreux: je
126AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Incuriosity
Anepigraphin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
byChamfortreads:ÔÒIlfaut
choisirdÕaimerlesfemmes,oudelesconna”tre;ilnÕyapasdemi-
lieuÓÕ (
,221), and,inthe
Journal
aproposofhisdaughterCatherine,
Gidewrites:
JÕaipriscepli,depuismapropreenfanceentourŽedÕadmirablesetvŽnŽra-
blesfiguresdefemmes,deconsidŽrerquelafemmenepeut,sansdŽroger,
devenirÔintŽressanteÕ.(JeforceŽvidemmentmapensŽe,maisˆpeine.)[É]
Jepuisavoirde lÕadmirationpourcertainscaractresdefemmes;bienrare-
ment,sipas jamais,dela
curiositŽ
,174)
ThefollowingquotationsfromGideÕsautobiographyanditsdrafts
displayacontiguouslackofcuriosityregardingheterosexualandles-
biansexuality:
IncuriositŽ(pasattirŽparlÕautresexe).
BehrensX-rayingClawdiaÕsinnardsrevealsaÔrepressionofcuriosityÕdescribedby
thenarratorasÒWahrheitsunlustundDuckmŠusereiÓ[resistancetotruthandmoral
cowardice]Õ(Boa,ÔTheTrialofCuriosityÕ,forthcoming).SeeThomasMann,
Der
Zauberberg
,1924(Frankfurta.M.:Fischer,1998),291Ð97.
SexualCuriosity127
Schematically,towardsÔgoodÕwomen,Gideexhibitssexualandgen-
eralincuriosity;towardsunconventionalwomen,hehaslimitedcuri-
osity,whichhasasexualelement.Incuriositytowardswomenispri-
marilysexual,butalsogeneral,sinceGidetendstoconflatesexual
andnon-sexualincuriositytowardswomen,anddesiring-sexualcuri-
osity andscientificcuriosityinwomen.
Thisprofessedincuriositytowardswomenisstrikingwhen
readthroughapsychoanalyticalframework,sinceforbothFreudand
Klein,themotherÕsbodyisthefirstobjectofknowledge (
VIII
290;Klein,
Writings
,429,n.;
Writings
,128Ð29).Isuggestedear-
lierthattheinfantGidewasunsuccessfulinfirmlyestablishinga
ÔgoodÕmotherimagoandworkingthroughthedepressiveposition
becausehisearlyextremeepistemophiliaandphantasmaticsadism
hadrendereddifficulttheprocessofreparationtothemotherimago.
Hisconceptualisingofthemotherimago(andthepart-objectsshe
harbours,includingtheinternalisedpenisesdenotingthephantasmatic
father) assadistic andretaliatoryseemstohaveendured,
resultingin
hisviewingtheinsideofwomanÕsbody asaplaceofterror.
InKlein,theinfanthas aninnateemotionalknowledgeofsex,
whichisdistinctfromarationalconsciousknowledge.
Whenin
GideÕsautobiographyandfictionthenarrativeisfromthechildÕs
viewpoint,his/herinnateknowledgeofapolymorphousadultsexual-
ity(heteroandhomosexual,alloandautocentric)seemstobeindi-
catedbyreferencetothefluidoraerialÐsince
ÐÔseconderŽ-
alitŽÕ.Soin
LaPorteŽtroite
,theportofLeHavre,thepreludetoJŽ-
r™meÕsdiscoveryofhisauntÕsadultery,isfoggy (
,818),andinthe
autobiography,AndrŽintuitstheÔinsoliteÕwhenhehappensuponhis
auntÕsimpliedadultery,ruedeLecat (
,159).Occasionally,thesen-
sationiscommunicatedbyanadultvoice.InLafcadioÕsflash-backto
themysteriousnighthisadolescentselfspentwithUncleWladi,the
Klein,
Writings
,131Ð32.
ÔEven thequitesmallchild,whichseeminglyknowsnothingaboutbirth,hasavery
distinct
unconscious
knowledgeofthefactthatchildrengrowinthemotherÕswombÕ
Klein,
Writings
,170Ð85,173;seealso219Ð32;236Ð47).ÔTheobjectsthatarethen
phantsizedarenotphysical,or infactconcrete in thenormalsense;theyareendowed
withaprimitivesenseofplace,withinorwithout theself,andwithaffectivemotiva-
tionsofbenevolenceormalevolenceÕ(Hinshelwood,ÔInnateknowledgeÕ,in
ADic-
tionaryofKleinianThought
,324Ð26,325).
128AndrŽGideandCuriosity
livingroomhasbecomeÔdŽmesurŽeÕ,themoonlightcreatingÔune
tranquillitŽsurnaturelleÕ,andthenormallyfamiliarspaceradiates
ÔŽtrangetŽÕ (
,1132).
ThepastorÕsdiscoveryofGertrudeatthe
openingof
LaSymphoniepastorale
isprefiguredbyanoneiricen-
chantedworld (
,3Ð4),whichmayremindthepastorofpasthetero-
sexualdesire,andgesturetowardsfutureÎdipaldesirebetweenhim-
self andhisward.AlainGouletwrites:
AudŽbutdesonrŽcit,lepasteurinsistecurieusementsurlaprŽsencedÕÔ
petitlacmystŽrieux
ÕquÕilnÕapasrevu Ô
depuisquinzeans
Õ,etquÕil luisem-
blenÕÔ
avoirdÕabordvuquÕenrve
Õ.OrlavieilleditdeGertrudequÕelle
doitavoir Ô
unequinzainedÕannŽes
Õ.Cetterencontretemporelleexplique-
rait-ellelecaractreoniriquedusouvenir,commesiunpassŽcensurŽre-
fluaitsoudaindanslaconsciencedenotrepasteur?Autrementditnepour-
rait-onimaginerqueGertrudesoitunenfantb‰tarddupasteur,nŽdeses
Žgarementsauprsdupetitlac,cequiexpliqueraitsonattachementpour
PaulJ.YoungarguesthatÔthismomentoffersa
mise-en-scne
in which thefamiliar
isqueeredÕ(ÔCruisingtheVatican...:ReadingGideÕsQueerestTextÕ,
Dalhousie
FrenchStudies
,78(Spring2007),107Ð116,115).Forme,thisfamiliarspaceisnotso
muchspecificallyÔqueeredÕassexualised.OtherepisodesinGidegesturingtowards
SexualCuriosity129
sexualcuriosityinherreading:ÔAmacuriositŽnesemlaitdureste
aucunesensualitŽ.[...]UnesortedecrainteinstinctivemÕŽcartaitdes
imageslicencieuses,detoutcequirespireledŽsirouleplaisirÕ (
857).Thisapprehensiveviewofsexisundoubtedlyinfluencedby
GideÕspuritanupbringing.Onaphantasmaticlevel,itmaystemfrom
thesubjectÕsterrorofretaliationbybadpart-objectsinthemotherÕs
bodywhichsexualpenetrationmayincur(heterosexualandhomosex-
ual,sinceinKleinpart-objectsofthefatherimagoexistinsidethe
motherimago).
Thedangerofadultsexualityisconveyedinthepresentation
ofthegoliathbeetlein
Nejugezpas
,whereinshinyobjects (
lÕinsolite
andhencesignifierofadultsexuality)drawthebeetleÕsfascination
just asthewideopenmouthofthepredatorysnakeluresthebirdtoits
doom (
NJP
,165).Inasimilarway,heterosexualsexluresthepower-
lesssubject:strangeforcesdrawAndrŽWalterÕsgazetowardsthe
womanÕsvagina(ÔmaismalgrŽmoi,jeregardaisÕ [
,110]);pullJŽ-
r™metowardsthespacewhereLucileentertainsthelieutenantin
PorteŽtroite
,818),anddrawAndrŽtowardsthehauntofprosti-
tutesin
Silegrain
:ÔjÕhŽsitai,letempsdÕunŽclair,sijenequitterais
pasletrottoir,pournÕavoirpasˆpasserprsdÕelles;mais[...]jecon-
tinuai[...]dÕavancerÕ (
,209).Becausethemotherimagois conceived
asanalluringsiteofterror,themalesubjectinGidemustassumea
prophylacticformofincuriositytowardsittocounteracthisowncuri-
osityanddesire.Barriersarethereforeconstructedtoprotectthesub-
jectfromheterosexualsex.
(ThesubjectÕsstrategytowardshomo-
sexualsexisdifferent asweshallseeshortly.)
LaTentativeamoureuse
(1893)providesanillustrationofa
protectivebarrierbeingbrokenbytheadultprotagonists.WhenLuc
andRachelaremakinglovethebeautifulgatesofthemysteriouspark
ÐÔleparcauxgrillesmerveilleusesÕÐarekeptlocked.Whentheirre-
lationshipbecomesplatonic,thegatesareopened.Butinsidethepark
allis abandoned andonlythememoryofpastpartiesremains,echoing
theformerloversÕmemoryoftheirnightstogether.Itisasthough
LucÕsinitialfearthatcarnalpossessionwouldbringdeathhasbeen
playedout.Curiosityinthistreatiseisminimisedbytheoverwhelm-
inglymorosetoneandoneiricstyle.Whenwedoglimpseit,asinLuc
Hence,theyoungAndrŽandGeneviveactivelydistancetheirowndesirefrom
sexualsubjectmatterinbooks.
130AndrŽGideandCuriosity
andRachelÕswilltodecipherthegiant,strangecuttlefisheggonthe
beach,itlacksmomentumandshortlybecomesnothingmorethanÔla
Gideexpressesthedesire tomaketheLuxembourgGardenamythicalplace in
Les
Faux-Monnayeurs
,524).
FreudwritesofLeonardodaVinciÕsenduringfascinationwithflightfromchild-
hoodon (
PFL
,220),andviewsflightfantasyasaremnantthatescapedtherepres-
sionofinfantilesexualresearch.InthecontextofGide,SegalhasshownhowGideÕs
desirerespondstobirdimagery,which isusedtomaintain thedreamofeternalyouth
(ÔAndrŽGideetlesgaronsperdusÕ,
29,no.131Ð32[July2001],355Ð77).
WhenGiderequestedthathismothersendhimtoystoamusethechildreninBiskra,
hespecificallyrequestednottobesentearth-boundtoyssuchasmarblesorspinning
tops,butratheraerialones:Ôdescerfs-volants[...]quiontlaformedÕoiseauxjaponais,
ceseraitparfait;parfaitaussi[...],cessortesdÕhŽlicesenfer-blancquÕonfaisaitvoler
trshautenleurcommuniquantunerotationauboutdÕunb‰tonˆlÕaidedÕuneficelleÕ
CorrGideÐmre
,283).
SexualCuriosity131
Adultsexualityisfurther alludedtothroughthe
cafŽ-concert
Lanuittombait,exaltantleslumires,unpeuplusloin,dÕuncafŽ-concert,
dontlesmusiquesnousattiraient.[...]OnsÕapprochait.Lesplanches
nÕŽtaientpassibienjointesquÕonnepžt,par-ci,par-lˆ,enappliquant lÕÏil,
glisserentredeux leregard:jedistinguais,par-dessuslagrouillanteetsom-
bremassedesspectateurs,lÕŽmerveillementdelascne,surlaquelleunedi-
vettevenaitdŽbiterdesfadeurs. [
variant:ÔAvraidirejenecomprenaispas
biennicequecesgensfaisaientlˆ,nipourquoisoudainŽclataientleurs
applaudissementsetleursrires.Entrer,prendreplaceauprsdÕeux,quand
monprenÕenauraiteuhontepourmoi,jÕenauraiseuhontepourmon
pre;maiscelaneseproposaitmmepas.Õ
,87;1117,q)
Byevokingtheshamethatfatherandsonwouldexperiencewerethey
toparticipate,thevariantpositsthe
cafŽ-concert
asametaphorfor
heterosexualsex(theÔprimalsceneÕwerethefathertojoinin;
Îdipalarrangement,wereittheson).AndrŽÕsincomprehensionasto
whythespectatorsarelaughingislaterechoedbyhisincomprehen-
sionatÔlesbruitslesplusŽtrangesÕcomingfromMarieandDelphine
,115),andalsobyLucileÕslaughterÔauxŽclatsÕduringtheÔadul-
teryÕscene (
,819),misunderstoodbyhertwoyoungerchildren.
wouldseemthatthechildexperiencesnodanger,iscontenttostand
outsidethe
cafŽ-concert
andtoleavetheparkbecauseheisreassured
byhisfatherÕspresence,thewoodenslatsthatseparatethemfromthe
sexualisedspectacle,andtheparkgatesthatcontainthemarvellous
bicycles.
PFL
,270.ForKlein,emotionalknowledgeofcoitusisinnateanddoesnotre-
quireanactualprimalsceneexperience.ÔLagrouillanteetsombremasseÕofspecta-
torsresemblesthecombinedparent-figurethatKleinidentifiesasanimagoofthe
copulatingparents(Klein,
Writings
,253).
Freudwritesthateven if thechilddoesnotactuallywitnesshisparentscopulating,
indicationssuchassoundsandcoitusbetweenanimalsamounttothesamething
(LaplancheandPontalis,432;Freud,
,344,n.).Inchildhood,Gideapparently
understoodtheEnglishlanguageasbelongingtotheseillicitsounds:ÔDutempsque
jÕauraisfacilementpulÕapprendrecÕŽtaitlalanguequeserŽservaientmesparents
pourdiredevantmoi toutcequÕunenfantnedevaitpasentendre;enfilsrespectueux,
jemegardaisdefaireeffortpourdŽcouvrircequidevaitrestersecretÕ (
TheCorre-
spondenceofAndrŽGideandEdmundGosse,1904Ð1928
,ed.byL.F.Brugmans
132AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Asecondprotectivebarrierfeaturesinthesceneoftheballat
ruedeCrosne,which,tothechildAndrŽ,isamanifestationof Ô
seconderŽalitŽ
Õ,Ôuneautrevie,mystŽrieuse,[...]quicommence
seulementlorsquelespetitsenfantssontcouchŽsÕ (
,93).Possibly
thiswholeepisodebelongstothechildÕsfantasy,sinceafancydress
ballseemsoutofplaceinthisstrictlypuritanfamily.Thereareinex-
plicablesounds(Ôunesingulirerumeur,unfrŽmissementduhauten
basdelamaison,jointsˆdesvaguesharmonieusesÕ[92];ÔdesfrŽmis-
sementsdÕŽtoffesÕ[93]);thechildisuncomprehending,andfearspu-
nishmentforhavingseen;andthefirstguestsÐÔunmilitaireenuni-
forme,unedametoutenrubans,toutensoie;elletientunŽventail ˆla
mainÕÐanticipatethecharactersoftheÔadulteryÕscenes,Lucileand
thelieutenantin
LaPorteŽtroite
andEmmanuleÕsmotherin
Sile
AsintheLuxembourgGarden,thechildisagainsafelybe-
hindbars,lookingattheillicitfromaprotectedvantagepoint:ÔJe
passematteˆtraverslesfersdelarampeÕ (
,93).JustasAndrŽse-
renelyleavesthepark,heobedientlyreturnstobed.
Theexcitingandmenacingdimensionofthisconstellationof
seconderŽalitŽ
viemystŽrieuse
recursinthewakeofthe
deathoftheyoungprotagonistÕsfather,whenthe child,nolongerpro-
tectedbythefatherÕsguidinghandasintheJardinduLuxembourg
andyettobeofferedprotectionfromhiscousinEmmanule,ismore
susceptible.TheoneiricscenarioprovidesanunambiguouslyÎdipal
frameworkforthe
seconderŽalitŽ
jecroisbienquÕilyavaitplut™t lˆunmaladroitbesoindÕŽpaissir lavie[...];
SexualCuriosity133
exprimercettesortedÕapprŽhension?ÐquÕilnÕŽtaitmortquÕˆnotrevieou-
verteetdiurne,maisque,
denuit,secrtement,alorsquejedormais,ilve-
naitretrouvermamre
.[...]Jenecherchaispasˆpercer lemystre;jesen-
taisque jÕeusseempchŽ toutnetceque jÕeusseessayŽdesurprendre;assu-
rŽmentjÕŽtaistropjeuneencore,etmamremerŽpŽtaittropsouvent,etˆ
proposde tropdechoses:ÔTucomprendrasplus tardÕÐmais,certainssoirs,
enmÕabandonnantausommeil,
ilmesemblaitvraimentquejecŽdaisla
place...
,94,
myitalics
Inthespacebetweenwakingandsleeping,betweenthedeathof
AndrŽÕsfatherandthemomentAndrŽdedicateshimselftoEm-
manule,
wearegivenaglimpseofaÔcuriousÕsecondreality,i.e.
AndrŽÕsdesiretotakepossession,tobewithhismother.ForKlein,
ÔtheriseoftheÎdipustendenciesÕactivatetheepistemophilicim-
pulse:Ôtheepistemophilicinstinctandthedesiretotakepossession
comequiteearlytobemostintimatelyconnectedwithoneanother
andatthesametimewiththesenseofguiltarousedbytheincipient
Îdipus conflictÕ (
Writings
,188Ð89).Inthe contextoftheworkofan
authorsoexplicitlyopposedtoÔtakingpossessionÕandanautobio-
graphicalchildprotagonistwhohasalreadydisplayedincuriosityto-
wardsmysteriousactivitieshappeningoutsidehisken(intheLuxem-
bourgGardens and attheball),thisstateofOedipalsexualcuriosityis
swiftlypassedover.
134AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ForGide,hisfatherandMadeleineseemtohavefunctionedas
barriersthatkeptthesecondrealityÔincuriousÕ.IntheÎdipuscom-
plex,themalechildÕsfearofbeingpunishedbyhisintrojectedfather
(thenucleusofthesuper-ego)stopshimfromactualisingtheaimsof
hisdesiretowardsthemother (
PFL
VII
,317Ð19).WhileAndrŽÕsfather
isalive,theÎdipalinterdictionissymbolisedbywoodenslats,park
gates,andbarsofthebanister.AfterthefatherÕsdeath,Îdipaldesire
threatens,butitiskeptincheckbyAndrŽÕsmotherbarringhim access
tothefatherÕslibrary:Ôsansdoute,elleežttrouvŽmalsŽantqueje
prissetropvitesaplaceÕ (
,210;cf.
,94);byJŽr™meÕsinsistencein
LaPorteŽtroite
thathismothernotreplaceherblackribbonof
mourningwithamauveone,andtherebyexittheÔplaceofundesireÕ
(Segal,
P&P
,137);
andbytheimplicationthatwereAndrŽtofulfil
ÎdipaldesireandtakehisfatherÕsplacevis-ˆ-vishismother,he
wouldunconsciouslyfeelcomplicitinhisfatherÕsdeath.
Itisatthis
vulnerablein-betweenstagethatAndrŽwitnessestheadulteryofEm-
manuleÕsmother (
Silegrain
)andJŽr™me,thatofAlissaÕsmother
LaPorteŽtroite
).Duringtheseepisodes,noprotectivebarrierensures
theboysÕincuriosity.Indeed,theyareliabletobeexcitedbythe
threateningheterosexualitythewideopendoorsexposetothem (
,818).
SobeforethetentaclesofdesireentrapthemÐÔpar
SexualCuriosity135
afemaleperson,asaruletheirmother,duringthefirstperiodofchildhood,whichis
afterwardsforgotten.[...]Iwas[...]stronglyimpressedbycasesinwhichthefather
wasabsentfrom thebeginningor left thesceneatanearlydate,so that theboyfound
himselfleftentirelyunderfeminine influenceÕ (
,190Ð91).
SeeSegal,
P&P
,287.
JamesBaldwin,ÔTheMalePrisonÕ,233.
SegalobservesthepurifyingeffectofAlissa(andEmmanule)whenhertears
washoverJŽr™meÕs(andAndrŽÕs)face,cleansinghimofhermotherÕsÔbadsub-
stanceÕ (
P&P
,351).Occasionally,GideviewedMadeleineasasubstitutemother (
327,952).Langwritesinthecontextofthe
crise
of1918whenGidediscoveredthat
inreactiontohisloveaffairwithMarcAllŽgret,Madeleinehad,aftercontemplating
suicide,rereadandburnedeveryoneofhisletterstoher:ÔEncorevingtansplustard,
ilŽcriraitdansunenoteˆ
Etnuncmanetinte
:ÒJemecomparaisˆÎdipelorsquÕil
136AndrŽGideandCuriosity
protagonist.Tostopthiseventuality,GidehadtodivestÔgoodÕwomen
inhiswritingofdesiring-sexualcuriosity.Thisheadmitstohaving
donewithMadeleine:
Forasimilarview,expressedin1919,see
CPD
,10.
OneofMadeleineÕsmostdefiningfeatures,accordingtoGide,washerÔsoucils
arquŽs,toujourslevŽsdÕAlissa,quiluidonnaientuneexpressiondÕinterrogationpas-
sionnnŽeÕ(recordedbyMariaVanRysselbergheandpublishedinSchlumberger,
MAG
,140).
MauriacclaimsthispassageresembleswhatGidehadsaidtohimaboutMadeleine
(ClaudeMauriac,
ConversationsavecAndrŽGide
,1951[Paris:AlbinMichel,1990],
99Ð100).
SexualCuriosity137
alsoensuresthathiswomencharactershavenoneedofcuriosityby
makingthemknowingalready:AlissaalreadyknowsofhermotherÕs
adultery,whileJŽr™memustdiscoverit (
LaPorteŽtroite
);Pauline
alreadyknowsofMolinierÕsaffair,whileGeorgemusthappenuponit
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
);AmŽlieknowsofherhusbandÕsdesirefor
Gertrude,longbeforeherecognisesithimself (
LaSymphoniepas-
Historically-speaking,thisdisavowalisillustratedwhenGide
judgesthatMadeleinealreadyknewthatMarcAllŽgretwasaccompa-
nyinghimtoEnglandin1918beforehesaidanything.ÔÒJenÕavais
rien ˆ lui apprendre,rien ˆ luirŽvŽlerÓÕ (
CPD
,10);whenhe attributes
theprolongationoftheirstayin ParisinOctober1902toÔlÕabsencede
dŽsirsdeMadeleineÕ (
,353);whenheobservesthatforMadeleine
ÔlavieprivŽeestla chosesacrŽe,rŽservŽe,danslaquelleonnepŽntre
pasÕ (
CPD
,11);andwhenheshowsthatheneveraskedMadeleine
aboutherearlychildhood:ÔCommeelleneparlaitjamaisdÕelle,jene
saisriendesespremierssouvenirspersonnelsÕ (
,940).Thisportrayal
ofMadeleineasincuriouscontrastswiththeimpressionshegivesof
herselfinherdiaryof1891,inwhichshewritesofÔmesinquiŽtudes,
messoifsdelÕinconnu,mesagitationsÕ;
admiresherauntClaireÕs
MadeleineGide,ÔLeJournaldeMadeleineÕ,
,5,no.35(July,1977),6Ð34,
SegaldescribesthisasaninstanceofGideÕsÔtenderimperialismÕ (
P&P
,78).
GidebelievedthatheandhiswifesharedanÔauthenticitŽparfaiteÕ:ÔJepensais
quÕelleinterprŽteraitmieuxmonsilencemmeÕ (
,957).However,MartinduGard
describes theirloveasbeingÔlÕamourdedeuxŽtrangers[...]sanscommunionÕ (
RMG
Notes
,62),andasearlyasJanuary1891(before theirmarriage)Madeleinerecognised
thecontingencyoftheirÔparfaitesympathieÕ(MadeleineGide,ÔJournalÕ,
,8).This
couldhavebeeninpartduetoherrecognitionthatherunionwithGidewouldentail
givinguppreciouspartsofherself?Fortheiragonisinglackofcommunion,see
Baldwin,ÔTheMalePrisonÕ,233Ð35.
138AndrŽGideandCuriosity
FrancisJammes,considersthatÔelleavaitdelÕespritÕ,
andthisis
secondedbyMarcelDrouin,MadeleineÕsnephew:ÔMmeGideŽtaitun
personnagetropexceptionnellepourquÕonpuisseprŽtendreenfaire
unportraitenquelquesmots[...]cÕŽtaitunefemmeextrmementin-
telligenteetextrmementcultivŽeÕ (
,18:08Ð18:25).
GideÕsdecisiontonameAlissaÕsmotherin
LaPorteŽtroite
ÔLucileÕtacitlyacknowledgesthatthecurious/desiringÔbadÕwoman
hauntstheincuriousÔgoodÕone:in
AndrŽGide
Portraitsouvenir
.2parts.Dir.JacquesDemeure.WrittenbyRoger
StŽphaneandRolandDarbois.Prod.ORTF.Distrib.1965.INA.1975.Part1,18:25Ð
18:30.
InaccordancewithMatildeRondeauxÕsbirthcertificate,Ihaveusedthespelling
ÔMatildeÕandnotÔMathildeÕ,commonlyfoundintheliteratureonGide.Thebirth
certificateisreproducedinDavidSteelÕsarticle,ÔAntŽcŽdentsgidiens.MatildeRon-
deaux:LucileBucolin.MythedÕunenaissance,naissancedÕunmytheÕ
,33,no.
145(January2005),7Ð22,14Ð15.
SeeClaudeMartin,
AndrŽGideoulavocationdubonheur
(Paris:Fayard,1988),
Steeldemonstratesthathistoricallythiswasimpossible.HecitesanotebyGide
aboutCharlesTalabart,MatildeÕssecondhusband,publishedbyClaudeMartin,and
comments:ÔCe texte[...]affirmepar implicationqueTalabartrencontraetcommena
saliaisonavecMathilde [
sic
]seulementaprs lasŽparationdecelle-cidesonmariet
nefutdoncpasunpremierprŽtendantdugenre
PorteŽtroite
Õ(ÔAntŽcŽdentsgidiensÕ,
19).
SexualCuriosity139
RondeauxÐnotablyherskin colour andexotic appearanceÐinhabited
Madeleine.ThemotherÕshauntingofthedaughtermightalsobere-
flectedinGideÕschoiceofthenameAlissa.ThenameonMatilde
RondeauxÕsbirthcertificateisÔLouiseMatildeElisePochetÕ.Steel
comments:
Asanaissance,MadeleineGideahŽritŽ,ˆlÕexceptiondeceluidÕElise,des
plusieursprŽnomsdesamre,aveclÕajoutdecetteMadeleine(Magdalena
quesamreallaitdevenir?).Quantˆ lÕElisemanquant,Gideyavait-ilson-
gŽ[...] lorsquÕilinventaleprŽnom,delafilledeLucile:Alissa?(18)
Butto acknowledgeovertlyMadeleineÕsdesire andcuriositywouldbe
toalignhertoherbanishedmother.ThiswasimpossibleforGide,
whorequiredthatMadeleineandherfictionalavatarsassumethe
functionoftheearlierbarriersofÎdipalinterdiction.Representatives
ofÔlaporteŽtroiteÕ,theirabstinenceshutsthedoorsthattheirlascivi-
ousmothersleftopen:
JevivaisauprsdemacousinedŽjˆdansuneconscientecommunautŽde
Segalnotesthestructuralsignificanceofthisscene,whichisthepreludetothe
ÔadulteryÕofEmmanuleÕs mother;in
LaPorteŽtroite
,thescenebeforeLucileÕsadul-
teryiswhensheputsherhanddownJŽr™meÕsshirt (
P&P
,76).Securitythroughab-
stinenceisthuscontrastedwithdanger throughdesire.
HetellsthePetiteDame:ÔÒCÕestˆvous,lesfemmes,ˆmaintenirlatradition;a
nouspermetdÕautantmieuxdÕallerdelÕavant!ÓÕ (
CPD
,59).Intheautobiography,
Emmanuleisexpected toholdAndrŽÕskite-string (
,327).
140AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Incontrasttoheterosexualsex,orÔfeminisingÕpenetrative
homosexualsex,whichterrifyordisgusttheGideansubjectbyphan-
tasmaticallymakinghimvulnerabletotheretributionofbadpart-ob-
jects(andhenceneedforcontainmentbyabarrier),non-penetrative
homosexualsexisrenderedunthreatening.Ihavealreadysuggested,
followingMauriceDenis,thatinGideallsexisillicitfromtheoutset.
WehaveseenhowGidemaintainstheillicitstatusofheterosexualsex
by:suggestingthatitbringsharm;conjuringitasanincestuousÎdi-
palset-up;portrayingadulteryscenesandprostitutionasemblematic
ofuncontrolledheterosexuality; andexcisingcuriosity anddesirefrom
hisÔgoodÕfemalecharacters.ForGide,sexualcuriositycannotbedi-
rectedtowardsthemotherimagoandbyassociationgeneralcuriosity
cannotbedirectedtowardswomen.RatherthansuccumbtotheÎdi-
palinterdiction,orindeedpunishmentfromretaliatorybadpart-ob-
jectsbyrenegingoncuriosityingeneral,Gideinsteadendeavoursto
legitimisenon-penetrativehomosexualsex.InGide,thebarrierssur-
roundingsex(thebarsofthepark,thebanisterofthestairs,thetaboo
ofÎdipalandadulterousdesire)arebrokendowninahomosexual
context.Thisisindicatedbytheswitchfromtheincuriositytowards
womenthatmarksthecloseofPart1ofthemanuscriptof
Silegrain
(ÔLevraicÕestquejenÕatteignis ˆ lapubertŽquetrstard;monincuri-
ositŽˆlÕŽgarddelÕautresexeŽtaittotale;toutlemystrefeminine,si
jÕeussepuledŽcouvrirdÕungeste,cegestejenelÕeussepointfaitÕ [
1164,z])andthelegitimisationofhomosexualdesirethatcharacter-
ises Part2ofthe autobiography.
Consequently,AndrŽ andWildegoto a hotelinAlgierswhere
AndrŽplanstohavesexwithMohammed.ToAndrŽÕsevidentunease
atthetwoenormouspolicemenstandguardoutside,Wilderesponds
reassuringly:ÔÒAoh!dear,mais au contraire; celaprouvequeceth™tel
esttrssžr.IlsviennenticipourprotŽgerlesŽtrangers.Jelesconnais;
cesontdÕexcellentsgaronsquiaimentbeaucoupmescigarettes.Ils
comprennenttrsbien.Ó (
,309).NobarrierisnecessaryasAndrŽÕs
desiring-sexualcuriositytowardsmaleadolescentsislegitimised.Le-
gitimisationisthenameofthegame:MartinduGard,commentingon
adraftofPart1of
Silegrain
advisedGide:ÔcÕestparlavieintense
dontvospersonnagesserontrayonnantsquevouslŽgitimerez,mieux
queparvosrŽticentesargumentations,cequevousavez[...]unsivif
SexualCuriosity141
dŽsirdelŽgitimerÕ (
RMGCorr
,157).
TheeditorsoftheGideÐ
MarcAllŽgretcorrespondencecommentwithregardtoGideÕsrela-
tionshipwithMarc:ÔMaisencorepouvait-il, choseindispensable ˆ ses
yeux,lŽgitimercebonheur,enproftantparadoxalementdeladiffŽ-
rencedÕ‰ge,quarante-huitanspourlui,dix-septpourMarc,pourins-
crirecetterelationdansunevisŽepŽdagogiqueetmorale.Õ
Inthat
samecorrespondence,aletterfromMarcshortlybeforetheirtripto
LondoninJune1918showsMarctobethinkinginsimilarterms:
ÔSÕaffranchirdesloies[sic]prostituŽes.Nousenferonspournous
seuls.Oncleterriblementbeau.JetÕadoreavechystŽrieetjouissanceÕ
(174).Whilesexualincuriositytowardsheterosexualsexandpenetra-
tivefeminisinghomosexualsexfunctionsphantasmaticallytoprotect
thesubjectfromretributionofbadpart-objects,legitimisingsexual
curiosityofahomosexual/non-penetrativevariantisperceivedas
escapingretaliationthrough Prometheanflight.
Thisbringsusfullcircle:Geneviveissexuallyincuriousandscien-
tificallycurioustowardsÔnormalÕ(i.e.heterosexual)depictionsofsex,
butisopentothesensualityofBaudelaireÕspoetrywhenSararecites
it,i.e.whensheisinthelegitimateenvironmentofhomosexuality.
JŽr™metakesfrightatLucileÕspoetrybook,butcanenjoyBaudelaire
whenhereadsittoAlissa,whoprovidesalegitimateenvironmentof
deactivatedheterosexuality.AndrŽissexuallyincurioustowardshet-
erosexualsex,andyetpractisesdesiring-sexualcuriositytowardsMo-
hammedbecause Wilde andthepolicemenlegitimisethispederasty.
Part2of
Silegrain
,whichchartstheawakeningofAndrŽÕs
sexualcuriosity,openswithanevocationofPrometheanhubrisand
adventure:ÔJÕŽtaispareilˆPromŽthŽequisÕŽtonnaitquÕonpžtvivre
sansaigleetsansselaisserdŽvorerÕ (
,269).Havingshakenoffthe
eagle,AndrŽisnowauthorisedtofollowhisdesire.MartinduGard
noteshowGideassociatedmoreliberalsexualvalueswithÔleprogrs
delÕhumanitŽÕ (
RMG J
,296).Ihavejustexaminedthelibidinalside
OfthehistoricWilde, Gidehadcommentedinhishomageof1902:ÔlefaitestquÕil
rayonnaitÕ (
,838).
CorrespondanceAndrŽGideÐMarcAllŽgret,1917Ð1949
,ed.byJeanClaudeand
PierreMasson(Paris:Gallimard,2005),12Ð13.
Apter,
Homotextuality
,144.
142AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ofthisPrometheancoin;inthenextchapterIshallinvestigateitsnon-
libidinalside,thescientificcuriositythatis associatedwithprogress.
ScientificCuriosity
Introduction
Gidewasscientificallycurious aboutthenaturalsciences(biology,en-
tomology,botany,chemistry),
thehumansciences(psychology,an-
thropology),socialinstitutionssuchasthelawcourtortheasylum,
and,aswesawintheintroduction,himself.Thebreadthofhis
scientificinterestsmakeshim a twentieth-centuryEnlightenmentman,
E.M.Forsterwritingin1951:ÔThehumanisthasfourleadingchar-
acteristicsÐcuriosity,afreemind,beliefingoodtaste,andabeliefin
thehumanraceÐandallfourarepresentinGide.Õ
Ishallexamine
GideÕswilltopursueaPrometheanversionofcuriosity,Prometheus
being, as J
llehasshown,ÔthesymbolicfigureoftheEnlightenmentÕ.
Idefinescientificcuriosity asthedesiretoknow aboutobjects
thatarescientific, andlooking atobjectsingeneralin a scientificway.
Incontrasttodesiring-sexualcuriosity,scientificcuriosityoperatesin
thepublicsphere,exploringandsometimescontributingtothebody
ofhumanknowledge.LaroussedefinesscienceasÔlesavoirco-
ordonnŽÕwhichdemandsobservation,comparisonandabstraction.
Observationrelatestocuriosity;comparisonandabstractionare
requiredÔpourcoordonneret,parconsŽquent,pourconstituerla
science
Õ.WhatmakesGidemorescientificallycuriousthansimply
scientificishispolymathqualityandhisappetitefornovelty,which
ledhimtoneglectthehardgraftofcomparisonandabstractionona
significantscale.LikeLaFontaineÕsParnassianbutterflycitedin
Les
Faux-Monnayeurs
,368),Gideflutteredfromonecentreof
Regardingchemistry,LambertrecallshowGideÕsbedsidetableattherueVaneau
wasÔsurchargŽedefioles,detubes,debo”tesdepilules,carilatoujoursaimŽexpŽ-
rimenterÕ (
Lambert
,57Ð58;cf. thecharacterAnthime in
LesCaves
).Theotherdiscip-
linesshallbeexpandeduponforthwith.
E.M.Forster,ÔGideÕsDeathÕ,
TwoCheers forDemocracy
(London:EdwardArnold
&Co.,1951),232Ð34,233.
Jonas J
lle,ÔÒPrincePoli&SavantÓ:Goethe'sPrometheusandtheEnlightenmentÕ,
TheModernLanguageReview
,99,no.2(April2004),394Ð415,399.
EntryonÔScienceÕ,inPierreLarousse,
LarousseencyclopŽdiqueuniversel
,16vols
(Paris:Franceloisirs,1998),
XIV
,392.
144AndrŽGideandCuriosity
interesttothenext,certainlywillingtoexaminethatsiteindepth,but
alwayspoisedtoleaveitinpursuitofanewgoal.Thisdabblingin
sciencequalifiesaswhat
Larousse
termsÔscienceamusanteÕ:an
ÔensembledefaitsscientifiquespropresˆpiquerlacuriositŽouˆ
charmerlessensÕ.GideÕskeenpowersofobservationandpredilection
fortheidiosyncraticmadehimmoreadeptatchallengingscientific
claimsthanataddingsignificantlytotheedificeofscientific
knowledge.
Enlightenmentthinkingholdssciencetobeprogressiveand
thereforelegitimate:Ôlascience,cetteBabellŽgitimedelÕhumanitŽÕ,
remarksLerminierironically(Larousse,392).This,byassociation,
givesacertainlegitimacytoscientificcuriosity.Gidechosetoes-
tablishapedigreeforcuriosityinascientificcontextratherthana
sexualorawriterlyone,justashedidmoreexplicitlyforpederastyin
Corydon
.IntheÔSecondelettresurlesfaitsdiversÕ,Gidestressesthat
itisnotÔvainecuriositŽÕpushinghimtocraftthe
Faitsdivers
,butthe
willtoshakecurrentpsychologicalthinkingfromitscomplacency
NJP
,145Ð46).
Yetcuriosityis clearly a concern, asshownbytheex-
amplehegivesofthekindofcontributionshewouldliketoreceive
fromreaders:
Voicicequejepropose(parexemple):
LacuriositŽ
estundesressortsdenotreactivitŽquimepara”t
avoirŽtŽleplus mŽconnuet le moinsbienŽtudiŽ.Envainfouillai-jeles trai-
tŽsdepsychologie.WilliamJameslaissedec™tŽlaquestion,quimepara”t
toutefoisdesplusimportantes.IlmÕaparuquelacuriositŽexistait,ˆlÕŽtat
plusoumoinsrudimentairechez lesanimaux.Et jeneparviensjusquÕˆprŽ-
sent,fautepeut-trededonnŽessuffisantes,ˆmelÕexpliquerclairement,ni
ˆmesatisfairedelÕexplicationquetelphilosophe,ˆquijÕenparle,mÕen
propose. (
GideÕsitalics
NJP
,147Ð48)
Thatsaid, thescientificand thescientificallycuriouscannotbedistinguishedsocat-
egorically,curiositybeinganactivityoftheproperlyscientific,asthisquotationfrom
AlbertEinsteinmakesclear:ÔIchhabekeinebesondereBegabung,sondernbinnur
leidenschaftlichneugierigÕ(Ihavenoparticulartalent,butratheramjustpassionately
curious).LettertoCarlSeelig,1952,quotedbyUlrichWeinzierlin
CarlSeelig,
Schriftsteller
(Vienna,LšckerVerlag,1982),135.
ThenotionofvaincuriosityiscommontothewritingoftheFrenchmoralists,
featuringinLaBruyreÕschapter,ÔDelamodeÕ,in
LesCaractres
,1688,andBoss-
ScientificCuriosity145
Gettingcuriosityintothepsychologymanualswouldrevealtheextent
towhichitexercisesthesubjectÕsÔespritcritiqueÕ (
NJP
ü145), andele-
vateitsstatusfromvaintoprogressive.
FromentinÕs
(1862)evokesachildhoodspentab-
sorbedbythenaturalworld,andGideclassesitamongsthisfav-
ourites,describingitasÔunlivreamicalÕ.DelayexpoundsonGideÕs
childhoodcuriosity,includingthekaleidoscopewhichAndrŽpulls
apartandrebuildswithnewelements,andthemarbletrappedunder
thefloor atUzswhichAndrŽfeelsimpelledtodiscover (
,144Ð45).
Silegrain
,thechildAndrŽjoinsAnnaShackletononbotanical
researchtrips,rearssilkworms,catchesfish,andhuntsforbeetles,
prayingmantisesandscorpions.AndrŽisfascinatedbybooksonnat-
uralhistory:adoctoratLamaloulendshimanumberofbooks,in-
cludingonewhichÔdonnaitsurlesmÏursduversolitairedesrŽv-
ŽlationscaptivantesÕ (
,1132,variantad);andthenarratorenthuses
aboutanothertitlewhichrecountsachildhoodthatwasÔsifervente,si
alerte,sicurieuse[...]toujours ˆ lÕaffžt,desnuitsentiresdeguetdans
lesbois,occupŽesˆŽpieretˆsurprendretoutcequifrŽmissaitsous
lesfeuillesÕ.
ÔLesjeuxdelamatirevivanteÕthatsoexcitetheboyremain
thepertinentthemeofGideÕsadultscientificcuriosity(
,143).On
seeinganApollobutterflyinAndorra,GiderecallshisjoyÔlorsque
enfant,pourlapremirefois,jevisdansleJuracepapillonsuperbe
quejecroyaisnÕhabiterquelesAlpesÕ (
,649).Thiscrossoverof
child-likeenthusiasmintoadulthoodisemphasisedwhenGidede-
scribeshimselfin1907asÔunpetitgaronquisÕamuseÐdoublŽdÕun
pasteurprotestantquilÕennuieÕ (
,576).Yetthepastorisalsoanac-
tivelycuriousfigure.CocteaudescribesGideasÔcommecertainspas-
teursquejerencontraisen Suisseavecunebo”tedenaturalisteenban-
doulire,chassantetŽpinglantdespapillonsÕ (
Gidevivant
,225);and
FatherandSon
(1907),EdmundGossedemonstrateshowcuriosity
towardsthenaturalworldÐthistimemarinespecimensonthe
DevonshirecoastÐhasarejuvenatingeffectonanormallysternmin-
ister:
FordepictionsofachildÕspassionatecuriosity,specificallytowardsthenatural
worldandreminiscentofGideÕsown,seeJean-JacquesPauvert,
LaTraversŽedu
Livre:MŽmoires
(Paris:VivianeHamy,2004),13Ð14;andBrianMagee,
Cloudsof
Glory:aHoxtonChildhood
(London:JonathanCape,2003),123&126,inwhich
MageetalksofhischildselfÕsÔendlessÕ,ÔperpetualÕandÔsharpenedcuriosityÕ.
146AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Itwas[...]bendingoverthoseshallowtidalpoolsinthelimestonerocks
whichwereourproperhunting-ground,Ðitwasinsuchcircumstancesas
thesethatmyFatherbecamemosteasy,mosthappy,mosthuman.Thathard
lookacrosshisbrows[...]fadedaway,andleftthedarkcountenancestill
alwayssternindeed,butsereneandunupbraiding.Thesepoolswereour
mirrors,inwhich[...] thereused toappear theshapesofamiddle-agedman
andafunny
littleboy,equallyeager,and[...]equallywellpreparedforbus-
inessÕ (
FatherandSon
,123Ð24).
ComplementingthechildlikedelightofGideÕsscientificcuriositywas
aserioussidethatwasmostprobablythelegacyof a longstandingtra-
ditionlinkingnaturalhistorytoProtestantism:
thedevoutAnna
ShackletonoversawandencouragedtheawakeningofGideÕspassion
forentomologyandbotany.RogerBastideviewsthereligiousaspect
ofGideÕsearlyinterestinbotany astransient,suggestingthatin adult-
hoodGidewasnolongerclosetotheFrenchnaturalistandauthor,
BernardindeSaint-Pierre,whosechiefwork,
ƒtudesdelanature
(17-
84),soughttoprovetheexistenceofGodfromthewondersofnature,
butadmiredinsteadthebotanistandzoologistLamarck,theento-
mologistJean-HenriFabre,andDarwin.
Yetthisshiftisprobably
moreareflectionofthescientificdevelopmentsoftheday,inpar-
ticulartheimpactofevolutionarytheory,
thanaconsciousstepto
AlthoughGosseÕstextwaspublishedinthesameyearthatGidecomparedhimself
toaboydoubledbyaminister,Gidedidnotread
FatherandSon
untilGossesenthim
acopy inApril1910 (
Corr.EdmundGosse
,56Ð58),so theparallelimagesofboyand
pastorarecoincidental.
CarlLinnaeus,ÔthegreatestplantclassifieroftheeighteenthcenturyÕandauthorof
TheSystemofNature
(1735)was thesonofaLutheranpastor,andhisfollowers,Cu-
vier(1769Ð1832)andLouisAgassiz(1807Ð73)werealsoProtestant.TheHuguenots,
AugustdeCandolle(1778Ð1841)andhissonAlphonse,carriedonJussieuÕsworkat
theJardindesPlantesinParis;thefatherofEdmundGosse,PhilipHenryGosse
(1810Ð1888),wasaministerfortheextremeCalvinistsect,thePlymouthBrethren,
andanaturalist,writingonentomology,zoology,ornithology,andmarinebiology.
Redmond OÕHanlon(b.1947)talksofhowhisfather,acountryparson,hadgivenhim
atwo-volumebirdbookandthebinoculars:ÔThatÕshowbiologybeganinthiscoun-
try:innaturaltheology.YouwerepraisingGodÕsworkasmuchbycataloguingear-
wigsasbyvisitingtheparishionersÕ(AndrewBrown,ÔRedmondOÕHanlon:Trav-
ellinginHopeÕ,Interview,
TheGuardian
,8November2003,SaturdayReview,23Ð
22).
RogerBastide,
Anatomied'AndrŽGide
(Paris:PressesuniversitairesdeFrance,
1972),28.
EdmundGossecharts thecrisisundergonebyhisfatherin thewinterof1857when
hesoughtinvaintoupholdhisreligiousbeliefsinthefaceof Darwinism,andfinished
ScientificCuriosity147
breakhisscientificcuriosityfromitsreligiousassociations.ForGide
continuedtorecognise a religiosityinnaturalhistory anditsstudy.He
describesFabre,theauthorofhisbeloved
Souvenirsentomologiques
(1882),asÔcesavantdontlapatience,danslÕobservationdelanature,
avoisinelasaintetŽ,qui,danscegrandlivreouvertsurlequelilse
penchepieusementchaquejour,apprendmaintesvertusÕ (
,641).He
observesin1894thatÔlesloisdelanaturesontcellesdeDieuÕ (
184);andwritesin
LesNouvellesNourritures
:ÔDanslÕ
HistoireNatu-
relle
upwithÔadislocationofhisintellectualsystemÕ(Gosse,
FatherandSon
,102Ð12,
112).
Gidewrites:ÔLehŽrosnedoitmmepassongerˆsonsalut.IlsÕest
volontairement
148AndrŽGideandCuriosity
dÕespritscientifiqueÕ,
andfeltduty-boundtospeakout:ÔDŽsormais,
uneimmenseplaintemÕhabite;[...]jedoisparlerÕ (
,401).The
obverseofthisdutytospeakisadutytolookfurther:ÔJeveuxpasser
danslacoulisse,delÕautrec™tŽdudŽcor,conna”treenfincequise
cache,celafžt-ilaffreux.CÕestcetÒaffreuxÓquejesouponne,queje
veuxvoirÕ (
,402).
AlthoughMichelTournerchampionsGideasÔlÕŽcrivainen-
gagŽÕ,
Cocteaucountersthisview,commentingbathetically:ÔGide
vagabondeetcevagabondageluiestprŽtexteˆencollectionnerles
moindresdŽtails.CÕestainsiquÕildŽcideenrevenantduCongodÕai-
dertoutelaracengre, alorsquÕilsavaitfortbienquÕonnepourraitai-
derefficacementquÕunoudeuxnoirsÕ(Cocteau,224).Thereisafine
linebetweenGideÕssenseofduty andhisinstinctivecompulsiontobe
curious, apparent alsointhepastor/childimage, andinhiseyes,which
HermannHessedescribesasÔscrutateurs,curieux,ŽprisdevieendŽ-
pitdeleurgravitŽÕ (
NRFH
,20).ThisdoublemotivationofGideÕscu-
riosityfeaturesalsoinGideÕsassociationwithFŽvrier,thecomposer
whowasputting
LeRoiCandaule
(1901)tomusic.WhenMartindu
GardaskedGidewhyhesufferedFŽvriertakinguphoursofhistime
andwarpinghistext,Gidereplied:
ÔCÕestextrmementinstructifpourmoi.JenÕaipeut-trepasacquis[...]au-
tant,depuistroisans,quedepuiscestroissemainesdecollaboration!...Cet
tre[...]merŽvleunmondeinconnu![...]CÕestuneŽcoleinapprŽciable!
[...]ilmÕauraplusŽclairŽsurmoi-mmequemestroisansderetraitesol-
itaire!Õ
Untemps. UneombretrspŽniblepassesursonfront,descendsur
sespaupiresbaissŽes,jusquÕˆsabouche,torduedansuneexpressionlour-
de,unpeufausse,etpleinededouleur,etcommepleineaussidehonte.Puis
MarceldeCoppet toMartinduGard,26December1925,
RMGCorr
,675.
GidebelieveshecanstandthistroublingzoneÔbehindthefetishobjectÕ.
SusanPetitÔUneConversationavecMichelTournier:DeKant,GideetSimenonˆ
lasexualitŽetauxvampiresÕ,in
DalhousieFrenchStudies
,66,(2004Spring)73Ð80,
ScientificCuriosity149
curiosity:ÔPuisilsouritdeslvresetlveunregardtroublŽverssa
femmeÕ.Gide,simultaneouslytheÔtextualÕobjectofscientific
curiosityÐMassondescribesGideasÔunhomme-livreÕ(ÔLeLivreet
labibliothqueÕ,41)Ðandadiscoveringsubject,feelsduty-boundto
sufferhavinghistext(andbyextensionhimself)dissectedand
modifiedinorderthathelearnabouthimself;atthesametime,heis
instinctivelyimpelledtolookon.Sodutyandsimplecuriositymerge
andtogethermotivateGideÕscuriositytowardsdistressingobjects,
suchasÔlÕaffreuxÕoftheCongo.YetGidecontinuedtocircumventif
possible,orsufferagainsthiswillifnot,theotherÔaffreuxÕthatisa
sexualisedwoman,
asthisextractfrom
VoyageauCongo
shows:
ÔDansesdefemmesˆlÕentrŽedechaquevillage.ExtrmementpŽni-
ble,letrŽmoussementŽhontŽdesmatronessurleretour.[...]Certaines
sedŽmnentcommedesforcenŽesÕ (
,409).
TheGenderingofCuriosity
Gidewritesinthe
Faitsdivers
(1930):
CÕŽtaitˆproposdes
MilleetuneNuits;
et lÕexempledeSindbadetdesCal-
endersmÕŽtaituneoccasionderemarquercombiencettecuriositŽviriledif-
fredecellequÕontaccoutumŽdenouspeindrenoslittŽraturesocc-
identales.DÕEveˆMarienkind,oudePandoreˆlafemmedeBarbe-Bleue,
jenÕyvoisgurequedelacuriositŽfŽminine.[...]
ÔCÕŽtaitaffreux: jevoyaistoutessesdents,entreseslvresŽcartŽespardesfossettes
ridiculesÕ (
,109).
Mulvey,
CuriosityandFetishism
,59Ð61.
150AndrŽGideandCuriosity
tragiqueduvouloirsavoir,etpuisjÕaiŽnormŽmentpataugŽ,jenevoy-
aisplusdutoutcequereprŽsentaientlesfemmesdeBarbe-Bleue,si
cÕŽtaitlavŽritŽoulajeunesse!ÓÕ (
CPD
,22).Gide attributeshisreac-
tiontohisinabilitytoimprovise;Iwouldsoonerblamehisunease
aroundfemininecuriosity.Indeed,theverbÔpataugerÕoccursinthe
contextofthemanÕsembarrasseduncomprehendingresponsetothe
womanÕscuriosityin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
whenMolinierconfides
inEdouardhowPaulinewentthroughhisdrawersanddiscoveredhis
lovelettersÐÔÒvoussavezcommentsontlesfemmes,toujoursunpeu
curieuses...Ó.[...]LepauvrehommepataugeaitdanssaconfidenceÕ
(1116Ð17).
GidemakeshisÔgoodÕfemalecharactersactivelyand
passivelyincurious,inorderthathisowncuriositytowardsthem
shouldnotbetriggeredbyaprocessofmagnetismorcontagion.The
negativedepictionoffemininecuriosityinWesterncultureisanadd-
edsupport.ÔBadÕfemalecharactersassumePandora-likeattributes;
ÔgoodÕfemalecharacters,bycontrast,havethewherewithaltokeep
thelidonthejarcontainingÔalltheSpitesthatmightplagueman-
kindÕ.
AttemptsbyGidetobreaktheequationbetweenfeminine
Inbothcontexts,themanisinfactthecriminal(Bluebeard,themurderer;Molinier,
theadulterer),whilethewomaniscondemnedforhercuriosity(inPaulineÕscase,
wrongly).TheincomprehensionthetaleelicitsinGideandtherifleddrawerinMo-
linierpossiblyresultfromanawarenessofthis.ItisGeorgeswhoactuallygoes
throughMolinierÕsdrawers,echoingBernardÕsriflingofhismotherÕsdrawersatthe
opening.Thesegesturessuggest that thecuriosityofGeorgesandBernardhasafem-
inineobject,andIshalllatershowhowthesetwocharactersarewell-placedtoper-
formreparation(ch.4).
Graves,
GreekMyths
,49.Similarly,Baldwinargues thatGideÕspresentationofthe
lackofcommunionbetween Gideandhis wifeisinfactabraveexposŽoftheposition
ofmany20
centurymen,irrespectiveof theirsexuality(Baldwin,ÔTheMalePrisonÕ,
234Ð35).
ScientificCuriosity151
Pandoracomestoearth(sheisterrestrial);
herbrother-in-law,
Prometheus,amodelforvirilecuriosity,fliestothegods(heis aerial).
GertrudeÕsattractiontowardsthebirdsbreaksthisgendercode,
and
CorydonquotesLesterWardwhowritesthatfemalebirdsrepresent:Ôlecentrede
gravitŽdusystmebiologiqueÕ (
,86).Seealso
LaPorteŽtroite
:ÔÒAlissa!mÕŽcria-
je,pourquoitÕarraches-tulesailes?Ó (
,881),towhichSegalresponds:ÔButthe
truthis,Alissahaslongsincehadnowings:earthboundandcircumscribed,shehas
stayedstillwhilehesoaredÕ (
P&P,
147).
Thepastoragainbreaksthiscodewhen,ÔcraignantqueGertrudenesÕŽtiol‰tˆde-
meurerauprsdufeusanscesse,commeunevieille,jÕavaiscommencŽdelafairesor-
tirÕ (
,16).
,637(30May1911)andnote.
152AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Gidestrugglednottoimposehisownstyleonafemalecharacter; and
triedtoovercomehislackofpleasureatwritingÔfŽmininementÕand
hissensethatthebookÔnemetientpasdirectementˆcÏuretnerŽ-
pondˆaucuneprofondeexigenceÕ (
,194).Theprojecttooksix
yearsandthefinalversionwaspublishedwiththealternativetitleof
LaconfidenceinachevŽe
,Gidehavingresignedhimselftoneverad-
vancingthework.
In1934,Gidewrote:
QuelquechosedÕŽtrange,debizarre,etquivoussaisisse.CÕestcelaqueje
StendhalÕs
Lamiel
wasalsoleftunfinished.Thereexistsanunpublishedsecond
volumeto
Genevive
,inwhichtheheroineworksfortheFoyerFranco-Belge,joins
theCommunistPartyandhasason (
RMGNotes
,105Ð6;Segal,
P&P
,159).
PierreLafille,
AndrŽGideromancier
ScientificCuriosity153
Stendhalbeforehim,makesofhisheroinearatherdryexponentof
femalecuriosity.
InfinitelypreferableforGideisamalechampionofthemas-
culinecuriosityofprogress.Enlightenmentvaluesinfusetheendof
ÔSurlaÒcuriositŽÓdesanimauxÕ:ÔcÕest[lacuriositŽ]quinouspousse
auprogrs,quinousmne ˆladŽcouverte,quinousentra”neverslÕin-
connu.SanslacuriositŽ,lÕhumanitŽenseraitrestŽeˆlÕ‰gedupierreÕ
NJP
,172).Thisnexusofmasculinity,flight,thedemon, andprogress
iscapturedinPrometheus.(Notably,Barthesqualifiesthe
mythologie
gidienne
asa
mythologiepromŽthŽenne
)Contrarytotheterrestrial
Pandora,theaerial PrometheusgoestoOlympustostealthefireofthe
Godsandacquireknowledge:Prometheus,ÔthewisestofhisraceÕ,
learnedfromAtheneÔarchitecture,astronomy,mathematics,navig-
ation,medicine,metallurgy,andotherusefulartswhichhepassedon
tomankindÕ(Graves,
GreekMyths
,48Ð49).FlighttallieswithGideÕs
notionofmasculinedesire,hiscuriosity,andhisaccumulationof
knowledge:
AndrŽfirsthearsthe
AdventuresofSinbad
fromhis
father;
withhimalso,AndrŽwitnessestheaerialbicyclesand
launchesthe
dragonsdepapier
.Further,Gidehadapenchantfor
attireassociatedwithflight:thePetiteDamepictureshimÔavecson
manteauquiflotteÕ (
CPD
,79);hevisitedthevillageLambertcame
fromÔdrapŽdanssagrandecapeÕ(Lambert,106);inOxfordtoreceive
hishonorarydoctoratein1947,Gide, afterthe ceremony, couldnotbe
persuadedtogiveuphisgownÔquefaisaitvolerunventassezfortÕ
(Lambert,109).Gidestates:ÔcÕestdurestemapositiondepuis
toujours,leChristcommePromŽthŽeseraitcontreZeus...Õ (
CPD
12).
PrometheusisthesubjectofapoembyGoethe,
andofGideÕs
Time
154AndrŽGideandCuriosity
LePromŽthŽemalencha”nŽ
,inwhich,incontrasttotheheroof
AeschylusÕs
PrometheusBound
,thehubristicadventurerultimately
escapespunishment,Prometheusfinishingupbyeatingtheeagle
destinedtopeckouthisliverforeternity.Progress,Gidecommentsin
Journal
,isoftendrivenby Ô
lemal
(certainmalquinÕestpaslefait
dÕunesimple
carence
,maisbienunemanifestationdÕŽnergie)Õ (
163Ð64).ThisisÔdÕuneplusgrandevertuŽducativeetinitiatriceÐque
cequevousappelez
lebien
Õ.ÔMalÕandÔŽnergieÕrecallPrometheusÕs
hubris andBlakeÕsinfernalenergies;further,they contributetoGideÕs
conceptionofÔleÒdaim™nÓgrecougoethŽenÕ(Goulet,
FVS
,534),
whichrepresents,amongotherthings,ÔlaforcedelacuriositŽÕ.
ObsessionalandManicDefencestotheDepressive
Position
Gidediscardsfemininecuriosity,alookinginsidethemotherimago,
infavourofthemasculinecuriosityofPrometheus,
whichisactive
intheexternalworld.AccordingtoKlein,suchbehaviourtallieswith
obsessional-neuroticandmanicdefencesagainsttheanguishofan
unresolveddepressiveposition.HavingfailedtosecureaÔgoodÕob-
jectmodelledonthebenevolentmotherimagobymakingreparation
forearlyphantasmaticsadism,thesubjectinsteadfearsretaliation
fromapredominantlymalevolentmotherimago,inconsequence
resortingtoobsessionalandmanicdefences.Kleinfirstseparates
thesetwotypesofdefence,butlatershowsthemtobeinterrelated
monsieurtombŽducielÕ (
CPD
,84).LambertdescribesGideasPrometheus
(Lambert,18).
ScientificCuriosity155
Writings
,[1940]351).Onlyrarelydoobsessionalandmanic
defencessucceedinsecuringtheÔgoodÕobject.Ishalllaterexplore
howdespitethisGidedoesultimatelysucceedineffectingreparation
throughcreativity.
Fornow,myfocusisonGideÕsscientific
curiosity,whichIunderstandtobelongtothephaseofobsessional and
manicdefences.Thisisalso,bytheway,whereIwouldsituatehis
sexualcuriosity.
InÔAContributiontotheTheoryofIntellectualInhibitionÕ
(1931),KleindetailsthecasestudyoftheintellectuallyinhibitedJohn,
whoissoparalysedbyfearofthepersecutingobjectsinsidethe
motherimagothattheprocessesofintrojection,projection,sadism
andreparationnecessarytoworkthroughearlyanxietysituations
breakdown,thushaltingepistemophilia,whichfunctionsalongside
sadismandreparation.Attheendofthepapersheindicatesan
alternativescenarioresultingfromthesamesubconsciousprocesses,
wherebyintellectualinhibitionandextremeepistemophiliaalternate.
TheeventualityshedescribescorrespondstoanumberofGideÕs
characteistics.TosimplifymysubsequentcommentaryoftheKlein
quotation,IhaveinsertedreferencenumbersintoKleinÕstext:
Iwillherementiononeortwomoremechanismsof[1]intellectualinhibi-
tion,thistimeofadefinitelyobsessional-neuroticcharacter,whichappear
asaresultofthestrongoperationofearlyanxiety-situations.Inalternation
withaninhibitionofthekinddescribedabove,wesometimesseetheopp-
ositeextremeresultÐ[2]acravingtotakeineverythingthatoffersitself,to-
getherwith[3]aninability todistinguishbetweenwhatisvaluableandwhat
Klein,
Writings
,210Ð18andch.4,
infra
156AndrŽGideandCuriosity
amongotherfactorswhichneednotbementionedhere,uponitsever-
que jÕŽtais.Autourdemoi,enmoi,rienquetŽnbres. (
,118)
Etfaisantalternersuivant lÕusage,etpouranimer laleon,lÕinterrogationet
lÕenseignement,M.VedelprialÕŽlveGidederŽpŽtercequÕilvenaitde
dire...
JenerŽpondispas.JenesavaispasrŽpondre.
[...]denouveaujerestaiscoi.
MastupiditŽavaitmisenjoietoutelaclasse.[...];simplement
jÕŽtaisstupide.[...]EnvŽritŽ,jecroisquejenecomprenaispascequelÕon
mevoulait,cequelÕonattendaitdemoi.(119)
InÔTheTheoryofIntellectualInhibitionÕ,Kleinillustratestheinhi-
bitionofseven-year-oldJohnbydescribinghisinabilityatschoolto
namecertainFrenchwords,namely
poulet
,and
glace
Writ-
,236),which,throughtheplaytechniqueandverbalassociation,
sheshowstobeassociatedbytheboytothedamagedmotherimago
(236Ð41).AndrŽÕsstupidityinthequotationjustcitedalsoconcerns
ÔChronologieÕ,in
,xxxviiÐxl,
passim
ScientificCuriosity157
hisinabilitytounderstand certainwords:heisunabletorepeatbackto
theclassthesynonymsforhazeltree,ÔÒcoudrierÓÕandÔÒnoisetierÓÕ
,119).Wemaylinktheseparticularwords,designatingtrees,tothe
damagedmotherimagoalso:inanintertextualreadingofthe
descriptionofthegardensofLaRoquein
Silegrain
andtheclosing
scenesof
Isabelle
,Massonpresentsacompellingcaseforviewingthe
tree-fellingassymbolicof:ÔlamortdelamrequilÕaorganisŽ,mort
dontlefilsassumelaresponsabilitŽÕ.
Further,gardensandplantsin
Gidecanevokethemotherimago,assuggestedbythenamesofgood
governesses,mothers and aunts:from
Isabelle
,OlympeVerdure;from
LaPorteŽtroite
,FloraAshburton,TantePlantierandMadamePalis-
sier,LucileBucolin.Gidealsolinkslandtothematernalwhen,inthe
documentary
AvecAndrŽGide
,hereadsoutaletterfrom19January
1891:ÔLaterreŽtaitmaternelleetmefaisaitsonger
...Õ (
AvecAndrŽ
Gide
,35.00Ð35.42).
KleinwritesofintellectualinhibitionalternatingwithÔa
cravingtotakeineverythingthatoffersitselfÕ(reference2).Theim-
plicationisthattwotendenciesarehereatwork,namely,epis-
temophilicactivityfollowingalongperiodofepistemophilicinhi-
bition(Ôthis appetiteforintellectualnourishment,whichtooktheplace
ofthechildÕsformerincapacitytotakeinanythingÕ);andanalter-
nationbetweenepistemophilicinhibition andepistemophilia.Isuggest
thatwhereastheformertendencychartsthemovementfromadebil-
itatingepistemophilia-inhibitingdepressivepositiontoaposition
wheretheobsessional-neuroticdefencesareactivated,thelatterap-
pliestotheperiodofthatactivation,i.e.theobsessionaldefences,
onceactivated,arecharacterisedbyalternation.SoAndrŽÕsÔstupideÕ
earlychildhoodwouldmarktheperiodbeforethedefencesare
activated,whilelateralternationsindicatethatobsessionaldefences
areatwork.ThissecondphaseisinlinewithSartreÕscommenton
GideÕsÔperpŽtuelsretournements,sesoscillationsdÕunextrmeˆ
lÕautreÕ(ÔGidevivantÕ,87),andcorrelatestoGideÕsviewthat
ennui
aspringboardforaction:ÔavecquellefacilitŽ,chezmoi,succdeˆla
curiositŽlaplus ardente,unequasi complteindiffŽrenceÉÕ (
,289).
Inhiscriticalessayon StendhalÕs
Lamiel
(1946),Gidecomments also:
ÔÒLÕennui,fruitdelamorneincuriositŽÓ,disaitBaudelaire.Lemot
PierreMasson, Ô
Isabelle
,oulÕadieuauparadisÕ,
,18,86Ð87(April1990),
349Ð60,357.
158AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ennuirevientˆtouteslespagesdulivre;cÕestletremplindÕo
sÕŽlancetouteforce agissante,viceouvertuÕ (
,812).
ThepracticesKleindescribesasanÔappetiteforintellectual
nourishmentÕandtheÔcompulsive,almostgreedy,collectionand
accumulationofthings(includingknowledgeasasubstance)Õ(ref-
erence2)aretantamounttoextremeepistemophilia.Thesubjectis
unableÔtodistinguishbetweenwhatisvaluableandwhatisworth-
lessÕ,andthiscorrespondstoHerbartÕscharacterisationofGideÕscu-
riosityÔCequÕilpossdeenpropre:uneinlassablecuriositŽ,serviepar
une absencetotaledeprŽjugŽs,derŽpugnances.Õ
GideÕsextremesci-
entificcuriositytowardsthenaturalworld,inchildhoodandadult-
hood,belongtothisÔobsessionaltaking-inÕ,asdoeshissexualcurios-
ity.SuchbehaviourisalsoinevidencewhenGidedescribesgood
readingpracticeafteranintensesessionofwriting.Likeningvora-
ciousreadingtogorgingoneself,heexpressesthehubristicdesireto
takein
knowledge:Ôilfautlireavecacharnement,voracement,
commeilsiedaprsuntelježne,etjusquÕaubout,carilfauttout
conna”treÕ(8May1890,
,119).
ThispointstowardsJamesStracheyÕs1930essayÔSome
UnconsciousFactorsinReadingÕ,
whichinfluencedKlein.Strachey
arguesthatreadingisanoralactivitygenerallybelongingtotheoral-
sadisticphase:novelsandfilmsthatprovideÔblissfulabsorptionÕand
Ôsmooth,uninterruptedenjoymentÕbelongtotheearlyoralphasebe-
causetheyprovideliquidnourishmentforthesubjecttosuckin(325Ð
26),whileotherbooksareÔtheonesthatwehavetogetourteethinto
andchewupbeforewecandigestthemÕ.Reading, Stracheywrites,Ôis
actuallyamethodoftakingsomeoneelseÕsthoughtsinsideoneself,
[...]awayofeatinganotherpersonÕswordsÕ.LikeFreud,Strachey
viewsÔbooks andpaperÕ asÔfemalesymbolsÕ(327).Kleinextrapolates
fromthisthatreadingphantasmaticallyplaysoutoral-sadistictenden-
ciesagainstthemotherimagoandhastheunconscioussignificanceof
ÔtakingknowledgeoutofthemotherÕsbodyÕ (
Writings
,241).KleinÕs
theoryherebecomestricky,because,ontheonehand,voracious
readingimpliesthatthesubjectisstealinggoodobjectsfromthe
motherimago,whileontheother,suchreadingwouldappeartobe-
Herbart,81.OneexampleofthisisGideÕsstatement:ÔJenepartagepaslÕindi-
gnationdegenscontrelÕanthropophagieÕ(Levesque,ÔEnGrceavecGide,343).
JamesStrachey,ÔSomeUnconsciousFactors inReadingÕ,inthe
InternationalJour-
nalofPsycho-Analysis
,11(1930),322Ð31.
ScientificCuriosity159
longtotheÔcravingtotakeineverything[...](including
knowledge as
asubstance)ÕandassuchismotivatedbythesubjectÕsdesireÔtore-
storetoitsmotherÕsbody,orrather,toitsobjects,whatithasstolen
fromthem.ÕThisapparentlyillogicalinterpretationofsimultaneous
stealingandrestoringcanneverthelessbereconciled.WhenKlein
writesÔtoitsmotherÕsbody,orrather,toits[i.e.thesubjectÕs]ob-
jectsÕ,sheisexpressinghowthesubjectattimesconflatesthemother
imagowithitsownphantasmaticself,throughprojectionandintro-
jection.HerpatientJohndoesthis:Ôthemeat-housewasnotonlyhis
motherÕsbodybuthisownÕ (
Writings
,241).Generally,Ôthedestruc-
tionimaginedtohavebeenwroughtinthemotherÕsbodyisalso
anticipatedandimaginedashavingoccurredinhisownbodyÕ(242).
Thus,GideÕsintensereadingmaybeconstruedambivalentlyasthe
takinginofgoodpart-objectstohimselfandthesimultaneous
restoringofobjectstothemotherimago(conceivedasaprojected
versionofhisownbeing);andasthesadisticstealingofgoodpart-
objectsfromthemotherimago(conceived asseparate)toreplenishthe
self.
Theobverseofthegreedytaking-inofobjectsisthesubjectÕs
Ôcompulsionstogivethingsawayindiscriminately,i.e.toejectthemÕ
(reference4).ThistallieswithMassonÕsdescriptionofGideas
ÔnullementcollectionneurÕ(ÔLeLivreetlabibliothqueÕ,43).Italso
parallelstheÔpotlatchÕGideundertookafterhismotherÕsdeath,when
heindiscriminatelygaveawayherjewelleryandothermementos (
327).ThisliteralgivingawayoftherealmotherÕsobjectsmayberead
asagivingawayofthemotherimagoÕsobjects.Anotherinstanceis
GideÕslibrarysalepriortohisdeparturefortheCongoin1925,expli-
citlymotivatedbyhiswishtotakerevengeonfriendswhohadfailed
tosupport
Corydon
.Thebooks,ifviewedasÔfemalesymbolsÕ(Stra-
chey,327),may againsymboliseobjectsofthemotherimago;thisaf-
ter allwas a timeGidewasembarkingon a missiontobrandishhisex-
tremelymasculinepederasty.
DoubtastotheÔgoodÕvalueofobjectstakenin andtheÔbadÕ
valueofobjectsexpelled(reference5)isasourceofanxietyforthe
subjectexperiencingthisepistemophilicobsessionalneurosis,and
GideÕspreponderancetodoubtisillustratedbyAdrienLeBihanÕs
commentonGideÕsunconventionaluseofÔjedoutesiÕ:Ôleplus
remarquable,ici,estquelatournuresupprimelesubjonctifque
commanderaitleplususuelÒjedoutequeÓ.Gideestˆtelpoint
160AndrŽGideandCuriosity
familierdudoutequÕilleprŽfreˆlÕindicatifÕ.
TheÔfeelingof
emptinessinthebody,ofimpoverishmentÕ(reference4)cresonates
withGideÕsconceptionof
sympathie
asdescribedbyDelay:ÔLa
sympathiechezAndrŽGideÕ:ÔsortedÕabdicationdumoidansletoi,
quiappara”t[...]comme[...]unparasitismeŽmoti
onnelÕ (
,235).It
alsoaccordswiththeemptinessGidefeltduringhisfirstencounters
withWilde,asevincedinhiscorrespondencewithValŽry(Ôdepuis
WildejenÕexisteplusquetrspeuÕ [
CorrGideÐValŽry
,192]),and
DouglasÕsclaimthatWildeusedtocallGidetheÔegoistwithoutan
ego.Õ
Indeed,inherlateressay,ÔAContributiontothePsycho-
genesisofManic-DepressiveStatesÕ(1935) (
Writings
,236Ð47),
Kleinwritesthattheobsessional-neuroticdefence-mechanismleadsto
aÔweaknessoftheegoÕ:
[onewaybywhich]theegoattemptstomakeanendtoallthesufferings
whichareconnectedwith thedepressivepositionis[...]byaflight toexter-
nalÔgoodÕobjectsasameanstodisproveallanxietiesÐinternalaswellas
external.Thisisamechanismwhichischaracteristicforneurosisandmay
leadtoaslavishdependenceonobjectsandtoaweaknessoftheego.
Writings
,289)
TheÔflighttoexternalÒgoodÓobjects[...]Ðinternalaswellasexter-
nalÕresonateswithascientificcuriositymodelledonPrometheusin
flight.GideÕsPrometheusultimatelyescapespunishment;similarly
GideÕspsycheescapestheretributionofthemotherimagobyexploi-
tingthisobsessionaldefence.
Inthis1935essayalso,Kleindetails
manicdefencestotheunresolveddepressiveposition,whicharechar-
acterisedbycombinationsofcontrol,disparagementanddenialof
phantasmaticobjects (
Writings
,277Ð78).Toshowthatthemother
imagoÕshasonlyafeebleholdonthesubject,thesubjectdesiresÔto
LeBihan,
ScientificCuriosity161
reversethechild-parentrelationÕandenjoythetriumphalismasso-
ciatedwiththisbyhavingomnipotentphantasiesÔofcontrollingthe
breast,andverysoonafter,ofcontrollingtheinternalizedparentsas
well astheexternalonesÕ (
Writings
,287,351). So,forinstance,Gide
transposeshisownearlierunvoiceddispleasureathismotherwearing
amauveribbonratherthanmourningattireintoJŽr™meÕsadmonish-
mentofhismotherfordoingthesamein
LaPorteŽtroite
,170;
811).The condemnatoryboythus alignshimselfwiththeNameofthe
Father,andGod(Segal,
P&P
,137).GideÕsautobiographicalproject
necessarilyexploitsomnipotenceandmanipulationoftheinternalised
parents:throughtext,thesubjectbringshimselfintotheworldand
createsandcontrolshismotherandfather.Thesubjectkeepsthe
parentalimagosinÔsuspendedanimationÕ (
Writings
,278),killing
andreanimatingthematwill.Hencethedisparitybetweenthedepic-
tionsofGideÕsmotherintext,whichmustalsobeaccountedfor
throughchronology:whenJulietteGidewasstillalive,Gidekillsoff
heravatarin
LesCahiersdÕAndrŽWalter
;whenshewasdead,he
stressesheroverbearingnaturein
Silegrain
;andinÔMaMreÕ,
writtenwhenhehimselfwasoldandMadeleinealreadydead,he
rehabilitatesherasashywoman,unsureofherselfandanxioustobe
esteemedbyherhusband.ThemotherimagoÕspoweroverGideis
deniedbytheunequivocalcontrastbetweentheomnipotentnarrator,
avatarofthewriter,andtheimpotentmother,who,onherdeathbed,
cannolongerwrite,movingthepencilwithoutforminganyletters,
andonceAndrŽhasremovedthepaper,continuingtomoveherhand
asthoughshewerewritingonthesheets (
,325).ThesubjectÕsdenial
ofpsychicrealityisexemplifiedwhen,in
AndrŽWalter
,thespeaker
wantstoturnaway(ÔmÕendŽtournerÕ)fromthefirstfemalefigure.
Disparagement anddenialofthemotherimagocanbereadintoAndrŽ
WalterÕsdescriptionofthesecondfemalefigureashavingÔrienÕ
underherdressÐtherebeingnothingtodiscover,thereisnoreasonto
haveanyexchangewiththemotherimago.Idealizationisafurther
maniccharacteristicandisboundupwithdenial(ÔMourningandits
relationtomanic-depressivestatesÕ[1940],344Ð369,349).Thistallies
withGideÕspresentationofhiswifeinliterature asEmmanule, a pure
spiritualbeingdevoidofsexualdesire andcuriosity.
Mourning,Kleinwrites,causesthesubjecttore-experience
thedepressiveposition,duringwhichthesubjectpinesforthemother
imagothatithasphantasmaticallyharmed (
Writings
,347).Itisno-
162AndrŽGideandCuriosity
tablethatAndrŽexperiencesanervouscrisisinchildhood,described
Schaudern
(seeinfra,ch.4),afterhearingofhisyoungrelativeÕs
deathagedfour anddirectly afterthedeathofhisfather.However,the
deathmostdweltonintheautobiographyisthatofAndrŽÕsmother,
andIshallexamineitsportrayalthroughtheopticofthefunctioning
ofthedepressivepositionandsubsequentobsessionalandmanic
defencesinAndrŽ/Gide.Thenarratorrecalls:
Referring toKleinÕsparanoid-schizoidpositionwhichoccursdirectlybefore thede-
pressiveposition,Anzieuwrites:ÔLebŽbŽfaitpartiedesamre,samrevitenlui
danssoncÏurÕ(Anzieu,
CrŽerDŽtruire
,42).
ScientificCuriosity163
CÕestalorsquejÕŽprouvailasinguliredispositiondemonespritˆselaisser
griserparlesublime.JevŽcuslespremierstempsdemondeuil,ilmesou-
vient,dansunesortedÕivressemoralequimÕinvitaiauxacteslesplusincon-
sidŽrŽs.[...]JecommenaispardistribuerˆdesparentsmmeŽloignŽs,et
dontcertainsavaientˆpeineconnumamre,enmaniredesouvenirs,les
LesNourrituresterrestres
,MŽnalquehasasimilarexperience:ÔjethŽsaurisai
commeunavare[É],jevendistoutÕ (
,384).Shortlyafterwardsthetreesofthe
familyhomearecutdown(386).In
Isabelle
,scotomizationofthemotherimagois
suggestedbytheemptyruinsofthehouseatthebeginningofthetext:Ôdans
164AndrŽGideandCuriosity
LÕhumanitŽchŽritseslanges;maisellenepourragrandirquÕellenesache
sÕendŽlivrer.LÕenfantsevrŽnÕestpasingratsÕilrepousseleseindesamre.
CenÕestplusdu laitquÕilluifaut.Tuneconsentirasplus,camarade,ˆcher-
cheralimentdanscelaitdelatradition,distillŽ,filtrŽparleshommes.Tes
dentssontlˆpourmordreetm‰cher,etcÕestdans larŽalitŽque tudois trou-
vernourriture.Dresse-toinu,vaillant;faitcraquerlesgaines;Žcartedetoi
lestuteurs;pourcro”tredroittunÕasplusbesoinquedelÕŽlandetasveet
quedelÕappeldusoleil.[...]
Sachecomprendrelafablegrecque:EllenousenseignequÕAchille
ŽtaitinvulnŽrable,saufencetendroitdesoncorpsquÕattendrissaitlesou-
venirducontactdesdoigtsmaternels. (
,790)
AndinGideÕshommagetoGoethe,weread:
LÕactiondeGoethe[É]dressaitenfaceduCalvaireunOlympehantŽdes
musesetrŽsonnantdeschantslesplusbeaux.Jecomprenais,enlelisant,
quelÕhommepeutsedŽsengagerdeseslangessansprendrefroid,peutre-
jeterlacrŽdulitŽdesonenfancesansentretropappauvri,etquelescep-
BaldwinseesaspointlessGideÕsefforts tousenaturalhistory tohighlightthephys-
ical,psychologicalandmoralcomplexitiesfacedbyhomosexualsandtoprovethat
homosexuality isnatural(ÔTheMalePrisonÕ,232).
Seealso:ÔCetteidŽede
progrs
de lÕhumanitŽquimaintenantdominemavieÕ (
163).
ScientificCuriosity165
Contrastthiswith theterrifying insect imageryof theDanielBvariant (
supra
,85).
166AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Africain1938,hisrelativelycleanaccommodationatKaolack(in
present-day Senegal)wasinvadedbyÔdesblattesÐoucancrelatsÐou
cafards?Jeles confonds,commelesmarsouins aveclesdauphinsÕ (
594);duringthenighthewentintothebathroomforwater:Ôjesur-
prendsdespartousesdecancrelats.Jelescroyaisaptres;maiscer-
tains(lesm‰lessansdoute),sanspourtantprendrevol,dŽploient
dÕŽnormesailesfrŽmissantesÕ (
,594).IntheCongo,Gidesenttwo
menbackthirtymilestoNÕGototofetchhis
Žcoroir
whichhehad
leftbehind, animplementthatis a Ôsortede couteaudeformetrspar-
ticulire[...]indescriptible,employŽparlesentomologistespoursou-
leverlÕŽcorcedesarbrespourchercherlesinsectesquiviventau-des-
sousÕ.
HeattemptedtoputtogetherabeetlecollectionfortheJardin
desPlantesbutsunexposurecausedtheinsectsÕlegsandantennaeto
falloff (
,478).MarcAllŽgretrecollectshowintheCongo:
[Gide]Žtaittoujourscurieuxdetout,ilŽtaitinfatigableetdanslesran-
donnŽesquenousavonsfaitespendanttrs longtempsˆpied,ilsÕarrtaiten
routepourregarderunefleur,pourregarderuninsecte,pourcollectionner
lespapillons,parcequeilarapportŽtoutessortesdÕinsectesauMusŽe
Homme.
Gideobserves,reads,testswhathereadsagainstwhatheobserves
first-hand,andapplieshisknowledgemorebroadly,especiallywhen
hisobservationschallengereceivedopinion.Forinstance,Gidewrites
ofthe
perodicticuspotto
primate,Dindiki,whichhetreatsasapet:
ÔJÕailuŽgalementquecesbizarresprotubŽrances[...]servaientsans
douteaupŽrodictiquedepointdÕappui,etquÕillesenfonaitdansun
dŽfautdÕŽcorcelorsquÕilsÕapprtaitˆdormir.Cecinemepara”tpas
vraisemblable.Jepenseplut™tque[...]Õ (
,712;cf.JŽr™meÕsÔCeque
jesuppose,ausurplus,[...]ÕregardingLucile [
,814]).Healsonoted
inaccuraciesinWesternnotionsofAfricanplants:ÔJÕadmirelÕeffort
detantdevŽgŽtauxdescontrŽesŽquatoriales,versuneformesymŽ-
triqueetcommecristalline,insouponnŽedansnospaysduNordo
BaudelairepeutparlerduÒvŽgŽtalirrŽgulierÓ.Papyrus,palmiers,
cactus,euphorbes-candŽlabressedŽveloppent autourdÕun axeetselon
,401;
CorrespondanceAndrŽGideÐDorothyBussy
,ed.byJeanLambertand
RichardTedeschi,3vols(Paris:Gallimard,1979,1981,and1982),
,160.
From
AndrŽGide
Portraitsouvenir
.2parts.Dir.JacquesDemeure.Writtenby
RogerStŽphaneandRolandDarbois.Prod.ORTF.Distrib.1965.INA.1975.Part2,
3:35Ð4:05.
ScientificCuriosity167
unrythmeprŽcisÕ (
,485).InMay1927,Gidewasgivenaguided
tourofZurichUniversityÕsZoologymuseumbyJeanStrohl,andhis
longdiscussionwiththezoologistprovedmoreinformativethatany
numberofbooks (
,31).OfonebookStrohllatersenttohim,Gide
writes:
Forexample,duringhistimeworkingat theFoyerFranco-Belge in1914and1915,
GidewasfrustratedbythesensethattherefugeesÕresponsestohisquestionswere
168AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Dansunfauteuil,auprsdemoi,laMouneallaitelesdeuxpetitsb‰tards
quÕonluia laissŽs.Quandtoutseraitremisenquestion(ettoutestremisen
question)monespritsereposeraitencoredanslacontemplationdesplantes
Thisunderstandingisillustratedin
LeTraitŽduNarcisse
,whereNarcissebends
ScientificCuriosity169
abilitytoÔdŽcouvrirtoutseul,aveclaplusgrandeperspicacitŽ,ceque
cachaitlaÒrŽalitŽÓsoviŽtiqueÕ.
ÔNoussommessouventmal
renseignŽsÕ,GidetellsagroupofwritersinLeningrad,Ômaisnotre
curiositŽestardenteÕ (
,793).ÔCÕestauprofonddufruitqueleverse
cacheÕ (
,806),andGidestrivestoescapefromofficialengagements
inorderbettertocontinuehissearch.
Psychology,adisciplinebasedonstudyoftheindividualand
opentodiscoveryandpossibility,isthecompromiseGidefindsbe-
tweennaturalhistory andHistory.In
LÕImmoraliste
,Michelrelates:
DÕhistoireilnÕŽtaitplusquestion;depuislongtempsdŽjˆmesŽtudeshis-
toriquesnemÕintŽressaientplusquecommeunmoyendÕinvestigationpsy-
chologique[...].JenÕŽcoutaispluslepassŽ.ÐEtcommentuneantiquerŽ-
ponseežt-ellesatisfaitˆmanouvellequestion:ÐQuÕest-cequelÕhomme
peutencore? (
,677)
AlthoughGidebecameincreasinglyinterestedinpolitics(anaspectof
contemporaryHistory)inthedecade after1926,hislackof confidence
inHistorymakesthisendeavourdifficult:
ÔJesensderestemonin-
compŽtence,etjelasensdeplusenplus,tandisquejemÕoccupede
cesquestionspolitiques,Žconomiques,financiresquisontdÕundo-
maineojenemÕaventurequÕaveccrainte,poussŽparunegran-
dissantecuriositŽ. (
,[1932]355).By changingfocusfromhistoryto
psychologylikeMichel,Gideisabletoexercisehiscuriositytowards
theexceptional:
Maiscequejesensdeplusenplus,cÕestlÕinextricableembrouillementde
touscesproblmes.[É]LÕonparlealors[É]deÔlÕŽlŽmentpsychologiqueÕ,
dÕÔimpondŽrablesÕ,dontletechniciennÕavaitpassu,paspu,oupascrude-
voirtenircompteÐmaisquisontprŽcisŽmentmapartie,mondomaine.Je
nedoispaschercherdÕensortir. (
,355Ð56)
Herbart,
LaLignedeforce
(Paris:Gallimard,
1958),116Ð17.Initially,Gideisex-
tremelyenthusiasticabouttheRussianproject,writing inMay1931:ÔJamaisjeneme
suispenchŽsurlÕaveniravecunecuriositŽpluspassionnŽeÕ (
,272).Gidecriticises
thesystemforpromotingintheSovietpeopleindolence,conformity,achauvinist
superioritycomplex,andforcorruptingrevolutionaryaims,deadeningculture,en-
dorsingdenunciation,andsupportingthestatusquo,whichonlysuperficiallybrought
theelectorateandelectedclose,maintainedpovertylevels,andallowedpeopletobe
deported.
GideÕspoliticalengagementrequiredthatheconfronthisnaturalresistanceto
politicsÐillustratedinpartbythefactthathenevervotedÐandwasthusanattempt
toÔsuivresapente,pourvuquecesoitenmontantÕ (
,436).
170AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Similarly,in
RetourdelÕURSS
,Gideapproachessocialquestions
from a psychologicalviewpoint (
,756).
GideÕspsychology,as
Corydon
andthe
Faitsdivers
show,is
groundedinobservationsfromthenaturalworld.
InCuverville,
1904,GidegavehisvisitorMauriceDenisahorticulturallessonin
creatingthemostÔcurieusesÕplantvarieties,appendedwithÔanalogies
danslÕhumanitŽÕ.
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,VincentMolinier advo-
catesexamininghumansthroughtheirparallelswith animals:
ÔPeut-trequevouscroyezleshommestropdiffŽrents[desanimaux].Il
nÕestpasdegrandedŽcouverteenzootechniequinÕaiteusonretentissement
danslaconnaissancedelÕhomme.Toutcelasetouche,etsetient;et jecrois
quecenÕestjamaisimpunŽmentquÕunromancier,quisepiquedՐtrepsy-
chologue,dŽtournelesyeuxduspectacledelanatureetresteignorantde
ses loisÉÕ (
,284Ð85)
Gidetooclaimsthattheschoolofnaturalhistoryishighlydesirable
foranovelist (
CPD
,32).HerbartcommentsonGideÕsineptnessat
psychologicalinsightintheconventionalsense,yetrevealsittofunc-
tionwithintheidiomofthenaturalist:ÔGidenepercevaitpasinstinc-
tivementlaqualitŽdestres.Ilfallaitquelehasard,lesŽpreuveslalui
rŽvŽlassentÕ(Herbart,69).
Edouardnotesinhisdiary:
jesuisdevantlarŽalitŽcomme lepeintreavecsonmodle,quiluidit:donn-
ez-moitelgeste,preneztelleexpressionquimeconvient.Lesmodlesque
lasociŽtŽmefournit,sijeconnaisbienleursressorts,jepeuxlesfaireagirˆ
mongrŽ;oudumoinsjepeuxproposerˆleurindŽcisiontelsproblmes
ForGide,psychologyneversupplantsnaturalhistory,hisfirstlove:heregretsnot
beingabletostudythenaturalhistoryoftheUSSRbecauseofobligationstoinves-
tigatesocialquestions(inapsychologicalway) (
,759).
ScientificCuriosity171
quÕilsrŽsoudrontˆleurmanire,desortequeleurrŽactionmÕinstruira.[...]
Jeprovoque[desintrigues],observe lesacteurs,puis travaillesous leurdic-
tŽe. (
,258)
LikeEdouard,GideneededtoobserveapersonÕsmovementsandre-
actions,asanaturalistwouldexaminethoseofaspecimen,beforebe-
ingabletoevaluatehis/herpersonality.HenriMassisillustratesthis
crossover,byusingtheimageofGidesearchingthroughmurkywater
fordangerouspsychologicalinsights:
Gide,ÔJournalduFoyerfranco-belgeÕ,142.
RogerStŽphanecommentsonGideÕsmembershipofthejuryatthe
CourdÕassises
inRouenin1911Ðtheexperiencerecordedin thefirstpartof
Ne jugezpas
Ðasatime
whenÔlacuriositŽdeGideestplusŽveillŽequejamaisÕ (
AndrŽGide
Portraitsou-
venir
.Part1,28:00Ð28:06).
172AndrŽGideandCuriosity
themachinationsofwhichrevealÔˆquelpointlajusticehumaineest
chosedouteuseetprŽcaireÕ (
NJP
,10).Intheprefaceto
LÕAffaireRe-
dureau
,GideclaimstobeinterestedincasesÔdontlesmotifsrestent
mystŽrieux,Žchappentauxrglesdelapsychologietraditionnelle,et
dŽconcertentlajusticehumaineÕ (
NJP
,97Ð98).Thisaccordswith
GideÕsÔInquiŽter,telestmonr™leÕ (
,557)andhisassertionwith
referenceto
Corydon
:Ôjeveux
GæNER
,684).Regardingthe
Redureaucaseitself,Gidewrites:
Certes,aucungestehumainnÕestproprementimmotivŽ;aucunÔactegra-
tuitÕ,quÕenapparence.MaisnousseronsforcŽsdeconveniriciquelescon-
naissancesactuellesdelapsychologienenouspermettentpasdetoutcom-
prendre,etquÕilest,surlacartedelÕ‰mehumaine,biendesrŽgionsinex-
plorŽes,des
terraeincognitae
.CettecollectionapourbutdÕattirersur
celles-cilesregards,etdÕaiderˆmieuxentrevoircequelÕoncommence
seulementˆsouponner.
Similarly,ofapersonwhosetfiretotheirownfarm,whomGide
witnessedontrialin1911,Gidecommented:ÔilŽtaitŽvidentquÕily
avaitlˆunemotivationpsychologiquedÕordrequiŽchappaitcomplte-
ment ˆ la compŽtence communedesjuriesÕ(
AndrŽGide
Portraitsou-
venir
.Part1,29:58Ð30:08).GideÕsdomainistheunresolvedÐwhat
SandraTraversdeFaultrierdescribesasÔlÕextrmevariabilitŽ,lapro-
fondemallŽabilitŽetlÕŽtonnantemutabilitŽÕofhumannature.
His
projectistopushpsychologytothelimits,andthenexplorethe Ô
ter-
raeincognitae
Õthatliebeyond.Hisdesiretoexplorethechinksin and
themarginsoftheedificeofscience,andtherebyunsettletheÐinthis
case,legalÐEstablishment, areintunewithprometheanhubris.
InutileContemplation
versus
Observer
CocteaudescribesGideaspartDiderot,partRousseau:ÔIlavaitde
RousseaulebotanismeetlÕenfantillage.IlavaitdeDiderotetde
Grimmcetteragedechasserˆcourreetdepoursuivreunhomme
commeunemeuteÕ(Cocteau,210).GideÕshuntingdownof amancan
beunderstoodashiscompulsiontogoinforthekill,totouchtheob-
jectfirstspied,
and also,in a writerlysense, ashisdesiretopindown
SandraTraversdeFaultrier,
Gide:LÕAssignationˆtre
(Paris:Michalon,2005),8.
VoyageauCongo
,Giderecountshowhisawedappreciationofamarvellousbird
flyingoverheadwassooneclipsedbythedesire toinspectitmoreclosely,andtothis
end,heshotitdown:ÔQuantitŽdÕoiseauxmerveilleux.LÕun,dÕazurchatoyant,si
ScientificCuriosity173
theobjectofhiscuriosity,consumeanddigestit,andeventuallyre-
presentitinliteratureÐthroughcreativity,theobjectcomestoexist
parmoi
CocteauÕsdescriptioncapturestwostrandsofGideÕssci-
entificcuriosity:thehumaniststrandofexperimentationandsystem-
atisation,representedbyDiderot,andtheProtestantstrandofmar-
vellingatthenaturalworldasamanifestationofGodÕscreation,re-
presentedbyRousseau.Freudgesturesatatwo-prongedaspectofcu-
riositywhenhewritesthatepistemophiliaÔcorrespondsontheone
handtoasublimatedmannerofobtainingmastery,whileontheother
handitmakesuseoftheenergyofscopophiliaÕ (
PFL
VII
,112);simi-
larlyGenevieveLloydcontrastsFrancisBaconÕsnotionthatÔknow-
ledgeitselfisthedominationofnatureÕwithPlatoÕsknowledgeÔnot
seen as a dominationofitsobjects,butas anenraptured contemplation
ofthemÕ.
GideÕsimperative,ÔNetecontentepasdecontempler;ob-
serveÕ (
,790),whichIalignedtohisdutytorepresent,seemsto
followthesamesplit:disinterested,gratuitouscuriosityversusamore
conscioustakinginofobjects,possiblywithaviewtousingthem
later aswritingmatter.
LesCaves
,theunreformedAnthimeArmand-Duboisisa
grotesqueexponentofthescientificcuriosityofdominationandutil-
itarianism,whileVincentMolinierof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
is amore
credibleexponentofthecuriosityofcontemplationandmarvel.
Granted,thecharactersbelongtotwoverydifferentwritingprojects
publishedelevenyearsapart;thegrotesquecharactersofthe
of a differentorderfromtheplausiblethree-dimensionalfiguresof
Les
Faux-Monnayeurs
;andthemodesofnarrationareatodds.
Yetina
non-ironicreadingoftheplot,AnthimeandVincentarecomparable;
alsotheyarebothillustrativeofaspectsofGide.
Ofwhatorderthen
isGideÕscuriosity?Onthis,HerbartandLamberthavediverging
charmantquejenemedŽcidaispasˆletuer.LacuriositŽ,ledŽsirdelevoirdeprs
lÕaenfinemportŽ.Satteestbrune[...]Õ (
,491).ThisparallelsAndrŽÕswonderand
thendestructionof thekaleidoscope (
,83Ð84).
Sartre,
LÕEtreet lenŽant
,664Ð65.
GenevieveLloyd,ÔReason,ScienceandtheDominationofMatterÕ,in
Feminism
andScience
,ed.byEvelynFoxKellerandHelenE.Longino(Oxford:OxfordUni-
versityPress,1996),44.
SeeSegal,
P&P
,232Ð33.
LesCaves
,Segalwrites:ÔTurnedtosatiricuse,morefragmentsofwhatGide
holdsdearshowuparchaeologicallyÕ (
P&P
,231);Gideclaimstohavecarvedthe
charactersof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
fromhisownflesh (
,551).
174AndrŽGideandCuriosity
opinions.ThecynicalHerbartjudgesGideÕscuriositytobeuncom-
promisinglyutilitarianin allitsforms.Withreferenceto
lÕactegratuit
hewrites:
RienpourtantquiluisoitplusŽtranger.LagratuitŽnefaitpaspartiede
lÕuniversgidien.Impressions,lectures,chosesettressontclassŽs,jugŽs,en
fonctiondÕunseulcritre: lÕutilitŽ.[...]
SansdoutelasurprisedeladŽcouverte,chezchacun,entre-t-ellepour
beaucoupdansleravissementquedonnelabeautŽ.ChezGide,lera-
vissementprocŽdaitautantdelÕavantagequÕilallaitpouvoirentirerquede
sadŽcouverteelle-mme.(Herbart,62)
Lambert,however,contendsthatGideÕscuriositytowardsthenatural
worldspecificallyisdisinterested:ÔLacuriositŽquÕilportaitauxÏuv-
resdÕartŽtaitmoinsvaste,moinsvive(dirai-jeaussi:moinsdŽsin-
tŽressŽe)que cellequÕilportait aumondedelanatureÕ(Lambert,165).
LambertthenwouldseeGideÕscuriositytowardsthenaturalworldas
closerinnaturetothatofVincent,whoobservesthecreaturesthatso
fascinatehimdirectlyorthroughreading.Anthimedeliberatelyblinds
hisrats;Vincent,bycontrast,reportsondeep-seacreaturesthatemit
theirownlight,untilrecently consideredblind:
EtvoiciquÕondŽcouvreenfinquechacundecesanimaux,quedÕabordon
Joubinwrites:ÔMaislesrŽcentesexpŽditionsderecherchessous-marinesnousen
ontapportŽlapreuvedirecte;nombredÕanimauxrapportŽsencorevivantsdansles
chalutsrŽpandentunelumireŽclatante.OnlesvoitbrillerdanslechalutavantquÕil
aitŽtŽsortidelÕeauetlorsquÕilrentreˆbord;parunenuittrsnoire,lespectacleest
meeveilleux;ilruisselledegouttesdefeu,ilŽtincelledÕŽclairsdetoutescouleurs
lancŽsparlesanimauxÕ(Joubin,
LaViedanslesocŽans
,108).GideÕspleasureatthis
passagecouldbeduetohisownhabitofexploringmurky,deep-seawaters(Massis,
ÔLÕInfluencedeM.AndrŽGideÕ,paragraphs5&7).
ScientificCuriosity175
lexistodescribethefaunaaroundthevillageofBol:ÔexquisÕ,ÔagrŽ-
mentŽÕ,ÔingŽnieuxÕ,ÔbizarreÕ,ÔuntrŽsorÕandÔunŽmerveillementar-
gentŽÕ (
,489).Likewise,Gidereportshisreactiononfindinghun-
dredsofstrangeseaanimalswasheduponthebeachatLaCroixnear
Nicein1941:ÔJÕŽtaisŽmerveillŽetplusŽmuquejenÕauraispulՐtre
parleplusbeaupaysageÕ (
,757Ð58).
Gidewas anamateurbotanistfromhisearliestyears,
andhis
frustrationattheunproductivenessofhiscontemplativecuriosityto-
wardsplantsgivescredencetobothHerbartÕsview(Gidewouldpre-
fereverythingtobeutilitarian)andLambertÕs(Gidedidgratuitously
contemplate):
MornesheuresaujardinbotaniquedeFrancfort. (
,361)
Depuisle25octobre1901,jourojÕachevais
LÕImmoraliste
,jenÕaiplus
sŽrieusementtravaillŽ.[...]UnmorneengourdissementdelÕespritmefait
vŽgŽterdepuistroisans.Peut-tre,mÕoccupanttropdemonjardin,aucon-
tactdesplantesai-jepuprendreleurshabitudes.[...](jenesortaispasdu
jardin,o,desheuresdurant,je
contemplais
uneˆunechaqueplante)[...]
,430Ð31)
ArrivŽˆCuvervillehier.[...]JÕaipufaireletourdujardin,hier,avantle
coucherdusoleil.[...]Jesaisque,dehors,unetorpeurvŽgŽtativemÕenvahitÕ
,530Ð32).
Thisstateissatirisedin
Paludes
,whentheprotagonistsitsonabench
intheJardindes Plantes:
Ilypousse lesplantesquÕony laissepousser;ilynagebeaucoupdÕinsectes.
JemÕoccupeˆlesregarder;cÕestmmeunpeucelaquimÕadonnŽlÕidŽe
dÕŽcrire
Paludes;
lesentimentdÕune
inutilecontemplation
,lÕŽmotionque
jÕaidevantlesdŽlicateschosesgrises. (
,273,
myitalics
MartinduGardobservesGideÕscapacitytoimbueeverydayobjectswithmarvel
RMGNotes
,17).However,St-JeanPerserelateshavinghisownmarvelatawhite
blackbirddiffusedbyGide:ÔLemerveilleux,hŽlas!nÕestmmepasennous.EtlÕin-
tŽrticinÕŽtaitquescientifique:simplecasdÕalbinismeÉÕ (
NRFH
,85).
GideÕsbotanicalcuriosityisillustratedin
,297,361,367(the
JardindÕEssai
Algiers),416,639,936;
,597;
,886.Enrapturedbytheequatorialfaunaofthe
Congoin1926,Gideviews the
JardindÕEssai
ofEalaasÔlevraibutdecedŽtouren
CongobelgeÕ (
,355).Seealso
,450&489.Levesquedocumentshownotevena
carinmotioncouldimpedeGideÕsinsatiablecuriosityforplants:ÔGidegarde lÕhabi-
tude,mmeenroulant,dÕherboriserÕ(ÔEnGrceavecGideÕ,327;seealsoLambert,
159).
176AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ThefeeblevolumeoftexttheprotagonistcomesupwithÐÔTityre
souritÕ (
)Ðillustratestheuseless,ridiculous,andyetpleasurable
characterofcontemplativecuriosity.
GossedescribestheDevonshirerockpoolsasÔlivingflower
bedsÕwhichÔitwasindeedapitytodisturbÕ (
FatherandSon
,124).
Butasoneprogressestowardsobjectsthatareconscious,thatisfrom
botanytoanimals,andeventuallytohumans,evencontemplativecu-
riositybeginstoadmitelementsofdominationandexperimentation.
WhenthechiefofaCongolesevillagegaveGideasmallsloth-like
nocturnalpotto,GideattemptedtoÔtriompherdeseshabitudesÕby
keepingit awakeduringtheday (
,715);hecagedit atnightincaseit
ranaway;andtookitoutofitsnaturalforesthabitat (
,716Ð18).
EventuallyDindiki,asitwasknown,diedfromheat,dehydrationand
constipation:ÔCÕestentremesmainsquÕilestmort,sansuneplainte,
commeunpetitenfantquisÕendortÕ (
,718).
TheeasewithwhichGideparallelsDindikithepottotoa
childismatchedbyhiscapacitytoregardsmallchildrenasthough
theywereanimalorinsectspecimens.DudleyWarnerwritesin1871
onthe childÕshungerforknowledgesupersedingits appetiteforfood:
Itisheldbysomenaturaliststhatthechildisonlyazoophyte,withasto-
mach,andfeelersradiatingfrom it insearchofsomething tofillit.It is true
thatachildisalwayshungryallover:butheisalsocuriousallover;andhis
curiosity isexcitedaboutasearlyashishunger.
Naturally,Gide,himselfinpossessionofachild-likecuriosity,was
magneticallyattractedtotheseÔzoophytesÕthatareÔcuriousalloverÕ,
inparticulartohisownchild,Catherine,
whom,agedtenmonths,he
treated,inthewordsofMartinduGard,Ôcommeunentomologiste
attendridevantuninsectecapturŽauprixdemillerisquesÕ.Thepas-
sage continues:
IlrestaitpenchŽdesheuressurelle,demandantquÕonlaluiabandonnesur
letapis,etrŽpŽtanttoujourslemmerefrain[...]:ÔLaissez-la...Laissez-la...
Pourvoir...ÕNesÕintŽressantquÕˆsaspontanŽitŽ,etravilorsquÕunŽvŽ-
DudleyWarner,
MySummerinaGarden
,215Ð16.
In1868,DarwinwrotetotheFrenchbotanistHaeckel,congratulatinghimonthe
ScientificCuriosity177
nementimprŽvu,unbruit,unspectacle,faisaitfrŽmirdecuriositŽcepetit
treprŽcoce,auxyeuxvifs,ausouriretrsŽtrange;ˆlafoisconfusettrs
lumineux,quibaisselattecommepourcachersonsourire,etquisÕintŽ-
ressedŽjˆauxchoses,sipassionnŽment,quelesmainssÕagitentetse
crispentenunfrŽmissementtrsparticulier,sortededŽlireintŽrieurdevant
lesmanifestationsdelavieÕ (
RMGCorr
[19March1924],667)
GideÕsgreat-nephewMichelDrouinrelatedtomehowonceasatod-
dlerhewascrawlingtowardsthefireplaceandGidestoppedanother
adultfrominterveningbecausehewishedtoseetheinfantÕsreaction
whenitencounteredthefire.
ThisrecallsGideÕsinterestinÔlÕaiman-
tationdelÕanimalparunpointlumineuxÕ (
NJP
,171).RobertLe-
vesquereportsGideÕsinterestinhimandhisyoungerbrother:Ôjesuis
dÕabordpourluiuntrecurieux.Evidemmentilestnaturaliste.JelÕai
bienvupourMichel,ilacommencŽˆobserverÐparrenverserunpeu
dÕacide,puis[...]dÕattendre,sanstropintervenirÕ.
Thisanimal-
ising/entomologisingofhumanobjectsshowstheunsettlingsideof
GideÕscontemplativecuriosity.Nomatterhowtendertheentomolo-
gist,theexclusionofthesubjectÕsnormalhumanresponsestothe
objectfacilitatesexperimentation.ThePetiteDamerelateshowGide
watchedhisyoungdaughteronadeckchair,andhissubsequentreac-
tion:
JeretrouveencoreunepetitehistoirequÕElisabethmÕaracontŽerŽcemment,
quisÕestpassŽeˆLaBastideetquejeveuxdire,parcequÕellemesemble
caractŽristique;ellemontreˆlafoischezGideunesortededŽmonquile
pousseauxexpŽriences,unecruautŽconscienteouinconsciente,etune
bonnefoientiredans lafaondereconna”tresestorts.
Lascnesepasseaujardin;Catherinevaavoirdeuxans;ellejoueprsdela
vasqueavecGide;ElisabethbcheˆlÕautreboutdelÕallŽe.Gide,quia
lÕidŽefixedelÕenhardir,laposedeboutsurunechaiselongueplianteen
Personalcommunication,22November2003.
Correspondance:AndrŽGide,RobertLevesque,1926Ð1950
,ed.byPierreMasson
(Lyon:PressesUniversitairesdeLyon,1995),21.Seealso
RMGNotes
,75.
178AndrŽGideandCuriosity
nÕintervientpas.[...].IlfinitparallerdŽlivrerCatherine,quinÕŽtaitplus
ElisabethdidnotintervenespecificallyinorderthatGidelearntotakerespon-
sibilityforhisactions.AgainGideexpectsamaternalfiguretoputthelimitsonhis
curiositythathehimselfisunabletoeffect(ch.1).Asayoungadult,Catherine
limitedherfatherÕscuriositytowardsher,bydeliberatelybeingincurioustowards
objectsthatGidewaslikelytonotice (
Lambert
,90).Forexample,Gideattemptedto
encourageherinterestinHerediaÕspoetrybygivingherabeautifullyboundvolume
LesTrophŽes
ScientificCuriosity179
ofincuriosity(iffemale).
GideÕsvisittotheten-year-oldBarnabŽ,
sonof a poorfamilyinCuverville,illustratesthistransition.Martindu
Gardrecalls:ÔGideestallŽdroitjusquÕauprsdugosse;illuiflattela
tte,commeˆunjeunechienÕ.Afterwards,Gidecomments:ÔÒIlest
charmant,ceBarnabŽ,vousnetrouvezpas?...ÓÕ (
RMGNotes
,75Ð76).
Inthe
TraitŽdesSensations
(1754),Condillaccontrolsandanalyses
theawakeningofcuriositybyimaginingalivingstatuewhichgrad-
uallyprogressesfrombeingÔprivŽedetouteespcedÕidŽesÕto acquir-
ingknowledge,andwhosemindandsoulisultimatelygovernedby
curiosity.
ThestatueÕscuriosityoperatesaccordingtoaneighteenth-
centuryprecursorofthepleasureprinciple:
OnsentquelacuriositŽdevientpour[notrestatue]unbesoin,quilafera
continuellementpasserdÕunlieudansunautre.CeserasouventlÕunique
mobiledesesactions.[...]CarellenÕestcurieusequedanslÕespŽrancedese
procurerdessentimensagrŽables,oudÕenŽviterquiluidŽplaisent.(115)
ThepleasureofconsolidatingknowledgecausesthestatueÕscuriosity
toincrease:
CesconnoissancesappliquentavecunenouvellevivacitŽsonattentionsur
GideÕsperceptionofCatherine(b.1923)inthe1940swasno longerthatofanento-
mologistlookingataspecimen,orofacurioussubjectattractedtoanothercurious
subject:ÔCatherineauraitpumÕattacherˆlavie;maisellenesÕintŽressequÕˆelle-
mmeÐetcelanemÕintŽressepasÕ (
,796).Againhepreferstoshroudwomanin
incuriosity,andagainweglimpseGideÕsfetishisticdisavowalandacknowledgement
ofwomanÕscuriosity:Ô[Catherine]nesÕintŽressequÕˆelle-mmeÕ/ÔellesÕestdetout
tempsbeaucoupintŽressŽeˆautruiÕ (
,796,797).
Condillac,
TraitŽdesSensations
,1754(Paris:Fayard,1984),11.
180AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Le5mars.JÕainotŽcettedatecommecelledÕ
unenaissance
.CÕŽtaitmoins
unsourirequÕune transfiguration.Toutˆcoupsestraits
sÕanimrent;
cefut
unŽclairementsubit[...].JÕeusunesortederavissementdevantlÕexpression
angŽliquequeGertrudeputprendresoudain,carilmÕapparutquecequila
visitaitencetinstant,nÕŽtaitpointtantlÕintelligenceque
lÕamour
,15,
myitalics
Againintellectual andsexualdevelopment coincide:ÔamourÕfirstsug-
gestsloveoflife,butitsaffinitytoitsusageinthe
Printemps
quo-
tationcitedearlier (
,115;thereistalkofrebirthandSpringtimein
both)suggestsasexualdimension.
Moreover,Gidewaswriting
Symphoniepastorale
duringthemostintenseperiodofhisloveaffair
withMarcAllŽgret,andDurosaywritesofhowfromApril1917to
May1919,GideÔfaisaitdecettefamilleAllŽgretunobservatoire,
voireunlaboratoire,privilŽgiŽsurlÕadolescenceÕ.
Gertrudecould
wellbeatranspositionofthislaboratory.Loveoflifepropels
GertrudefromÔunengourdissementprofondÕtoanÔinŽpuisable
ravissementÕ(891);anolongerstultifiedintelligencethat,assoonas
ithaslearnedtowalk,beginstorun(892Ð93).Gertrudeexperiences
hermentalinfancyagedalmostfifteen,anddevelopsrapidlytocatch
upwithherbiologicalage.Hersisthusanacceleratedcuriosity.From
themomentthepastorteacheshercuriositybyÔlÕinvitantetla
provoquantˆmequestionnerÕ(890),mostofGertrudeÕsspeechtakes
theformofquestions,andhercuriositysoonsurpassestheexpec-
tationsofthepastor.
Gertrudeherselfrejectsthiscombination:ÔJenetienspasˆtreheureuse.JeprŽfre
savoirÕ (
,45).
Durosay,ÔLes
Faux-Monnayeurs
deAˆSÐetZÕ,445.
MŽlanieBastianof
LaSŽquestrŽedePoitiers
enactedareversalofGertrudeÕsex-
perience:inherearlytwenties,shewasÔenjouŽeetrieuseÕ (
NJP
,202),buttwenty-
fouryearsofinternmentinafilthyinsect-infestedroommadeherregresssothather
intellectualdevelopmentwasmoreakintothe twosortsofbeetlelarvaefoundonher
bedÐthefactthatGideemphasisesthelarvae,identifiedbyM.LŽgerofthePoitiers
SchoolofMedicine(212,n.),mayberelatedtohisownequationin
Silegrain
ÔlÕŽtatlarvaireÕ toaclosedmind,darkness,theunborn,andÔlÕŽtatdedemi-sommeilet
dÕimbŽcillitŽÕ (
,118,120).ThenicknameMŽlanieBastianÕsbrotherhasforheris
Gertrude(252Ð53),andlikethefictionalGertrude(whoisnamedbyherfoster-sister
RII,11]),shesmilesÔdÕunsourireangŽlique,idylliqueÕonceinhospital(223),and
responds joyfully toflowers,birds,and thecareof theabbotofMondion(226).How-
ever,incontrast toGertrude,shemakeslittleintellectualprogress,thedoctorscharac-
teriseherasÔunedŽbileÕ.Asforhercuriosity(demonstratedbytheabilitytoques-
tion),themostshecanmusterarerequestsforcertainfoodtypes.(Significantly,this
act,markingÔunchangementnotableÕ,takesplacethedayafterhermotherÕsdeath
ScientificCuriosity181
GertrudefirstasksÔwhyÕquestions,forinstance:ÔPourquoi
lesautresanimauxnechantent-ilspas?Õ
AccordingtoJeanPiaget,
thissortofpre-causalquestioningischaracteristicofyoung children,
whoseprimitivethinkingmakesthembelievethateverythingis
justifiedandhasapurpose.Piagetwritesthatatsevenoreightyears
old,contactandcommunicationwithotherscausesthechildÕs
egocentrismtoslacken.ItsquestionsareincreasinglyÔhowÕones:
ÔlÕintŽrtsedŽtacheduÒpourquoiÓpuretsimplepourseportersurle
dŽtaildumŽcanismelui-mmeÕ(197).ForGertrude,thistransitionis
effectedwhenshegainshersight,andrecognisesAmŽlieÕspain,
JacquesÕslove,andherownsin.Shecannolongertrustthepastor,
whohasbeenguardingheregocentricÔprimitivethinkingÕinorderto
maintainhisown.HerlossoffaithinthepastorÕsomnisciencedivests
herof
questions.Theprogressionofquestiontypesillus-
tratesGertrudeÕsgradualhopelessness:whilestillblind,Gertrude
beginstosuspectherhappinesstobefoundedonignorance (
,45).
SensingthatÔwhyÕquestionswillonlygethersofar,shequestionsthe
pastorobliquely(Ôcroyez-vousÕ[44]);andteasestheanswerfromhim
(ÔvousreconnaissezÕ[46]).Onceshehashersight,Gertrudeseemsto
knowtheanswersÐwashersuicideattemptmotivatedÔprŽcisŽment
pour avoir
?Õwondersthepastor(50)Ð, anditisnowthepastorwho
istorturedbyquestions.Gertrudemakesonelastbidtoletthepastor
redeemhimselfbygivingher anhonest answerregardingJacques,but
thisfailsandGertruderecognisesthatherquestionswillfindherno
relief:ÔAh!devousparlerainsi,jÕespŽraistreplussoulagŽe.Quittez-
moiÕ(53).GertrudeÕspurityissuchthat,evenasasexuallymature
adult,shecannotgiveuptheexistentialquestionsofchildhood.Her
curiosityisimpossibleintermsoflanguage;itisalso,aswehave
seen,impossibleintermsofthegenderingofcuriosity.Withthe
[230].)MŽlanieBastianisalsoGertrudeÕssensorycomplement:GertrudeÕssensesare
awakenedthroughtextures,temperatures,coloursandsounds;MŽlanieisresponsive
totasteandsmell.WemayparallelGertrudetothecanaryresonatingtheholyspirit,
whileMŽlanieisclosertotheparasite-riddenstarlingthatneverproperlytakesoff
againandiseventuallykilledbycats (
supra
,19).
Theseoccur in:
,16(three times);21(once);33(twice);and34(twice).
182AndrŽGideandCuriosity
adventofintelligenceandsexuality,thisadolescentmakesthetran-
sitionfromananimalisedfoundling(ÔuntreincertainÕ;Ôunemasse
involontaireÕ;Ôcepaquetdechairsans‰meÕ;acreaturethatmakes
strangebarkingnoises;ÔlabrebisperdueÕ[4Ð7])to a womanwhois an
objectofthepastorÕssexualdesire.RevealedasaPandoradressedin
PrometheusÕsclothes,herlifeisnolongertenable.
Scientificcuriositytowardsanimalsisanodynebecausethe
subjectisnotrequiredtorespondtotheobjectemotionallyorsexu-
ally.However,inGide,adolescencemarksthechildÕsdevelopment
fromtheÔanimalÕtoaÔhumanÕclassofobject.ThesubjectÕs
contemplativecuriosityisnolongerdisinterested,andhis/herscien-
tificcuriosityiscompromisedbytheadventofsexualdesire.How
doesthesubjectwrestbackthispositionofÔobjectiveÕscientificcurio-
sity?
Lookingat
EvelynFoxKellerandChristineGrontkowskiwrite:ÔInobjecti-
fiabilitytheworldisseveredfromtheobserver,illuminated asitwere,
bythatsensewhichcouldoperate,itwasthought,withoutcontami-
natingÕ.
Thenotionofobjectivityhasbeenchallengedbyfeminist
critics,amongothers.FoxKellerandLonginosummarise:ÔScientific
knowledgeisimmutablygrounded,embodied,andpartial;[...]its
goalsaresubjecttocontestation;and[...]thedreamofabsolute,
universal, and comprehensivetruthis,likethedreamof a finaltheory,
justthati.e.aparticulardream,theproductofaparticularhistorical
andculturalmoment.Õ
Gidehimselfgesturesatthisin
Corydon
wheretheprotagonistexposestheprejudicessupportingestablished
ÔscientificÕthinkingonpederasty,doubtssecond-handobservations
andconclusions,highlightsexamplesinthenaturalworldthat
challengeconventionalnotionsofwhatisÔnaturalÕ,revealstheinade-
EvelynFoxKellerandChristineGrontkowski,ÔTheMindÕsEyeÕ, in
Feminismand
Science
,197.
ÔIntroductionÕto
FeminismandScience
,12.GenevieveLloydhighlights theÔmale-
nessoftheManofReasonÕinphilosophicaltraditionandtheallianceofwomanto
nature (
FeminismandScience
,4).ThisisexemplifiedbyLondaSchiebingerÕsobser-
vationofthepoliticalandculturalovertonesofLinnaeusÕsinventionoftheterms
MammaliaandHomoSapiensinhisfoundational
Systemanaturae
(1735Ð1766):
ÔWithinLinnaeanterminology,afemalecharacteristic(thelactatingmammal)ties
humanstobrutes,whileatraditionallymalecharacteristic(reason)marksoursep-
aratenessÕ(144).
ScientificCuriosity183
quaciesofthediscourseofpathologythenappliedtopederasty,and
depictsotherepochs,suchasclassicalGreece,whenpederastywas
acceptable.Further,GideÕstrademarkaesthetictechniquesof
miseen
abyme
and
rŽtroaction
workonthebasisofnooneviewpointbeing
definitive.
Nevertheless,thescientificposture continuestostrivetowards
asobjectiveapositionaspossible.Thecuriousnaturalistissilent,pa-
tient,carefulnottolethis/hershadowtouchthe animalorplant.When
theobjectishuman,thisismoredifficultas,withoutspytechnology,
camouflage,oradiscreetobservationalpost,theobjectwillgenerally
beawareofandbeinfluencedbythepresenceofthecurioussubject.
ThisisillustratedbySartreÕsnotionofÔactionpardŽvoilementÕ,that
is,thattheobjectisaffectedthemomentitbecomesconsciousthatit
isbeingwatched:ÔAprscelacommentvoulez-vousquÕilagissedela
mmemanire?OubienilpersŽvŽreradanssaconduiteparobsti-
nationetenconnaissancedecause,oubienillÕabandonneraÕ.
subjectmustdrawonparticularmechanismstocreatetheillusionof
objectivity,suchastheheterosexualÔmalegazeÕidentifiedbyMul-
vey;
ortheinvisiblewhitegazeidentifiedbyDyer:
Theimpossibilityofapureobjectivityisindicatedby:ThomasKuhnÕsparadigm
shifts,whichunderminethepositivistconceptionofscienceasanabstract,rationally
andlogicallystructuredsetofpropositions;HeisenbergÕsÔUncertaintyPrincipleÕin
thephysicalsciences,wherebytheveryactofobservationchangesthesystem;the
184AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Allconceptsof
race
,emergingoutofeighteenth-centurymaterialism,are
conceptsofbodies,butallalong theyhavehad tobereconciledwithnotions
ofembodimentandincarnation.Thelatterbecomewhatdistinguishwhite
people,givingthemaspecialrelationtorace.Blackpeoplecanbereduced
(inwhiteculture)totheirbodiesandthustorace,butwhitepeopleare
Technology,Ideology,Production,Reading
ScientificCuriosity185
andhisabilitytowatchsmallchildrenandhumanbeingsofother
traverseux,circulairement,verslesperspectivesdiversesquemedŽcouvraientleurs
proposÕ (
,251).Inhiscritical writing,hesetsthisupasaprinciple:ÔChaqueamipr-
tera[ˆlÕŽcrivain]sessens;bienplus:vivrapourlui.ÐLuisefaitcentre;ilregardeet
profitedetoutÕ (
,416).Lepapewrites:ÔGidesemblenejamaiscesserdejouerau
186AndrŽGideandCuriosity
lšsenÕ,
andtoMichaelCunninghamÕsanalogyofareadertoaghost,
Ôafloatingintelligence;notevenabraininsideaskull,justapresence
thatperceivesÕ.
OnonelevelGideacknowledgesthathisdesireto
becomepurevisionbelongstofantasy:heusestheconditionaltense;
heacceptstheimpossibilityofbeingstill;thereisatacitrecognition
thatheisÔwithinspecularityevenwhenoccupyingaviewingpo-
sition.Õ
YetDyershowshowdearthisfantasyistothewhitescien-
tist:
Tobeseenaswhiteis tohaveoneÕscorporealityregistered,yettruewhite-
nessresidesinthenon-corporeal.Theparadoxanddynamicofthisareex-
pressedintheverychoiceofwhitetocharacteriseus.Whiteisbothacolour
and,atonce,notacolourand thesignofthatwhich iscolourlessbecauseit
cannotbeseen:thesoul,themind,andalsoemptiness,non-existenceand
death,allofwhichformpartofwhatmakeswhitepeoplesociallywhite.
Whitenessis thesign thatmakeswhitepeoplevisibleaswhite,whilesimul-
taneouslysignifyingthetruecharacterofwhitepeople,whichisinvisible.
(45)
ThisfantasyisprecioustoGidetoo,ashisintroductiontothefirst
showinginBelgiumof
VoyageauCongo
demonstrates:
SicefilmdiffreduplusgrandnombredesfilmsdevoyagequÕilmÕaŽtŽ
donnŽdevoir,cÕestque,prŽcisŽment,MarcAllŽgretetmoinousnousen
sommescompltementabsentŽs.Laplupartdecesfilmsdevoyageenpays
lointainsseplaisentˆnousmontrer lessauvagesdans leursrapportsavecle
voyageur.Etlorsmmequecelui-cinÕestplusvisible,lÕonsentcon-
stammentsaprŽsence.CenÕestpointparrapportˆnousquenousvousprŽ-
senteronslespeupladesindignesparmilesquellesnousavonscirculŽ.Nous
avonst‰chŽdelesvoiretdevouslesmontreraunaturel,cÕest-ˆ-direaprs
unlentapprivoisement, lorsqueleurvienÕestplusdŽrangŽepar laprŽsence
dublanc.[...]
NotresouciconstantaŽtŽdepermettreauspectateurdevivreain-sique
nousfaisionsnous-mmes,danslÕoublileplusgrandpossibledeno-tre
culture,denotrecivilisation,de toutesnosprŽoccupationsperson-nelles.
ÔtodissolvemyselfintolightandairÕ(WalterBenjamin,
BerlinerKindheitum
neunzehnhundert
,1950[Frankfurta.M.:Suhrkamp,2000],26).
MichaelCunningham,
TheHours
(NewYork:Farrar,StrausandGiroux,1998),
KajaSilverman,
MaleSubjectivityattheMargins
(London:Routledge,1992),9.
VCIntroduction
,25Ð26.GideÕsparallelbetweenhispositionasasfilm-makerand
thatof theaudience isstrange:whereasthe indigenouspeoplewouldhavebeenaware
ofhimandhisfilmingapparatus,they wouldnothaveknownof thefuturespectators,
whoareabletoenjoy,asMulveypointsout,Ôtheillusionofvoyeuristicseparation
ScientificCuriosity187
Gideassumedthathehadremovedtheinfluenceofhispresenceon
theindigenouspeoplebyeffacinghisculturalbaggageandpersonal
concerns.
Hehadcertainlyremovedhimselfemotionallyasshown
bytheoddapplicationoftheterm
sympathie
inthefilmintroduction:
ÔTouteÏuvredÕartestuneÏuvredesympathie;sansquelqueamour
onneparvientˆriencomprendreettoutcequelÕoncomprendbien
cessedenouspara”treŽtrangeÕ (
VCIntroduction
,26).Thisuseof
sym-
isunlikethe
sympathie
oflivingÔparautrui;parprocuration,
pourrais-jedire,parŽpousailleÕexpoundedin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,225)andfromthe
sympathie
concealingcontagionin
LÕImmora-
,676)forthedistanceofstrangenessbetweentheblacksand
thefilm-makerspersists,andnoamountof
sympathie
willtakeGide
beyondthesurface appearanceoftheblacks:
NousnoussommesplacŽs
devant
lesindignesducentredelÕAfrique,
commeleromancierseplacedevantunpersonnagequÕilveutpeindre. (
Introduction
,26,
my italics
LepeintrenÕypourrait,jecrois,trouverdÕautremotif,queprŽcisŽmentle
corpshumain.(27)
Danschaquerace[É]ilyaquelquepossibilitŽdebeautŽ,quÕunregard
latesthespectatorsfromoneanother)andthebrillianceoftheshiftingpatternsof
lightandshadeonthescreenhelpstopromoteÕ(LauraMulvey,ÔVisualPleasureand
NarrativeCinemaÕ,17)
ButJeanneBerny,whofollowedGideÕsrouteintheCongotwoyearsafterGide
andinterviewedpeoplefromhisvisit,reportsontheinfluenceof GideÕsmaterialbag-
gageÐsomefiftychests,demandingsixtyporters,whichatthetimewasequal toone
andahalfvillagesworthofmenontheexpedition(JeanneBerny,ÔReportage
dÕAfrique:AndrŽGideetleCongoÕ,in
NoiretBlanc
,27May1934,11,re-published
,32,no.141[January2004],93Ð98,94).
188AndrŽGideandCuriosity
lesstheaimistocapturetheobjectÕsemotionsasrevealedbyitsap-
pearance,butagainGideÕsphrasingencourageshislistenerstocon-
templateonlythesurface.Despiteclaimingtohavestrippedhimself
ofhisownculturalbaggageforthemakingofthefilm,Gideisclosed
tothepossibilityoffillinghimselfwithblackcultureduringthetrip,
thatis,livingÔparŽpousailleÕ,asEdouardÕsnotionof
sympathie
woulddemand.Rather,GideremainsimpermeabletoAfricanculture.
Durosaywrites:
Nullepart,GidenesÕinterrogeclairement,ˆlÕinstardeConrad,surlafas-
cinationdangereusequÕexercelasauvageriesurlecivilisŽ,surlerisquede
dissolutionauquelestexposŽlÕaventuriersolitaire,surledangerderŽgres-
siondansdescomportementsprimitifsetdŽments,comme lÕexercice incon-
tr™lŽdÕunevolontŽdepuissancedestructrice,tellequelÕincarneunKurz
sic
]ŽgarŽ.
Eagertodissolvehimselfintoinvisibilityinorderbettertowatchthe
people,Gideisunwillingtodissolvehimselfintotheirwayofbeing.
Thisdesiretostayatoneremovefromtheblacksiscommentedonby
Lucey,whoalsocommentsonGideÕstendencytoÔconfus[e],orat
leastcompar[e]AfricanswithinsectsÕ:
Villagesbecomelandscapeformations;humanconstructionsareconsidered
inthesamemanneras,say, theconstructionofamason-fly:
ÔVilleindigne.Enceintesrectangulairesdeclaiesderoseaux(seccos)form-
antenclose,osegroupentleshuttes,olesSarashabitentparfamilles.Ces
nattessontjusteassezhautespourquÕunhommedetaillemoyennene
puisseregarderpar-dessus.Enpassantˆcheval,onlesdomineetleregard
plongedansdÕŽtrangesintimitŽs.QuintessencedÕexotisme.BeautŽdes
huttesautoittreillissŽ,liserŽparunesortedemosa•quedepaille.Ondirait
untravaildÕinsectes.Õ [
,471]
Theaddedheightofbeingonhorsebackseemstoraisetheobservertoa
differentplaneofobservation.Theprivacy thebarriersaremeanttoprovide
seemsnotbeintendedforhim,privytoallinteriors,andthequalityof
strangenessthusoverseenis[...]asourceofvisualsatisfaction. (
GideÕs
Bent,
159)
GideÕspositionofdominanceherehighlightsakeydifferencebe-
tweenhisscientificandsexualcuriosity.Whereasthescientifically
curioussubjectassumesagod-likepositionvis-ˆ-vistheobject,the
DanielDurosay, Ô
VoyageauCongo
LeRetourduTchad
:NoticeÕ,
,1199.
ScientificCuriosity189
sexuallycurioussubjecttriestofitinwithhis/hersurroundingsin
orderbettertostealupontheobject.
Oneillustrationofthiscontrast
isin
Silegrain
,whenPaulLaurensgoesofftopaintthewasher-
women,whileAndrŽstrollsalongsideAliandeventuallyhassexwith
him.Anotherisin
LÕImmoraliste
,whenMichelrelateshisbehaviour
atLaMorinire:
Jecommandaisencore,illefallait,etdirigeaisˆmafaonlestravailleurs;
maisjenemontaisplusˆcheval,parcraintedelesdominertrop.Mais,mal-
grŽ lesprŽcautionsquejeprenaispourquÕilsnesouffrissentplusdemaprŽ-
senceetnesecontraignissentplusdevantmoi,jerestaisdevanteux,comme
avant,pleindecuriositŽmauvaise (
,662)
Thisbadcuriositycontrastswiththeinnocent,ÔcleanÕassociationsof
thenaturalistÕscuriosity.WithreferencetoGideÕsdistressatelements
ofthe colonial administration,Luceynotes:
[Gide]clearlylongsfortheinnocence, thebenignstatusofaquietobserver
whoseinterest,beingscientific,mightsomehowremaindisinterested.[...]
ÔVivrais-jeunesecondevie,jÕaccepterais,pourmonbonheur,denÕŽtudier
quelestermitesÕ [
,346,n.].[...]Lookingattermitesandtermitariesthus
comes torepresentforGideahopeforapleasurablefreedomofvision,as if
thesocialnetworkundergirdingtheentirevoyagecouldbeeffacedbythe
narrowingofagazetothepointwhereitwouldbesufficientlypurifiedso
astoremaincharmedintopleasure. (
GideÕsBent,
157)
ThisfitswithGideÕseffortstolegitimisecuriosityinaÔcleanÕ
scien-
contextandsupportsDurosayÕsviewthatGidedidnotwanttobe
affectedbytheÔprimitiveÕcultureofAfrica,preferringtoholditat
armÕslength.Inthecontextofhumanbeings,thisÔpurified[...]nar-
rowingof a gazeÕbecomesinhumanly clinical.Itrecallsthelaboratory
LesCaves
,whereAnthimeÕscuriositytowardsthemiceonwhich
heexperimentsisexquisitelynarrowandpure:themicearestarved,
sealedofffromanyextraneouselements,andservethescientistÕs
ambitiontocontrollifebysubsuminginÔtropismesÕÔtoutelÕactivitŽ
desanimauxquÕilobservaitÕ (
,998).Thishermeticspaceofexperi-
mentationparallelsthewriterÕsproject.Gideis adept atisolatingemo-
tion,viewingitasintrinsictohiscraft:ÔTerriblemaniedulittŽrateur:
190AndrŽGideandCuriosity
sŽparertouteŽmotiondesonexpression.ConsidŽrerlÕunpuislÕautreÐ
lÕunoulÕautreÐlÕunsanslÕautre,celamneloinÕ (
,263).
WhenGideconsideredhumanobjectsofhisscientificcurios-
ityfarenoughawaynottoshedlightonhimself,heanimalisedor
entomologisedthem,andthisoccurredgenerallywhenhecouldnot
communicatewiththemthroughlanguage,orwhentheydidnotstim-
ulatehisdesire,aswithsmallchildren,andmostindigenousAfricans.
JeanneBernywrites:
Jecroisvolontiersˆ ladouceurdeGideenverssoncherAdoum(hommedu
ÔNordÕ,peuˆsonaisedanscesterritoiresduSud,luiquicomprenaittoutau
SeealsoEdouardÕswriterlyexperimentsonreallifemodels (
,258).
Berny,ÔReportagedÕAfriqueÕ,94Ð95.
HenriBergson,
LeRire
,1899in
Îuvres
ed.byAndrŽRobinet(Paris:PressesUni-
versitairesdeFrance,1970),381Ð485,389.
ScientificCuriosity191
spŽcialisermoi-mmeÕ (
,251,
myitalics
).DelaydescribesGideÕs
sympathie
as:
unesortedÕabdicationdumoidansletoi,quiappara”tplut™tcommeune
empathie,unparasitismeŽmotionnel,quecommeuneagapŽ.Ellesera
moinsunaltruismequÕ
unesoifdÕaltŽritŽoudÕaltŽration
dansuneŽmotion
commune,untransport,unvertige.SÕŽprendreŽtaitpourluisÕŽperdre,mais
passagrement
,235,
myitalics
This
sympathie
isanemotionalcuriositysofleetingthatthesubjectÕs
ownsenseofselfisnotendangered.IfcoldcuriosityinvolvesÔunean-
esthŽsiemomentanŽeducÏurÕ,thenemotionalcuriosity (
sympathie
canbedescribedasamomentaryde-numbingoftheheart.Thisform
ofwarmscientificcuriosityisillustratedbyGideÕsreactiontothesui-
cideofhisfriend,EmileAmbresin.
Lookingwith
InhisessayÔSurunefigureobsŽdanteÕ,GouletexaminesGideÕsrela-
tionswithEmileAmbresin,whokilledhimselfon30July1891when
Gidewastwentyone,GideÕssenseofguiltathisfriendÕsdeath,and
hisattemptstoexpiatetheguiltbyusingAmbresinasamodelforAr-
mandBavratelin
Silegrain
,andbothArmandVedelandOlivierin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
GideÕspainandsenseofcomplicityinhis
friendÕssuicideisfirstsuggestedbyhisdespondencyduringhistripto
Belgium (
EPV
,58,n.);second,byhisinabilitytorevealthetrueex-
tentoftheirintimacy:hewritesintheautobiographythatyearsrather
thanweeksseparatedtheirdiscussiononsuicideandAmbresinÕs
(ÔBavratelÕsÕ)takingofhisownlife, andprojectshis affectionforAm-
bresinontoFranoisdeWitt(ÔLionelÕ) (
EPV
,57Ð58);andthird,by
GideÕspathos-ladendepictionofthesuicideofAlexisB,brotherof
CorydonÕsfiancŽe,in
Corydon
,whosehomosexualdesireisnotreci-
procated.IwouldliketoconsiderthesuicideofAmbresinfroman-
other angleÐthatofcuriosity.
OnlearningofhisfriendÕssuicidein1891,Gidewrites:
PicassotoldthecriticPierreDaixthatthesuicideofhisfriendandfellowpainter
CarlosCasagemas in1901was thecatalystforhisBluePeriod:ÔCÕestenpensantque
CasagemasŽtaitmortquejemesuismisˆpeindreenbleuÕ(PierreDaix,
LaViede
peintredePabloPicasso
[Paris:Seuil,1977],47).Significantly,Picassokeptinhis
privatecollectionuntil1965 threepaintingshedidofCasagemasonhisdeathbedand
ofhisburial.
192AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Cemmesoir,jÕapprendslamortdÕEmileAmbresin.IlsÕestsuicidŽ,jÕen
suissžr.
UnecuriositŽmÕattire.
ÐEtcesentiment:sijÕavaispuluiparler...peut-tre?
ÐNousavonstrslonguementcausŽladernire journŽeensemble,
OrdesireforAmbresin,ordesire totalkfurtherwithhim.
J.M.Barrie,
PeterPan
,1904,1910(London:AntiqueCollectorsÕClubLtd,1998),
TheinscriptiononAlfredHitchcockÕstombstonereads:ÔIÕminonaplotÕ.The
subtitleofDerridaÕs
Apories
(Paris:GalilŽe,1995)is:ÔmourirÐsÕattendreauxlimites
delavŽritŽÕ.
Proust,
Duc™tŽdechezSwann
,156.
Baudelaire,
LesFleursduMal
,160.
ScientificCuriosity193
imagespointtoIcarusÕsflightupwardsuntilthesunburnshiswings,
causinghimtoplummettohisdeath,amoreextreme,lesscontrolled
flightthan PrometheusÕs.
CuriosityinlifeischildÕsplayincomparisontothecuriosity
thatdrivesonetodeath.InÔSurlacuriositŽdesanimauxÕ,Gidesug-
geststhatitiscuriosity,oratleastaninnatefascinationthatisanin-
gredientinhumancuriosity,thatdrivesabirdintothesnakeÕs
mouth,
andinRobertLouisStevensonÕs
TheSuicideClub
,which
Gidereadin1905 (
,474;475),
curiosityisconspicuous.For
example,thePrinceÕscuriosityleadshimtostumbleupontheClub;
membersareexcitedbytheprospectofdiscoveringwhatliesbeyond
theirownsuicides(120).
InNabokovÕsautobiography
Speak,Memory
,thenarratorde-
scribesanacquaintancefromtheinter-waryears,ÔayoungGerman
universitystudent,well-bred,quiet,bespectacled,whosehobbywas
capitalpunishmentÕ:
Atourthirdandlastencounter(therestillremainedbitsofhimIwantedto
fileforpossibleuse)herelatedtome,more insorrowthan inanger, thathe
hadoncespentawholenightpatientlywatchingagoodfriendofhiswho
haddecidedtoshoothimselfandhadagreedtodoso,intheroofofthe
mouth,facingthehobbyistinagoodlight,buthavingnoambitionorsense
ofhonor,hadgothopelessly tight instead.
Thereis a
miseenabyme
ofcuriosity asthespeaker,forwriterlygain,
patientlyobservestheacquaintance,who,aspartofhishobby,
patientlyobserveshissuicidalfriend.Thedescriptionofeventsisfree
ThisevokestheEnglishproverb,ÔcuriositykilledthecatÕ.ItisalsoliketheÔmal
bizarreÕand theÔobscurdŽmonÕ thatdrivesArmandBavratel tokillhimselfin
Slg
194AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ofemotion,andassuchisakintothecool,non-empatheticobser-
vationofthenaturalhistorian.Theprobably(butnotdefinitely)iron-
icalviewoftheautobiographicalspeakerandthesincereviewofthe
GermanacquaintanceÐthatthesuicidalfriendwhofailstokillhim-
selfhasÔnoambitionorsenseofhonorÕÐresemblesthatofthetwen-
ty-one-yearoldGide,forwhomAmbresinÕshonourwasatstake:ÔNe
passesuiciderŽtaitl‰cheÕhetoldAmbresin.InGideÕsdocumentary
writingandfiction,thesuicidalpersonwhofailstocarryouthis/her
suicideisaccusedofcowardice:thisaccusationisbroughtagainstthe
schoolboyinClermont-Ferrandwhosubsequentlyshothimself (
NJP
158),andBoris,whosedeathismodelledontheClermont-Ferrand
boy (
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,459;559Ð60).Gidealsorefusesto
framesuicideinatragiclightwhenhereportsthenotionsonsuicide
ofhisformerpianoteacher, PierredeLanux:
ÔJÕauraiseuplusdecourageilyaunan.Ilnefautpasattendretroptard
poursetuer;aprsonnÕoseplus...Sijevousdisaisquejene lispluslejour-
nalquepourlesrŽcitsdesuicide;ˆchacundÕeuxcÕestunbonheurpour
moi,unsoulagementinexprimable;jepense:envoilˆaumoinsunquia
su.[...]
Maintenant jesaisque,mmequand jemecrois libre, jevouslÕaidit, jene
ScientificCuriosity195
text;nevertheless,theinterspersionoftheinsistenttoposofsuicide
withthatofcuriosityissignificant.
Themajorityofthe
Faitsdivers
arenotinGideÕsvoice,but
DeflectionsofanotherorderÐtime-scalealterations,transferenceofthesuicide
victimÐoccurintheautobiographicalandfictionalrepresentationsofAmbresin,as
196AndrŽGideandCuriosity
mentale,dit-on.Ilsepeut.LibreˆnousdÕimaginerquelqueraisonde
suicideplusprofondeÕ (
,849).GideÕsguideintervenesandXcalms
down.Xthensendstheguideofftobuycigarettes,andtakesadvan-
tageoftheopportunitytorecitethepoem.Gidewrites:
OnnÕežtpudirequÕilŽtaitbeau;maisunesortedegŽniefaroucheanimait
sestraits;savoixˆlafoisrauqueetchaude,lorsquÕilnousrŽcitacesvers,
avaitprisunedouceurextraordinaire,quifaisaitleplussinguliercontraste
aveclecynismeetlarudessedesesproposprŽcŽdents.IllaissaitdŽcouvrir
enlui,semblait-il,desrŽgionsdetendressesecrte,touteunezoneinexplo-
rŽequisoudainmeparaissaitlaplusrŽelleet tout lerestenÕŽtaitplusˆmes
yeux,cynismeetrudesse,quÕunecouvertureartificielle,protectricedece
quÕilavaitenluidemeilleur.CettevisionindiscrteneduraquÕuninstant.
Laguidenousrejoignit. (
,850)
LikeAmbresin,Esseninekilledhimself;likeArmandBavrateland
ArmandVedel,X,EssenineÕsmouth-piece,hasacaustic,cynical and
brutalcharacterwhichcoversupapassionate,lovingcore.
GideÕs
fascinationforX,who,asaproxyforEssenine,walkssoclosetothe
edgepoliticallyandexistentially(cf.thethematicofÔlÕinstantex-
trmeÕwhichsofascinatesArmandVedel [
,387]),resembleshis
curiositytowardsAmbresin.Inthe
Faitsdivers
,Russiaisassociated
withsuicides (
NJP
,146Ð47,151Ð53,163),andtheassociationexists
alsoin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,where,asLivakpointsout,Borisis
surroundedbyRussiantrappings.
GouletpositsOlivierasthechar-
acterontowhomEmileAmbresinÕssuicideistransferredinfiction
,62),butBorisisthemorelikelycandidate:theinitialsA.B. are
commonlylinkedtosuicideinGide,asGoulethimselfobserves;
ArmandBavratelhasÔtoujourscemmeespritcaustiqueenverssoi-mme,envers
lessiens,enverstoutcequÕilaimaitÕ (
,199);andArmandVedelhasaÔbesoin
dÕab”mertoutceˆquoiiltientleplusÕ (
ScientificCuriosity197
ArmandandBoristogetherrepeatthispattern,Armandcarryingthe
historicalEmileAmbresinÕspersonalityandBorishissuicide.
Moreover,thelettersforÔAmbreÕ(significantlywithouttheÔsinÕ)
featureinorderinArMandBavRatEl;whileÔAmbresinÕispresent
anagrammaticallyinArMaNdvEdelBoRIS.
Second,likeNabokovÕsGermanstudent,Gideis clearlyfasci-
natedbysuicide,andbythepossibilityofgettingasclosetodeathas
possiblewithoutdyinghimself.
SuchisthethrustofArmandÕsdis-
cussionoftheÔpointlimiteÕwhichsointerests andmovesOlivier:
ÔMoi, jÕaiconscienceduÒpardelˆÓ.Mais jesuistoutdemmeunimbŽcile,
puisque,ceÒpardelˆÓ,jesaisquejenepourraisjamaisyatteindre...[...]
DÕautresontlesentimentdecequÕilsont,dit-il;jenÕailesenti-
mentquedemesmanques.[...]ToujoursdudŽficit;jeresteraitoujoursen
deˆ.Ó[...]
JetÕaiditque jenÕairienŽcrit;pourtantcesderniers joursjÕavais
lÕidŽedÕuntraitŽ,quejÕauraisappelŽ:letraitŽdelÕinsuffisance.Maisnatu-
rellement,jesuis insuffisantpourlÕŽcrire.[...]
selfbecausehissexualdesire isnotreciprocated;thesamecouldbearguedofAlissa.
198AndrŽGideandCuriosity
JÕyauraischerchŽ,ˆtraverstoutelanature,lepointlimite,en
deˆduquelriennÕest.[...]
JesupputelÕinstantextrme:Onpeutencore...Onpeutencore.
Onnepeutplus!CÕestunearteŽtroite,sur laquellemonespritsepromne.
Giderequestednottobegivenbromidefollowingastrokein1949 incaseitdulled
hislucidity (
NRFH
,365).
Theirpre-deathcommunicationssucceed,wherethoseofAndrŽÕsmotherfailed:
ÔetlecrayonquÕelleavaitenmaincouraitsurlafeuilledepapierblanc,maissansplus
traceraucunsigneÕ (
,325).(Creativity,curiosityanddesireareremovedfromthe
motherimago,silencingherbeingamanicdefence.)Thedisinterredbodyin
LeVoy-
agedÕUrien
holdsapieceofpaper.When thetravellersfindittobeblank,thenarra-
torreports:ÔalorsnoscuriositŽsretombaientÕ (
,229).Themenofthe
Faitsdivers
writingtilldeathhighlightsthestrengthGideperceivestoexistintheactofsuicide:
theactdefiescowardice;Lanuxwastooweaktokillhimself;M.Marcou-Mutzner
suggeststhatthesuiciderateinRussiafellaspoverty increasedbecause theinstinct to
survivehungerbecamestronger (
NJP
,147);M.M.G.Mequetadmitsthepossibility
thatÔlamisre,au-delˆdecertaineslimites,™temmelaforcenŽcessarieausuicideÕ
NJP
,152).
ScientificCuriosity199
1195).
LikeStevensonÕsPrince,heappearstoexperienceandap-
preciateathrillattheprospectofsuicide:theSuicideClubisaÔhalf-
maniacalsocietyÕ,aÔtempleofintoxicationÕ,theregularguest,Mr
Malthus,isÔravaged[...]byruinousexcitementsÕ,
andyet,whilere-
cognisingthispleasure,Gidehasthewherewithaltodrawbackfrom
it.
SixdaysintohisvoyagetotheCongo,Gideisnolongertalking
oftheunknownwhichawaitshim,ÔlegouffreÕandaÔfatalitŽinŽluc-
tableÕ (
,333);rather,hisloveoflifeseemstohavereasserteditself:
ÔBeautŽdesarbres,desenfantsautorsenurieurs,auregardlanguide.
Lecielestbas.ExtraordinairequiŽtudeetdouceurdelÕair.Toutici
semblepromettrelebonheur,lavoluptŽ,lÕoubliÕ (
,336).LikeStev-
ensonÕsPrincewho,aftercomingextremelyclosetokillinghimself,
eventuallydestroysTheSuicideClubanditsfounder,Gidein
Faits
divers
highlights Ô
UNCLUBCONTRELESUICIDE
GideÕscapitals
)set
upinBaltimoreUniversity,andwishesitwell (
NJP
,154).Thisveer-
ingmarksacomingbacktoearthtofulfilthedutytorepresent,after
havingobserved.ItdisplaysPrometheancontrol;nottheunbridledfa-
talascentofIcarus.
Gideobjectifies andreifiestheblacksoftheCongobyrelying
oncultural,racialandlinguisticdifferences,andoncontemporary
norms.ThisapproachisimpossibleinrelationtoAmbresin,aboy
who,despitebeingfromapoorerbackground,formedpartofGideÕs
socialmilieu,andtowhomGidehadanemotional,ifnotasexual
attachment.InthisinstanceGideseemstohavebeenabletotakeup
thepositionofdetachedcurioussubjectbecausehewasconfidentin
hisownwilltolive.LoveoflifeprotectsGideinhisperilouspursuit
ofcuriosity:ÔJÕailÕamourdelavie.SijerecherchelepŽril,cÕestavec
laconfiance,lacertitudequejÕentriompheraiÕ,hewritesin
ThisisnotincompatiblewithDurosayÕsassertionthatGidewasclosedtoÔla
fascinationdangereuseÕof theCongo (
supra
),sinceitoperatesonlyÔauniveauleplus
intimeÕ,andrefers toGideÕsexpectationsofandinitialresponseto theCongo.GideÕs
loveof lifesoonovercomes this.
Stevenson,
TheSuicideClub
,108,112.LaBruyredescribescuriosityasÔunein-
tempŽrancedesavoirÕ(ÔDe lamodeÕ, in
LesCaractres
,416).
TemperateGide, likeMŽnalque,preferredthelucidityofsobriety (
,648).
ÔWritingpoetry is mywayofcelebratingwiththeworld thatIhavenotcommitted
suicidetheeveningbeforeÕ(AliceWalker,
InSearchOfOurMothersÕGardens
[San
Diego:HarcourtBraceJovanovich,1983],249).In
Si legrain
,AndrŽfeelssuffocated
byandestrangedfromtheliterarymilieuinParis.Onlybydepictingitironicallyin
Paludes
doesheavoidcommittingsuicide (
,293).
200AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ÔLÕidentificationdudŽmonÕ (
,567).Gideandhiscontemporaries
usecuriositytosignifylifevigour.
BaudelairedescribesConstantin
GuysasÔlÕamoureuxdelavieuniverselleÕ (
CuriositŽsesthŽtiques
463Ð64)andPoppercolocateslifeandcuriositywhenhewrites:Ôlife
isexplorationanddiscoveryÐthediscoveryofnewfacts,ofnew
possibilities,bywayoftryingoutpossibilitiesconceivedinour
imaginationÕ.
Silegrain
AndrŽissavedÔpargourmandiseÕfrom
followingthefateofMallarmŽÕsdiscipleswhoturnedtheirbackson
reality (
,255),andonhisreturnfromAfricaisfilledwithÔun
forcŽnŽdŽsirdevivreÕ(292).MassondetailshowÔlaproximitŽdela
mortÕstimulatedGideÕsdesiretolive.
Inthecontextofsuicide,
ArmandÕselectricitymetaphorreplacesthatofthenormalÔmagnet-
ismÕorÔcontagionÕofcuriosity.GideÕscuriositydidnotdrivehimto
suicidehimself.InsteadhemadecontactÐaninjection-likemani-
festationof
sympathie
Ðwithhissuicidalfriend,andthereby
momentarilyelectrifiedandenlightenedhimself,whileremaining
ÔearthedÕbyhisconfidentloveforlife.GideÕsbadconscienceabout
AmbresinÕssuicideprobablyresultedinpartfromAmbresinÕsroleas
GideÕsproxyinthisultimatepursuitofcuriosity.Gideclaimstohave
saidinhisÔConversation avecunAllemandÕ:
Non[É]lÕactionnemÕintŽressepointtantparlasensationquÕelleme
donnequeparsessuites,sonretentissement.Voilˆpourquoi,siellemÕintŽ-
ressepassionnŽment,jecroisquÕellemÕintŽressedavantageencorecommise
See,forexample,
,289.DorothyBussyrelatesGideÕscripplingsenseofdisap-
pointmentfollowinghistriptotheUSSR:ÔSacuriositŽsemblaitŽteinte,ˆjamais
peut-tre?Õ (
NRFH
,40).Schlumbergerusesthesameterminologywithregard toMa-
deleine,reportingtohiswifeinMay1922:ÔJelÕaitrouvŽenonpastantvieillie
ScientificCuriosity201
Scientificcuriosityisclean,legitimate,masculineandes-
pousesEnlightenmentidealsofprogress.Thestrivingforpurityand
objectivityitdemandscan,however,compromisethesubjectÕs
human-ity,particularlywhenhumanobjectsareunderscrutiny.GideÕs
scientificcuriosityisenhancedbysexualcuriositytowardsmaleadol-
escents,butinhibitedbysexualincuriositytowardspubescentand
adultwomen.TheKleinianexplanationforthisisthatGideÕsterrorof
ahostilemotherimagoimpelledhimtoturn awayfromitandemploy
againstittheobsessionaldefencesofextremecuriositytowardsexter-
nalobjects.Kleindescribesthismechanismas:Ôaflighttoexternal
ÒgoodÓobjectsasameanstodisproveallanxietiesÐinternalaswell
asexternalÕ (
Writings
,289).Normally,suchareactiontothedepres-
sivepositionprecludesthepossibilityofreparationtothemotherim-
agobecauseobsessionaldefences areÔwithout a realcreativeelementÕ
(Hinshelwood,413),andGideÕsdisinterestedscientificcuriosity
whichoccasionallyfrustrateshimbecauseitimpedeshiswriting
seemstobelongtothistype.However,asweshallsee,writingisa
meansforGidetoredressthis:GidelearnedfromGoethethatÔlÕesprit
derecherche[...]pouvaitetdevaitdevenircrŽateur (
,707).
Mani-
fester
becomesthereparativeobverseof
observer
.Intermsofflight,
GideÕsmodelis Prometheus,notIcarus:ÔcÕest PromŽthŽe aprsquÕil a
ravilefeuducieletcommencepardonnerunpeudesalumireˆ
chacundenousÕ,remarksLambertadmiringly(Lambert,18).Gidere-
turnedtoearthtosharethefruitsofhisknowledge andescapesuicide;
he controls andcarriesfire,ratherthanbeburnedbyit.Hiscapacityto
quicklyretractidentificationwithothers (
sympathie
)translates,inthe
contextofAmbresin,intohissurvival.
Thequestionremains:if
Gideveeredfromthesourceoflife(themotherimago)justashe
veeredfromdeath(anunbridledflighttowardssuicide),wheredidthis
ÔŽternelvoyageurÕ (
CPD
,79) actuallygo?
curiositytobehismotivationforassociatingwithAlfredDouglasinBiskra:ÔjemÕin-
struis,ˆ leregarder,plusquÕen lisantbiendeslivres.Lespectaclede laviemÕestplus
profitablequelÉÐjedisdessottises.Õ (
CorrGideÐmre
,604).
Writerly Curiosity
Introduction
Atthepreparatorystageofwriting,writerlycuriosityiscuriosityto-
wardsobjectsthatthesubjectplanstoconvertintotext.Theartist
seeksoutmaterialintheexternalworldthatcanbeaestheticised.Hen-
ryJameswritesofhow as adolescentshe andhisbrotherwereurged
toconvertandconvert,successÐinthesensethatwasinthegeneralairÐor
nosuccess;andsimplyeverythingthatshouldhappentous,everycontact,
everyimpressionandeveryexperienceweshouldknow,weretoformour
solublestuff;withonlyourselvesto thankshouldweremainunawareby the
timeourperceptionsweredecentlydevelopedofthesubstancefinallypro-
jectedandmostdesirable.
GideÕssenseofdutytoobserveandrepresentresonateswiththis.As
Jamesshows,writerlycuriositydoesnotnecessarilyrequireÔthesub-
stancefinallyprojectedÕinordertosucceed:thecuriosityofEdouard
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
towardsexternalobjectsisshapedbywrit-
ingambitions,yetheneverwriteshisnovel.Heisthusengagedinthe
firststageofwriterlycuriosity,thatofcollection andpreparation.
Whenthe conversionofexternalobjectsisultimatelysuccess-
ful,thesecondstageofwriterlycuriosity,thecreationofatextthat
provokescuriosityinreaders,comestobear.Thetextisanobjectof
non-perishablecuriosity,accordingwiththe
complexedeJonas
(73Ð
74).PeterDeBollawritesofourcertaintythatÔourcherishedworks
ofart[...]arecherishedtotheextentthattheywillnever,completely,
giveupwhatitistheyknowÕ.
Barthessignalstheever-curiousnature
oftheliterarytextwhenhedescribesitasÔunegalaxiedesignifiantsÕ
thatshouldberereadtimeand again:Ô(ilnÕy a pasde
premire
lecture
[...]);[larelecture]nÕestplusconsommation,maisjeu(cejeuquiestle
retourdudiffŽrent)Õ.
Thusthecurioustextprotectsthereaderfrom
HenryJames,
ASmallBoyandOthers
,1913in
Autobiography
(London,W.H.
Allen,1956),123.
DeBolla,
ArtMatters
,143.
Barthes,
S/Z
,12,23.
204AndrŽGideandCuriosity
thedisappointmentofsatisfiedcuriosity.Aswehaveseen,inasexual
Fetishismand thesecondstageofwriterlycuriosityhavemuchincommon:curious
subjectspractiseÔlarecherchedesÒbiens imaginairesÓÕ,thesegoodsbeingsexualfan-
WriterlyCuriosity205
plume,sanschercherlesmotsÕistooimplicatedtobecurious.
Ina
diaryentryofJune1959,CatherineRobbe-Grillet claimstobewriting
asthoughshewerewritingÔunelettreŽcriteˆmoi-mme;Catherine
1959ŽcritunelettresansfinqueCatherine1979liracommecelle
dÕuneŽtrangre.Õ
Paludes
,thewritercharactercontrivessurprises
forhimselfbywritinghisdiaryseveraldaysinadvance:Ôchaquesoir
ainsijemÕendorsdevantunlendemaininconnuetpourtantdŽjˆdŽcidŽ
parmoi-mmeÕ (
,266).InSartreÕs
LaNausŽe
,AntoineRoquentin
observeshispastwriting:ÔCommentai-jepuŽcrire,hier,cettephrase
absurdeetpompeuse:Ò[...]ÓÕ(87),demonstratingacriticaldistance
towardshisownworkfoundalsoinEdouardÕsdiary:ÔDetoutceque
jÕŽcrivaishier,riennÕestvraiÕ (
,258).RoquentinÕslabellingofhis
sentenceasabsurddistancesitfromhim,andmakesofitanexternal
entitywhichcanbeobserved andjudged.Hecomparestheexperience
toamanwhohasbeenverydrunkwakingupcoveredinvomit:what
wasinsideisnowoutside.Assuch,itcanbe anobjectofcuriosityand
Jean-PaulSartre,
LaNausŽe
,1938(Paris:Gallimard,2001),87.
CatherineRobbe-Grillet,
JeunemariŽe,journal,1957Ð1962
(Paris:Fayard,2004),
170Ð71.
206AndrŽGideandCuriosity
IlesttempsquejemÕarrte,lavertudubreuvagesemblediminuer.Ilest
clairquelavŽritŽquejecherchenÕestpasenlui,maisenmoi.[...]Jepose
latasseetmetourneversmonesprit.CÕestˆluidetrouverlavŽritŽ.Mais
comment?Graveincertitude,touteslesfoisquelÕespritsesentdŽpassŽpar
lui-mme;quandlui,lechercheur,esttoutensemblelepaysobscuroil
Proust,
Duc™tŽdechezSwann
,45.
Thetwosortsofwriterlycuriosityfeaturehere:thatofseeingforhimself;thatof
WriterlyCuriosity207
MaiscenÕestpourtantpointlˆuncauchemar.Depuisdixou
douzeansjenecroispasenavoireuunseul.Malade,ˆMontpellier,ˆ
Lamalou,jÕenavaispresquechaquesoir. (
,202,
myitalics
Twelveyearsprior(NewYear,1884)ischartedin
Silegrain
asthe
momentthecanarylandsonAndrŽÕshead,designatingtohimhis
writerlyvocation (
,202).SoinGideÕsimaginary,writingcoincides
withtheendofhisnightmares.The Ô
effortsŽnormes
Õrequiredto
changeuncontrolledascentintosafedescentinthedreammay
symbolisetheeffortsrequiredbycreativeproductionandreparation.
ForGide,writingseemstocommutetheanguishofobsessional
defencesintocreativeenergy.Byputtinghiscuriosityintotheservice
ofwriting,Gidegivesitareparativepurpose.Gidenotesin1924that
hewasunabletoexperiencefear:ÔPourtantjÕaipusavoircequecÕest
quelapeur;quandjÕŽtaisenfant,jÕŽtaisextrmementfroussard;
jÕavaisdescauchemarsaffreuxdontjemerŽveillaisensueur...Et
brusquementlaglande a cessŽdefonctionner (
,1271).InKlein,fear
isgroundedinterroroftheretaliatorymotherimago;themomentthe
subjectunderstandshis/hercuriositynottobeboundtosadism
towardsthemotherimago,fear abates.
GidecitesGoethe:ÔÒLetremblement (
dasSchaudern
)estle
meilleurdelÕhomme.ÓÕ (
,518Ð9).
LikeGoethe,Gidebelievedin
thecreativepowerofanxiety:ÔLafŽconditŽdelÕangoisseexistentielle
estundesthmesqueGide adŽveloppŽ avecinsistanceÕ,writesDelay
,214).In
Silegrain
,AndrŽÕscreativityisassociatedwiththe
childhoodboutsofnervous
Schaudern
whichgenerateÔlÕŽtatlyriqueÕ
,208).Feelingsofdistress,drowningandsuffocationfromwithin
characterisethe
Schaudern
,whicharetriggeredbydeathassociations:
thenarratorrecallsthatwhenAndrŽ,agedeightornine,understood
thathisfour-year-oldrelativeEmileWidmerhaddied,ÔunocŽande
chagrindŽferlasoudaindansmoncÏurÕ (
,165),andÔuneangoisse
indŽfinissableÕoverpoweredhim;shortlyafterthedeathofhisfather,
AndrŽagainexperiencesÔcetteangoisseinexprimableÕ (
,166);when
AndrŽÕsschool-friend,BernardTissaudier,threatenstogotothepros-
titute-frequented
passageduHavre
,whichAndrŽconstruesaslife-
threatening,
AndrŽisagainengulfedbytheÔcettesortedesuffoca-
208AndrŽGideandCuriosity
tionprofondeÕ(208).The
Schaudern
seemtore-enactthedepressive
position,whichmarksaphantasmaticmourningforalostobject
(primarilytheharmedmotherimago,thenthedistantcousin,thedead
father,thelostfriend).In
Faust
,directlybeforeFaustglorifiesthe
Schaudern
,MephistophelesgivesFaustakeyintendedtoleadhimto
themothers. Fausttrembles (
schaudernd
):ÔDenMŸttern,TrifftÕsmich
immerwieeinSchlag!Õ(ÔThemothers!Thatwordalwaysstrikesme
likeablowÕ,
mytranslation
)(l.6265).ThisrecallsGretchenÕsmurder
ofherbabyin
Faust
, andconcordswiththeanguishproducedbythe
hostilemotherimagoduringtheparanoid-schizoidposition,which
mustbeconfronted andrelativisedduringthedepressiveposition.The
Schaudern
arealsoalignedtotheobsessionaldefencemechanisms:
theyaresymptomaticofobsessionalneurosis,accordingtoDelay (
214);theyareassociatedwithGoetheÕsconceptofcreativeenergy,
whichisundergirdedbymasculinecuriosity(116).Further,the
Schaudern
showthatreparationispossiblebyforgingabondbe-
tweenAndrŽandhismother.Inamanuscriptvariant,AndrŽÕsillness
isconceivedasagifttohismother:Ôlessympt™mesnouveauxque
jÕallaisoffrirˆmamreetaudocteurÕ (
,1131,s),andinreturnhe
receivesfromherthepresentoftenmonthsoffschool.
Kleinwrites
ofgiftsfunctioningtorelieve anxiety,beingÔevidencetothechildthat
allthosethingswhichithadwantedtoappropriateinasadisticman-
ner arenowgiventoitvoluntarily andinthisway alleviateitssenseof
guiltÕ(
Writings
,698Ð99).AndrŽexperiencesblissbesidehismother
oncedirectlyafteranattackof
Schaudern
,whenshetellshimÔtoutce
quesatendresseimaginaitdeplusconsolantÕ (
,165);andagain,
whenshehelpshim(AndrŽ/Gide)reviseforthe
baccalaurŽat
:ÔMa
mreŽtaitexcellente,parfaitepourmoiÕ (
,403).Here,themother
actuallyhelpsAndrŽtocarryouttheobsessionaldefenceofextreme
curiositytowardsexternalobjects.InKleinianterms,thisshowsthe
sonthatepistemophiliacanbenon-sadisticandreparative,evenwhen
directedawayfromthemotherimago.Inbothinstances,themotherÕs
realpresencereassuresthesonthathisearliersadismhasnot
exemplemonpauvreTissaudierorgiastiquementlacŽrŽparleshŽta•resÕ (
,202).
Massonasserts thatGideunderstoodinstancesoftheÔlÕinvisiblerŽalitŽÕasindicative
ofdeath,inthesenseofÔuneprŽsence-absence,lÕŽvidencedÕunnŽantquicontredit
toutcequelaviesignifieÕ(Masson,ÔGideetlamortsurmontŽeÕ,165).
Thiscontrastswithhishalf-affected,half-realfaintingfitsinMontpellier,forwhich
hemakessurethathismotherisno longer inthehouse (
,152).
WriterlyCuriosity209
irreparablyharmedthemotherimago.The
Schaudern
episodes,and
themotherÕsreactiontothem,offertheglimmerofhopenecessaryfor
faithinreparativecreativity.Hinshelwoodwrites:Ôtheexperienceof
reparation[...]isbasedonthesenseofaninternalworldinwhich
somegoodnesssurvives,whateverparoxysmsofbadfeelingssweep
acrossit.ItistheconfidenceforoptimismafterallÕ(Hinshelwood,
148).
Thecreativelyfecund
Schaudern
wouldseemtobeanin-
stanceofthedepressiveposition,whichdrivescreativity.Hinshel-
wood comments:
Inthedepressiveposition,reparationmovesintoacentralrole.Primarilyit
isarepairoftheinternalworldthatisintended,throughrepairingthe
external.Itisapowerhouseformatureenergyandcreativityintheactual
externalworld.(415)
Inher1929paperÔInfantileAnxiety-SituationsReflectedin a Workof
Art andintheCreativeImpulseÕ,Klein chartsthe artisticdevelopment
ofthepainterRuthKjŠr (
Writings
,215Ð18).Asenseofemptiness
withinKjŠrbecameoverwhelmingwhenapicturewasremovedfrom
herhome,leavinganemptyspaceonawall.Thiscompelledherquite
spontaneously,andwithoutanyartistictraining,topaintthespace
herself.HannaSegalcomments:Ôallcreationisreallyare-creationof
aoncelovedandoncewhole,butnowlostandruinedobject,aruined
internalworldandselfÕ.
ThroughartisticcreationKjŠrrecreatedher
internalisedworld;bypaintingseveralportraitsofherrealmother,she
reanimatedhermotherimago,previouslyfelttobedeadormissing.
Gidetoo,despitehisÔomnipotentÕclaimonhismotherÕsdeathtopos-
sessarichinteriorworld,perceivesanemptyspacewhichhehasto
fillwithart,when,attheverybeginningofhiscareer,heimagines
writinghis
Ïuvrescompltes
InadraftlettertoMadeleineinOc-
tober1894,hewrites:
HannaSegal,ÔApsychoanalyticapproachtoaestheticsÕ,1947in
ReadingMelanie
Klein
,203Ð22,209.
MassonconjecturesthatGidewasalreadythinkingaboutwritinghismemoirsin
December1894(PierreMasson Ô
Silegrainnemeurt
,NoticeÕin
,1093).InAutumn
1889,Giderelates inthe
Journal
day-dreamingwithPierreLouisaboutstudentlife in
Paris:ÔEtsÕenfermerlˆ,aveclervedesonÏuvre,etnÕensortirquÕavecelle
achevŽeÕ (
,103).To ValŽryhe writesin1891:ÔJe mÕenrŽjouissanscesse,carcedŽ-
partde lagrandevilleseralÕacheminementpourmoi,versdes joiesnouvelles[...]de
travail[...],ducalmeenfantementdeslivresquejerveÉÕ(11April1891,letter
210AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Apartirdemon
TraitŽduNarcisse
,jÕaicommencŽdÕŽcriremes
Îuvres
compltes
ÐdontcetraitŽrestepourainsidireleprologueÐetjeveuxque
chaquepartienesoitsupprimabledelÕensemblequÕenylaissant
unvide
sensible
.[...]
Ilmesemblequetoutartiste,touthomme,tracependantsavie,
parsesactes,ouparsesÏuvres,sonportraitpourdevantDieu,etquedesa
vieriennÕestsupprimablesansfaire
untroudanslatoile
[...]LavienÕestpassŽparabledesÏuvres(rŽptes-letoichaque
signedÔAndrŽWalterÕ);ÔDoncMallarmŽpour lapoŽsie,MaeterlinckpourledrameÐ
WriterlyCuriosity211
4).GideÕsreparationtothemotherimagothroughartnevertheless
differsfromKjŠrÕsbecauseitisconstructedonandincorporates
manicandobsessionaldefences.KjŠrmovesdirectlyfromthede-
pressivepositiontocreativereparation;Gidemustgoviamanicand
obsessionaldefencesbeforereachingcreativereparation.Hence,ex-
tremecuriosity(anobsessionaldefence)featureslargeinhis
Ïuvre
domanicdefences(see ch.3).
Ishallfirstexaminehowthepreparatorystageofwriterly
curiosityexploitsthedevicesof confessionandexperimentation. With
relationtoGideÕspreparatorycuriosity,Iusethe
miseenabyme
writer,Edouard,toilluminatetheactualwriter.GideÕsotherwriter
charactersÐAndrŽWalter (
LesCahiersdÕAndrŽWalter
),thewriter
characterin
Paludes
,GerardLacasein
Isabelle
,JuliusdeBaraglioul
LesCaves
Ðdo,unlikeEdouard,succeedinproducingtexts,albeit
lesserones.However,theyareunhelpfulinelucidatingGideÕscurios-
ity,exceptinnegative,becausetheirwriterlycuriosityisexposedas
deficient
IshallthenlookincloserdetailathowGidetranscends
EdouardÕswriterly
impasse
,thatis,whattechniquesheemploysto
convertwriterlycuriosityintotext,howheeffectstheturningfrom
upwardflight (
observer
)intodownwardreparation (
manifester
Preparatory-WriterlyCuriosity:
Confessingand Experimenting
Gideconductedtheinformationgatheringpartofcuriositybytaking
uptherolesofconfessorandexperimenter.Gidewasaconfessorin
twosensesoftheword:heconfessed,asinhismemoirs,
andhewas
confessedto:Pierre-Quintwritesthatinhisextendedfamily,Ôonse
confessaitvolontiersˆluiÕ(37).Thus,Gidewasasortofconduitof
confessions,
asshownbythewriterlyusetowhichGideputsthe
GideenthusesaboutJamesHoggÕs
ThePrivateMemoirsandConfessionsofa
JustifiedSinner
,818Ð24;seealsomyarticle,ÔAndrŽGideandJamesHogg:
ElectiveAffinitiesÕ,
StudiesinHoggandhisWorld
,18[2007]48Ð64).In
Paludes
memoirsareÔconfessionsÕ (
,261);regardingGide,MartinduGardwrites:
ÔlÕincessantdŽsirdesÕexpliquer,desedŽfendre,Ðexactement:de
sejustifier
,auquel
cegrandrŽfractaire,quisecroitexemplairementaffranchi,ajusquÕici,desonpropre
aveu,consacrŽleplusclairdesonintelligenceetdesontalentÕ (
RMGNotes
,47Ð48).
SeealsoSchlumberger,
MAG
,10&16.
Ihavealreadyevokedthecontagionofcuriosity.MartinduGardappliesthis
principle toconfessioninGide,theorisinginMarch1922thatGideÕsburningneed to
publish
Silegrain
and
Corydon
isderivedfrom:Ôuneintoxication
slave
[...].Voilˆ
212AndrŽGideandCuriosity
confidencesoftheAllŽgretfamilybetween1917and1919,whenhe
tookonapaternal/avuncularrolewhileElieAllŽgretwasawayon
missionarywork.Durosayexplains:
Entransgressantlesrgles,cetamidesjeunesgensunitlÕaudacedela
jeunesseˆlama”trisedelÕadulte.UnpiedposŽdanscesdeuxmondes,ilfait
circuler lÕinformation,quÕilcontr™le,dans lesdeuxsens.Auxneveux,ilfait
conna”trelesplansdesparents;auxparents,ilfaitentendre,sÕilpeut,les
aspirationsdesenfants.AlaserviabilitŽ,lÕonclegidienajouteuntraitplus
spŽcifique,quinÕŽtaitquÕexploiteraumieuxcettefonctiondÕintermŽdiaire:
lÕartdeseplaceraucentredudispositiffamilial,enpositionquasidŽmi-
urgique.
ThisbehaviourultimatelyfedGideÕsÔcuriositŽprofessionnelleÕwhich
soughttogarnermaterialfortheformulationof
LesFaux-Mon-
nayeurs
,Ô[dont]lesrelationsdeGideaveclafamilleAllŽgretcon-
stituentunsubstratcapitalÕ(Durosay,433,445).AvuncularGideelic-
itshisso-callednephewsÕconfessionsandrenderstheminliterature,
thenovelpermittingGidetoconfessbyproxy.JustasGideplaced
himselfatthecentreoftheAllŽgretÔdispositiffamilialÕ(Durosay,
433),he alsotookupthe centralpositioninhisweboffriendships,be-
comingtheprivilegedconfidantofhisfriends.AndrŽÕsfriendsare
ÔprospecteursÕandhedeploystheknowledgetheyacquire (
,251).
AndrŽoccupiesthecentreofaburgeoningnetworkoffriends,con-
sideringhimselfasÔlÕamilemeille
ur[...]dechacundeces amisÕ,and
hefortifiesthispositionbydemandingthateachfriendopenhimself
tohimunconditionally:ÔJenesupportaispointdepenserquÕilpžt
avoirconfidentplusintime,etjemÕoffraisˆtousaussicompltement
quejÕexigeaisquechacunsedonn‰tˆmoi.LamoindrerŽservemÕežt
paru
indŽcente
impie
myitalics
).Thesetwoadjectivesattheendof
thequotationcommunicatethemoralandquasi-religiousrectitude
Gideidentifiesinhismission).GidewroteinMarch1891toPaul
ValŽry:ÔTouteaffectionmÕinquite,carjenemereposepasen
lÕamitiŽ,maislaveuxtoujoursplusvivace,plusprofondeetplus
confianteÕ (
Corr.GideÐValŽry
,83),and,inJuly1891:ÔPourmoi,tre
aimŽnÕestrien,cÕesttreprŽfŽrŽquejedŽsireÕ(137).
Silegrain
desmoisque,pourprŽparersesconfŽrencesduVieuxColombier,ilvitdans lÕintimitŽ
quotidiennedeDosto•evski.ContagiondelaconfessionpubliqueÕ (
RMGNotes
,46).
DanielDurosay,ÔLes
Faux-Monnayeurs
deAˆSÐetZÕ,432Ð33.
WriterlyCuriosity213
narratortellinglywondersifÔplusencorequelÕami,cenÕŽtaitpas
lÕamitiŽquejÕaimaisÕ (
,251),friendship,ofcourse,beingastructure
thatinvitesconfessions.AndrŽÕsfriendshipnetworkisintegraltohis
writerlyvocation:
AudemeurantjÕadmiraismesamisplusencorequemoi-mme;jenÕen
imaginaispasdemeilleurs.CettesortedefoiquejÕavaisenmaprŽ-
destinationpoŽtiquemefaisaitaccueillirtout,voir toutvenirˆmarencontre
roldandPierreLouisallfeatureinthesexualnetworkestablishedinpart2,which
usesMŽriemÐandrogynousbymeritofyouthÐasavector(cf.CarolaÕsrolein
Les
Caves
214AndrŽGideandCuriosity
GideÕsmotheralignshersontoascientificexperimenter
whenshewritesofhiscrueldesiretocarryoutÔexpŽrienceslittŽrairesÕ
onAthman;
thePetiteDamewritesoftherebeingÔunesortede
dŽmonquilepousseauxexpŽriencesÕ (
CPD
,224);Rivalin-Padiou
talksinFrankensteiniantermsofGideÕsÔvŽritablelaboratoirehu-
mainÕ.
WhiletheyoungAndrŽtakespleasureinÔlesjeuxdela
matirevivanteÕ (
,143),thegruesomescientistAnthimeÔtravaillait
surlachairviveÕ (
LesCaves
,997),andthisfunctionsasa
metaphorfortheexperimentalauthor.Wehavealreadyencountered
Gidetheexperimentorinthedomainofscientificcuriosity(towards
DindikiandtheinfantCatherine).In
LaughterintheDark
Nabokov
connectsthechildÕsgameswiththehumanlaboratory:
Asachild[AxelRex]hadpouredoiloverlivemice,setfiretothemand
WriterlyCuriosity215
respondwarmlyandsupportivelytoaperson,andsimultaneously
gleanwritingmatterfromthemÐindeedmanyhumanobjectswillbe
unawareoftheir conversionintotext. Forexample,onhearingthathis
servantPierrettehadperhapsgonemad,Gidebegantospendanhour
talkingtohereveryday.ThePetiteDamereadsthisgestureaskind-
ness,whichitsurelywas;neverthelessautilitarianendwasfoundfor
itwhenaspectsoftheservantÕsdepression,suchasherdecisionto
keepaguninherroomandherlaterÔdŽsespoirmorneÕwereinte-
gratedintotherepresentationofLaPŽrousein
LesFaux-Mon-
nayeurs
aspectsfromGideÕsobservationsofhisformerpiano
teacher,PierredeLanux,alsofeatureinthecharacterofLaPŽrouse.
Writingaboutapersonoraconditionneednotbeexploitative;onthe
contrary,inawiderperspective,itwillsensitisereaderstoparticular
characteristicsandexperiences.Moreover,Gidewasclearlyavalued
advisor andsupportwithinhisownfamily, asPierre-Quintwrites:
Aumilieudessiens,GideŽtaitlechefdefamille.[...]Ilarrivaitquedes
parentsvenaientletrouverdeleurprovinceetluidemandaientconseilau
sujetdÕundivorce,delÕŽducationdÕunenfantdifficile,dÕunequestionreli-
gieuse.Onseconfessaitvolontiersˆlui:ilŽtaitconsidŽrŽcommelegrand
conducteur,legrandpasteur.IlŽprouvaitunesortedechagrinsÕilnepou-
vaitintervenir. (
Pierre-Quint
,37)
Suchagiftatgainingtheconfidencesofotherswasadmittedlyideal
forGideÕsvocation;nevertheless,he alsoearnedhisfamilyÕstrust.
YetGiderecognisesenoughcrueltyinhisownwriterlycu-
riositytoexposeitinfiction.In
Paludes
,theherowantstoopenAn-
gleÕseyestohermediocritybecause,notwithstandingthesadness
thatwillbringher,ÔceseraitdŽjˆbienplusintŽressant;aumoinselle
neseraitplussatisfaite;ÐellechercheraitÕ (
,272).In
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
,theÔintrusiveauthorÕattheendoftheSaas-Feesection
comments:
Chaquetreagitselonsaloi,etcelledÕEdouardleporteˆexpŽrimentersans
cesse.IlaboncÏur,assurŽment,maissouventjeprŽfŽrerais,pourlerepos
CPD
,80&108;
,356Ð61.
Pierre-QuintglidesovertheincompatiblemetaphorsofProtestantÔpasteurÕand
confession.
216AndrŽGideandCuriosity
dÕautrui,levoiragirparintŽrt;carlagŽnŽrositŽqui lÕentra”nenÕestsouvent
quelacompagnedÕunecuriositŽquipourraitdevenircruelle. (
,337)
ThewriterÕscrueltyisallthemoremarkedwhentheyhaveanemo-
tional attachmenttotheobjectand aretrustedbyit,thesecond agenda
ofthewriterÕsprojectviolatingthesecurespaceoftrustbetween
confidants.Theprotagonistof
Paludes
gesturesatthewolfinsheepÕs
clothingaspectofwriters:Ôcesexistencestranquilles[,]ilstravaillent
toujoursetpourtantonnelesdŽrangejamais;ilsemble,lorsquÕonva
lesvoir,quecenÕŽtaitquepourvousquÕilstravaillentetquÕilsprŽ-
frentvousparlerÕ (
,274).Thewriter,whobecomes,inSegalÕs
words,Ôlikeadoubleagent[...],ever
yoneÕsandthereforenooneÕs
confidantÕ (
P&P
,277),
might,forinstance,manipulateeventsin
ordertoaugmenthis/herwriterlyinterestratherthantheother
personÕswell-being.LambertwritesofGide:Ôdetouttemps,lÕaspect
littŽrairelÕavaitemportŽpourluisurlÕaspectaffectif.[É]Ilsavait
combienles affectionspeuventtredestructives;etilprenaitsurluide
passeroutre,sonÏuvrecomptantplusquetoutÕ(Lambert,89Ð90).
AlfredDouglas,inresponsetotheportrayalofhimin
Silegrain
wrotetoGide:ÔSupposingthatwhatyousayaboutmyimmoral
conduct35yearsagoistrue,stillwhatafrightfulcadyoumustbeto
revealtotheworldsecretswhichwereconfidedtoyoubyamanwho
wasyourfriend&whoneverinjuredyoubythought,word&deed!Õ
Thespeaker isamysterious traveller,Ôparvenuauhautde lacollineÕwhoclaimsto
beÔlÕauteurimprŽvoyantÕ;hemightalso,likeEdouard,beanexperimenter,as
suggestedbyhishighvantagepoint,whichcontrastswiththerestrictedviewpointof
thenarratorwehavealreadyencountered(ÔonnepeuttoutŽcouterÕ [
,191]).The
SwisssettingaggrandisestheÔcollineÕ,showingthisspeakertoenjoytheprivileged
overviewofthe ironicauthor,whomSegaldescribesasanÔinvisibledeityÕsupported
byÔcarefullyraisedtowersofhierarchicalmasculinityÕandÔgazingungazedona
sceneonlyhefullyknowsÕ (
P&P
,220).Similarly, in
Paludes
,Tityreoccupiesa tower
andin
LesCaves
,JuliusÕsnovelisentitled,
LÕAirdescimes
,whileJuliushimself
enjoysÔlaflatteuseillusionqueriend'humainneluidevaitdemeurerŽtrangerÕ (
1024).JustasGidestayedonhorsebackwheninspectingthedwellingsoftheSarain
theCongo (
supra
),thewriter-scientistcannotbeimplicatedinhis/herownexperi-
ment.
WriterlyCuriosity217
(Mouret,502).InresponsetoCatherineÕshurt atGideÕsrepresentation
ofherinthe
Journal
,Gidestated:ÔÒSijÕavaisdžmeprŽoccuperdes
rŽactionsquesusciteraientmesŽcrits,jenÕauraisjamaisrienpubliŽ.ÓÕ
(Lambert,89).Further,Gide,secondedbyMartinduGard,criticises
Schlumbergerforcompromisingthequalityofhiswriting:Ôpourdes
considŽrationsdefamille,JeannÕajamaispudirelefonddesa
pensŽeÕ (
CPD
,162).
AfurtheraffinityemergesbetweenGideand
HenryJames,albeitafictionalincarnationoftheAmericanauthorby
ColmT—ibininhis2004novel,
TheMaster
.TheBaronessvonRabe
addressesÔHenryJamesÕ:
ÔYouweretoobusygatheringmaterialtolikeanyonetoomuch.Youwere
charmingofcourse,butyouwerelikeayoungbankercollectingoursav-
ings.Orapriestlistening tooursins.Iremembermyauntwarningusnot to
tellyoua thing[É]Õ.Sheleaned towardshimconspirationally,ÔAndI think
thatiswhatyouarestilldoing.Õ
Inthenameofpreparatory-writerlycuriosity,Gideis,likeÔJamesÕ,
utilitarian,profiteering,confessorialandnegligentinhisemotional
attachments.
InShakespeareÕs
MeasureforMeasure
(aplayGide
recommendedtoJeanLambert[Lambert,84]),theDukepretendsto
removehimselffromViennabutinsteaddisguiseshimself as a friarin
ordertowatchhowAngelorunsthecityinhisabsence.
Corruption
inViennaisatboilingpointanditishopedthatthechillAngelocan
imposediscipline,butbrutalAngelocondemnsClaudiotodeathand
triestodefileIsabella,whilethedisguisedDukecoldlylookson.
LuciocallstheDukeaÔflesh-mongerÕandisaccusedofslander(Act
5,Sc.i,l.335Ð36),butthedescriptionisfitting:theDukeclaimsto
Incounterbalance,Schlumbergerexplicitlyaimedin
MadeleineetAndrŽGide
redresstheimageofÔuneMadeleinedŽfigurŽeÕwhichGidecreatedwith
Etnunc
manetinte
MAG
,229).
ColmT—ibin,
TheMaster
(London:Picador,2004),282.Cf.theDukeof
GuermantesÕsmistrustofwriters:ÔLesgensdumondesereprŽsententvolontiersles
livrescommeuneespcedecubedontunefaceestenlevŽe,sibienquelÕauteursedŽ-
pchedeÒfaireentrerÓdedanslespersonnesquÕilrencontre.CÕestdŽloyalŽvidem-
ment,etcenesontquedesgensdepeu.Certes,ceneseraitpasennuyeuxdelesvoir
ÒenpassantÓ,cargr‰ceˆeux,sionlitunlivreouunarticle,onconna”tÒledessous
descartesÓ,onpeutÒleverlesmasquesÓ.MalgrŽ toutleplussageestdesÕenteniraux
auteursmortsÕ(Proust,
SodomeetGomorrhe
,66).
ÔLÕobservateurestun
prince
quijouitpartoutdesonincognitoÕ(Baudelaire,
Curios-
itŽsesthŽtiques,
463).
218AndrŽGideandCuriosity
lovethepeoplebutallowsthemtobeharmedinthenameof
experimentation.Thereissurelyatouchoftheflesh-mongerinGide.
When,in1939,hebrokehispromisetoDorothyBussyandpublished
Journal
entryof30March1928revealingherunrequitedlovefor
him,Bussywashorrified:yearsbeforewhenshehadreadthe
unpublishedentry,sherecalled,ÔjÕavaishorreurdepenserquevous
montriezceparagrapheˆpeuprsˆnÕimportequi,quÕilmemettaitˆ
nuÕ (
Corr.GideÐBussy
,138).Gidereplied:ÔVotrelettredÕaujourd-
Õhuimefaitsentirquejesuisunmonstre[É].AquelpointjÕaiputre
cruel,parfois,etsanslesavoirÉÕ(139).
Bussyagreed:ÔOui,trs
cher,ilnÕestpasdouteuxquevoustesunesortedemonstre.Mais,
aprstout,jesupposequecÕestpour celaquejevousai aimŽ.Nesais-
jepasque certaines chosesdoiventtre achetŽes auprixdesonpropre
sang?ÕWithrelationtoGideÕswifeMadeleine,Schlumbergernotes:
ÔSidŽjˆ,devantles
CahiersdÕAndrŽWalter
pourtantvoilŽsdebrume
symboliste,MadeleineavaitsentilÕidylledesonadolescencelivrŽe
auxcommentairesdescurieux, combiendavantage
LaPorteŽtroite
lÕexposait-ellepasˆtouslesregards,entermesclaireetcirconstan-
ciŽs!Õ (
,153).GideusedMadeleineasamodelforAlissain
PorteŽtroite
,whilelaterrecognisinghertobechilledbythehuman
objectÕsÔcontactsous-cutanŽaveclÕŽcrivain,cettecuriositŽpsycho-
logiqueÕ (
CPD
,11).
InPedroAlmod—varÕs2004film,ÔLaMalaEducaci—nÕ (
Education
),thefilm-directorcharacter,Enrique,whoadmitsatthe
endtohavingmanipulatedhisloverAngeloutofcuriosity,
issaidby
Alm—dovarhimselftobeanÔartistworkingwithhisownfleshÕ,
his
ownbecauseheexperimentsuponanobjectinwhichhisownsexual
desireandemotionisimplicated:sadismthusblurswithmasochism.
ThisissimilartoGideÕsuseofMarcAllŽgretwhenhecreatesthe
characterOlivier;andtoGideÕsclaimtohavecuthischaractersÔdans
machairmmeÕ (
,551).GideÕsletterstoMadeleinearepartof
ÔIdiscoveredthecruelty(legendary)ofchildren,andofrelatives,andcouldnot
recogniseitasthecuriosityitwasÕ(AliceWalker,
InSearchOfOurMothersÕGar-
dens
,244).
ÔJetÕaichoisiparcuriositŽ.JevoulaissavoirjusquÕotuŽtaiscapabledÕaller,et
jusquÕojepourraissupporterÕ(PedroAlmod˜var,
ScŽnariobilingue:lamauvaise
Žducation
,trans.VŽroniqueFoz[Paris:CahiersduCinŽma,2004],277).
PedroAlmod˜var,ÔLaMalaEducaci—n,Self-interviewÕhttp://www.clubcultura.
com/clubcine/clubcineastas/almodovar/malaeducacion/autoentrevista_eng.htm�[20
October2008],p.1,answer2.
WriterlyCuriosity219
himself:whenMadeleineburnedthemin1918inreactiontoGideÕs
loveaffairwithAllŽgret,heaccusedherofhavingdestroyedÔle
meilleurdemoi[É]SanscestŽmoignagesquasiquotidiensdetoute
mavieintŽrieure,jenesuisquegrimaces; cettecorrespondencecÕŽtait
toutmonrecours,toutemajustificationÓÕ (
CPD
,11).Thishighlights
GideÕslikingforpublicconfessionandself-exposure;andsuggests
thatGideÕsÔmasochisticÕself-exposureofhisownfleshinfactre-
lievedhimmorethanitpainedhim.ButGide alsoregardedtheburned
lettersastantamounttohisandMadeleineÕsmurderedchild (
192),andattimesGidecouldregardMadeleineasanextensionof
himself.
Thus,whenhewasbeingÔmasochisticÕtowardshimselfby
exposingher
anextensionofhimselfintext,hewasbeingcruel
towardsher
an autonomousbeing.
WriterlyCuriosityinthe
MiseenAbyme
GideÕscuriositycouldbedirectedtowardshisautobiographicalselfin
text,ortowardsfictionalcharactersthatrepresentselveshemight
havebecome (
,551).In1916,Gidewasdelightedtodiscovera
descriptionofhimselfasafour-year-oldinaletterfromhismotherto
hisfather:ÔÒLepetitvatrsbien,maisilneprendpasassezdÕexer-
cice;ilpeutresterdesheuresˆcontemplerunechenilleÓÕ (
CPD
149).
WhentheadultwriterGideobserveshischildselfin
Sile
Thisisthecaseof
Etnuncmanetinte
:ÔPasunmotouungestedudisparuesice
nÕestenfonctiondelui-mmeÕ (
MAG
,15).
Sagaertwrites:ÔEn1918,enbržlantlacorrespondancesacrŽe,Madeleineavoulu
mettreun termeˆsonexistencelittŽraireÕ (
,1395).Attimes,GiderecognisedthisÐ
ÔÒjÕaifondŽmonbonheursur lemalheurdÕautruiÓÕ (
CPD
,10)Ðandwasatpainsnot
toexposeMadeleine.Forexample,hewitheldexcerptsfromhisdiaryduringher
lifetimeÔoutofsensitivitytoherwishforobscurityÕ(Segal,ÔGideinEgypt1939Õ,
151);andwroteinMarch1930ofhisinhibitingconsiderationfor Ô
lÕautrepartie
ÔJÕaitoujoursŽtŽparalysŽparlesscrupulesetparlapeurdepeinerquijÕaimais;et
riennÕestplusruineux, lorsquecÕestcequidiffredesoiquelÕonaimeÕ (
,195;see
also116).
EitherthePetiteDameÕsmemoryisfaulty,orGidealteredthequotationinthe
retelling,becausetheversionofthe1873letterinthe
Journal
hastheyoungGide
observingsnails,notacaterpillar:ÔAndrŽseraittrsgentilsÕilnÕavaitpaslamaniede
fairedesstations,compltementimmobile,aupieddÕunarbre,ˆobserverdescoli-
maonsÕ (
,948).Gidedoesnotquoteaccurately:hesubstitutedÔchercherÕofthe
Journal
manuscriptwithÔobserverÕinthefinalversion (
,1644,a), thusevokingthe
ÔdutyÕaspectofobservation.ItwouldfitGideÕsagenda tobescrutinisingacaterpillar
220AndrŽGideandCuriosity
,heseemstobetakingupthisobservationpostagain,thistime
scrutinisinghiscaterpillar-likechildself.
Toexercisecuriosity
towardshiswriterself,Gideused
miseenabyme
mostobviously
withEdouardof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
(1925),who,likethewriter
figurein
Paludes
(1895),isengagedinwritingatextwiththesame
titleasGideÕstextinwhichhefeatures.Eventhewritercharactersof
Paludes
Isabelle
and
LesCaves
,facileobjectsofsatireastheyare,
canilluminatetheircreatorÕswriterlycuriosity:Ôuncaractrearriveˆ
sepeindreadmirablementenpeignantautrui,enparlantdÕautruiÐen
raisondeceprincipequechaquetrenecomprendvraimentenautrui
quelessentimentsquÕilestcapablelui-mmedefournirÕ (
,541).
ThewritercharactersaccompanyGide alonghisownwriterlyjourney,
representingliterarymovementsinwhichhehimselfisengaged,
fromwhichheiseagertodistancehimself,
orwhichresemblehis
ownpioneeringefforts.
Sohissatirehas anelementofself-satire,the
differencebeingthatultimatelyhe,unlikehischaracters,overcamethe
predicamentofreconcilingcuriosityandwriting.Thedistancebe-
tweenGide andhiswritercharactersvariesconsiderably:
LesCahiers
dÕAndrŽWalter
(1890)marksthegreatestpersonalinvest-ment,so
greatthatGidefailstodistancehimselfsufficientlytoexer-cise
curiositytowardsthehero.
With
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
(1925),
InPart1of
Silegrain
,AndrŽ islarval(ÔlÕŽtat larvaireoje tra”naisÕ [
,118])and
seemstoenteracocoonstagewhichpreceedshisawakeningtoadulthoodinAfrica:
ÔCependantmonespritdŽsespŽrŽmentrestaitclosÕ(118);Ôjedormaisencore;jÕŽtais
pareilˆcequenÕestpasencorenŽÕ(120).Thecaterpillarmetaphorforachild isused
byWilliamBlake,whoseusageofitdelightsGide:LambertreportsthatGide
ÔsÕamusaˆmecitercenouveauproverbe
duCieletdelÕEnfer
:ÒLespromessesdela
chenillenÕengagentpas lepapillonÓÕ(Lambert,82).(Ihavebeenunabletolocatethe
originalquotationinBlakeÕstext,theclosestlineconcerningacaterpillarlayingher
eggsonthefinest leaves.PerhapsGide istendentiouslymisquotingagain,orliberally
translating,orcitingaliberal translation).
ÔJÕaimeassezquÕenuneÏuvredÕart,onretrouveainsitransposŽˆlÕŽchelledes
WriterlyCuriosity221
GideÕslevelofpersonalinvestmentisagainsignificant,butgreater
writerlycontrolenableshimtoforgegapsbetweenhimselfandEdou-
ardwithoutresortingtoall-outsatire,ashedidwiththewritercharac-
tersof
Paludes
Isabelle
and
LesCaves
.Gidenotesthatthe
miseen
abyme
paintingsofMemlingandMetsyscontainaÔpetitmiroircon-
vexeetsombreÕ (
,171),andGouletdescribesthe
miseenabyme
ÔcedispositifdÕembo”tementdemiroirsironiquesetdŽformantsÕ
,90).Thus,GideÕs
miseenabyme
characterscanbeviewedas
distortedreflectionsofGidehimself,permittingGidetocapturehim-
selfÔvu[...]dedosÕ (
,35),inshadow (
),capturedÔdebiais,de
faonimprŽvueÕ (
RMGNotes
,37).Asinafunfairhallofmirrors,
GideÕswriterlycuriosityisrevealedthroughcontrast,parallel,exag-
geration anddistortionbythesewritercharacters.
Thenamelessheroof
Paludes
isengagedinwritinga
miseen
abymePaludes
,thestoryof,amongstotherincuriousthings,Ôdes
andtheyoungAndrŽ.WalterÕsown
miseenabyme
characterAllainprovidesno
curiousdistanceeither,becauseheisgraftedontoWaltersocloselythattheycan
Ôsouffrirensemble,sepassionnerensembleÕ (
,10).Waltersuffersfromconstant
self-analysis:Ôceladevientunesouffrance:nepasseperdredevue,cherchant
anxieusementlemot,legeste,leregard,surtoutÕ(33);hiscuriouseyeanxiouslyseeks
itsownreflectioninaflatmirror;theexternalworld,theusualhunting-groundof
curiosity,isignored.AnangledmirrorisnecessaryforcuriosityandGidecriticises
StendhalÕsparallelofthenoveltoaflatmirrorthatonewalksalongthelengthofthe
road (
,599).Gouletremarksthatalreadyinthepoetrysectionappendedto
AndrŽ
Walter
,ÔlehŽrosauteurfictif[...]nÕestpluslemme:uncertainhumour,uncertain
sensdusaugrenuattesteuneprisededistancedÕavecsoiÕ (
EPV
ü82).In
Silegrain
thenarratortalksof theÔŽtatdÕ
estrangement
ÕinwhichAndrŽcomposed
Paludes
222AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Paludes
describesabookasÔclos,plein,lissecommeunÏufÕ (
281),
chooseshissubjectÔparexhaustionÕ,andhistextthreatensnot
tostimulatethereaderÕscuriosityatall(265).Thesefeaturesare
antitheticaltoGideÕsownview:thespeakeroftheepigraphto
Pa-
ludes
assumesthereaderÕscuriositytowardstheopentext (
,259);
Gidestatesthatabookshouldend,ÔnonpointparŽpuisementdusujet,
quidoitdonnerlÕimpressiondelÕinŽpuisable,maisaucontraire,par
sonŽlargissementetparunesortedÕŽvasiondesoncontour.Ilnedoit
passeboucler,maissÕŽparpiller,sedŽfaire...Õ (
,556).In
Paludes
theheroÕsdabblinginwriterlycuriosityfailsasthegrandprojectof
thevoyageintotheunknownshrinkstoÔlepetitvoyageÕ,andfinally,
isconsideredtobe a failure (
,304).
Isabelle
,thenarratorrecountsataleofdisappointed
writerlycuriosity,whilethetextrelatesbunglingwriterlycuriosity.
EagerthateveryeventshouldmaintainÔlÕattraitŽnigmatiquedontma
curiositŽlerevtaitnagureÉÕ,GŽrard,thenarrator,recountsevents
intheorderinwhichtheywerediscoveredbyhisprotagonist-self,an
apprenticewriter (
,916).Inkeepingwiththeoriginaltitleof
Isabelle
LÕIllusionpathŽtique
theplotculminateswithGŽrardfind-
ingIsabelleunworthyofhisdesireandcuriosityÐheisÔsubitement
incurieuxdesapersonneetdesavieÕ(983).YetGŽrardÕswriterly
curiosityhasbeenineptfromtheverybeginning:hiscuriositylacks
therequisiteÔvŽritabledŽvouementÕ (
,544),
andhehimselflacks
perspicacity,makingwrongorimpreciseallusionstonaturalhistory.
Atthetimeofwriting
Isabelle
,GidewastranslatingRilkeÕs
TheNote-
booksofMalteLauridsBrigge
(1910),andthereareechoesofthe
GermanworkinGideÕs
rŽcit
Malte,RilkeÕsprotagonist,islearning
Cf.theÔÏufdeseicheÕof
LaTentativeamoureuse
,whichstimulatesacuriosity
quicklyabandoned (
,249).
WriterlyCuriosity223
toseeandtobeapoet (
Malte
,9&21);thepoetAnversisdescribed
as amanwhohatedtheapproximate.
Theseaspectsthrowintorelief
GŽrardÕsownincompetenceatseeingandwriting.GŽrardcannottell
anelmfromanalderbranch(929);theÔeditorÕpointsoutthatthe
narratorhasgivenaninaccurateLatinnamefortheflamingoheis
describing(932,n.);
GŽrardasksMlleVerdureforthenameofa
particularleafhehaspicked,Ônonquejefussebiencurieuxdele
conna”tre,maisellesetrouvaitflattŽequÕonf”tappelˆsonsavoirÕ
(963).Thenarratorpayslip-servicetotheimportanceofseeing,
talkingconstantlyoftheprotagonistÕscuriosity,mentioninghowM.
FlochegazesatGŽrardsurreptitiouslyasheworks (
,930),and
recallingthebaronNarcissedeSaint-AurŽolÕsclaimtohaveanall-
seeingeye(932).ButthecuriosityofFlocheandthebaronisas
defectiveasGŽrardÕsown:when,atthedinnertable,MmeFloche
triestohidetheletterannouncingIsabelleÕsarrivalandknocksovera
glassofwine,ÔM.FlochenÕarienvu,M.deSaint-AurŽolriencom-
prisÕ(962).GŽrardÕspresumptuousnessthatheisanovelistareas
lackinginsubstance:heisalreadyaddressinghimselfasÔRomancierÕ
evenbeforehehasmasteredseeing(931).
JuliusdeBaraglioulof
LesCaves
isanestablishedwriter.
Whilethenarrator,whomSegalidentifiesincertainpassagesasan
extradiegeticJulius (
P&P
,232Ð33),speaksoftheprotagonistÕsmea-
LaQuartfourchethroughwhichthethreemenwanderattheopeningofGideÕstext,
theeeriecastlein
Malte
has,atthetimeofnarration,beenabandonedbythechar-
acterswhoappearinthetext(R.M.Rilke,
DieAufzeichnungendesMalteLaurids
Brigge
,1910[Frankfurta.M.:InselVerlag,1987],26Ð29).
ÔErwarDichterundha§tedasUngefŠhreÕ (
Malte
,155).Gidehimselfhadlittletime
for imprecisereferences to thenaturalworld(see
NRFH
,19),andthenarratorof
Si le
grain
judgesthechiefcharacteristicoftheFrenchlanguagetobeprecision (
,243).
ThiscouldalsobereadasanironicjibeattheeditorÕspedantry.
Andthisdespitehisapprehension,onfindingIsabelleÕsletterinthepavilion,at
havingtoturneventsintofiction (
,954).GŽrardÕspresumptuousness ishighlighted
byGideÕsownreluctancetocallhimselfanovelist,evenoncehehadcompleted
Les
Faux-Monnayeurs
,asWalkershows:ÔlorsqueGideutiliselemotdeÒromancierÓ,il
neparlepasde lui-mme,maisplut™tdequelquÕundÕˆmoitiŽ imaginairequÕil tientˆ
distance.CepersonnagehŽsitemoinsqueGideˆseconsacreraugenreduromanÕ
(DavidH.Walker,ÔEnrelisantle
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,in
AndrŽGideet
l'Žcrituredesoi
,ed.PierreMasson&JeanClaude,[Lyon:Pressesuniversitairesde
Lyon,2002],89Ð102,91).GideÕsconvictionofhimselfasawriterasopposedtoa
novelist,however,isunswervingfromearlyadulthood.
224AndrŽGideandCuriosity
suredwriterlycuriosity,
thetextexposeshisÔcuriositŽmalexperteÕ
,1027).JuliusÕsclumsinessinspeech,manners,mindandaction
meansthattheobjectisfullyawareofhiscuriousdesigns:Anthime
findsÔunegrandemaladressedansladiscussionÕofJulius(1004);
JuliusbringsupAnthimeÕslumbagoÐÔSonlumbago!Pourquoipassa
loupe,bient™t?Õ(1009);
Juliuscannottakehiseyesfromthesuspect
spotonAmŽdŽeÕsneck(1122);
LafcadiocatchesJuliuslooking
throughhisprivateaffairsandlaterdescribeshimasÔsiempotŽ!Õ
(1128);JuliuscannotinterpretthesignificanceofLafcadioÕspossess-
ions(1028).JuliusÕsfearofexposinghisownignorancelimitshis
curiositytowardsothers:heavoidsdiscussingAnthimeÕsscientific
research(1009),andpreferstopullrankratherthanengagewith
LafcadioÕsviews(1055).Juliusholdshisnosewhenheisforcedto
descendÔhorsdescoutumesdesaclasseÕ(1024Ð25);andkeepshold
ofhishatatAnthimeÕshome,Ôplut™tquedeleposersurladouteuse
toilecirŽequirecouvraitunetableovaleÕ(1080).EnteringLafcadioÕs
building,heundergoesaconcentratedversionofGŽrardÕstransition
from
bovarysme
torepulsion:
ÔilsemblaitauromancierquÕilsÕen-
fon‰tdanslÕaventure;mais,tandisquÕilmontaitlÕescalier,lamŽdi-
ocritŽdulieu,lÕinsignifiancedudŽcorlerebutrent;sa curiositŽquine
trouvaitosÕalimenterflŽchissaitetcŽdaitˆlarŽpugnanceÕ(1025).
Juliusis anincurioussuccessfulwriter.
However,Juliusismomentarilytransformedintoapractiser
ofwriterlycuriosity.HavingarrivedatJuliusÕsapartmentafterthe
murderofAmŽdŽe,Lafcadiofindsawriterwhoisnothimself:ÔJe
suis ˆ untournantdemavie.JÕailatteenfeuetressens ˆ traverstout
lecorpsuneespcedevertige,commesijÕallaismÕŽvaporer.Depuis
troisjoursquejesuisˆRome[...],jecoursdesurpriseensurprise.
VotrearrivŽemÕachve...JenemeconnaisplusÕ(1140).JuliusÕs
ÔMalgrŽcertainecuriositŽprofessionnelle[...]Õ (
,1024);ÔLadistinctionfoncre
WriterlyCuriosity225
Ôvertige, commesijÕallaismÕŽvaporerÕresonateswithKleinÕsdescrip-
tionoftheobsessionaldefencemechanismas:Ôaflighttoexternal
ÒgoodÓobjectsÕleadingtoÔaweaknessoftheegoÕ (
Writings
,289),
whichIalignedtoPrometheancuriosity.JuliusviewsAmŽdŽeÕsmur-
der,whichisrecordedasa
faitdivers
,asÔuneaventureprovident-
ielle!Õ(1144),
heiswhollyfocussedonexploringÔlesplusŽtranges
possibilitŽsenmoi-mmeÕ(1142),andviewslifeandwritingas
interdependent.TogetherJuliusandLafcadiosketchJuliusÕsfuture
fictional characterwhowill commit amotivelesscrime, adorerisk and
listentothedemonofcuriosity(1143).ButthemomentJuliuslearns
thatAmŽdŽewasnotrobbed,heisawokenfromhismadness(1146).
TherebeingnosuchthingasaÔcrimesansmotifÕ,Juliusimmediately
understandshisownpersonalimplicationinthetragedy,andcannot
useit aswritingmaterial.Herevertstohisoldself, confidentinpolice
protection,unsettledbyreality,
andrecognisedandrewardedbythe
literaryestablishment(1164).Theblipinhisbehaviourwasnothis
doing:ÔLuinÕavaitpaschangŽ:cÕŽtaitlepapeÕ.
Duringthetrans-
formation,Juliuspractiseswriterlycuriosity,butcannotwrite.Thisis
thereverseofhiswriterpredecessors,includinghisoriginalself,who
couldwritebutcouldnotbecurious.
Edouardandthe MechanicsofProduction
OutofallGideÕsauthor-characters,EdouardistheclosesttoGidein
termsofpreparatory-writerlycuriosity.GideÕsproximitytoEdouard
isneverfixed (
,544);they are close,butnotidentical.
Walkerhas
ThenewJuliusÕsplanneduseofa
faitdivers
runscounter totheethicoftheearlier
narratorÐtheextradiegeticoldJulius?Ð,whosepenabandonsLafcadiothemoment
hethrowshimselfintoa
faitdivers
,1036).OtherindicatorsofJuliusÕs
transformationarehisdescriptionofhisownnovelasÔunlivremanquŽÕ(1082);and
hiswillingnesstobeseenÔauGrand-H™telencompagniedÕundŽbristelque
FleurissoireÕ(1122).
CarolaÕscommentthatshehadsleptwithAmŽdŽedisconcertsJulius (
,1148Ð49).
Again,incuriosity isboundtoCatholicism.
AffinitiesbetweenGideandEdouardinclude:theambitiontoputeverything
observed,learned,feltandexperiencedintothenovel (
,521;313,240);the
experienceofwatchingayoungboyashestealsabook,andrendering that inwriting
,532Ð34;235Ð37);GideÕsplantolendEdouardsnippetsofhisownexperience
,539;Durosay,ÔLes
Faux-Monnayeurs
226AndrŽGideandCuriosity
shownthepermeabilityofGideÕsandEdouardÕsvoicesinthe
manuscriptofthe
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,inwhichGideopens
speechmarksforEdouardandneglectstoclosethemwhenhemoves
intohisownvoice(Walker,92);elsewhere,Edouardfunctionsasa
mouthpieceforGide,whenGideisunwillingtotaketotalrespon-
sibilityfortheviewsexpressed.Gouletwrites:ÔonpeutconsidŽrerque
sontprtŽesˆEdouard[...]lesopinionsproblŽmatiques,soumisesˆ
interrogation,expŽrimentationoucritique,tandisqueGiderŽserve
pourson
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
cellesquÕilpeutrevendiquer
ensonproprenomÕ (
EPV
,306).
Edouardexercisespreparatory-writ-
erlycuriosity,andexposesthestrugglerequiredtoproduceacurious
text.Hitherto,the
miseenabyme
writershavebeenincurious,or,in
thecaseofJuliusduringhisprovisionalmetamorphosis,curiousbut
tooreadytorenegeoncuriositythemomentheunderstandshimselfto
bepartiallyresponsiblefortheeventhehasonlyjustsoughttoaes-
theticise.Edouard,however,engagesmeaningfullyinthestruggleof
puttingrealityintotext:ÔleÒsujetprofondÓÕofhisbookisÔlarivalitŽ
dumonderŽeletdelareprŽsentationquenousnousenfaisonsÕ (
326Ð27).
GouletobservesthatforbothGideandEdouard:ÔlÕart,
lÕŽcriture,constituentunegrilledelecturedelavie,quitendˆtre
considŽrŽecommematireˆlittŽrature,ˆformulationenmotsÕ (
EPV
305).
LikeGide,Edouardoccupiesapoeticexistence,beingÔacteur
etcontemplateurˆlafoisÕ (
,225);
heparticipatesinandobserves
outsideeventsandtheprocessesofhisownwriting(314);andhe
plays confessor andexperimenter.Lauraand Sarah,Pauline andMoli-
tendencytoengagewithpeopleintensivelyandthenÔdropÕthem.Asfortheir
WriterlyCuriosity227
nier,LaPŽrouseandMadameLaPŽrouseallconfideinEdouardbe-
causeofthehumansupportheoffers.Edouardwrites:ÔlÕimportant
nÕestpastantdՐtrefrancquedepermettreˆlÕautredelՐtreÕ(243);
SarahhasalwaysbeenÔtrsconfianteÕwithhim(253);
sheshows
himherfatherÕsdiarybecauseofitsinteresttoanovelist(255).With
Molinieralso,Edouarduseshiscredentialsasnovelisttoencourage
theotherÕsconfidences(342),
beforecontemptuouslybatinghim:
Lepauvrehommepataugeaitdanssaconfidence.Ilsetamponnalefront,
sÕŽventa.JÕavaisbeaucoupmoinsbuquelui.LecÏurnefournitpasdela
compassionsurcommande;jenÕŽprouvaispourluiquedudŽgožt.Je
However,Edouardisaversetobeingcaughtinwritinghimself,assuggestedbyhis
Proteanaspect (
,325Ð26).
ForGideÕsskillsasconfessortothemodelforSarah,seeÔLedossierSara
Breitenstein:unmodlepourSarahVedel(lettresinŽdites)Õed.DanielDurosay,
,18,no.88(October1990),448Ð66.GidetoBreitenstein,19Aug1917:Ôtout
moncÏurvoussaitgrŽdemeparlertoutaussit™tavectantdefranchiseetdecordia-
litŽÕ(448);BreitensteintoGide,23Jan1918ÔAussivais-jetretrsfrancheavec
vous; jÕaitrsbesoindevosconseilsÕ(453).
Cf.thepriestÕsremarktoGŽrardin
Isabelle
:ÔdsquÕonsecroitnŽromancieron
sÕaccordeaussit™ttouslesdroitsÕ (
,955).
LÕImmoraliste
,MŽnalque,preferringtheluciditythatfacilitateshiscuriosity
ÔsansbornesÕ,stayssoberandwatchfulwhileMicheldrinks (
,648).Seealso
MolinierÕsdrinking (
,343).
In thenextdiaryentryEdouardnegates thispassage(ÔriennÕestvraiÕ),butthisdoes
notlessenitsvalidity,sinceheclaims,likeRoquentin,nottorecognisehisevening
selffromhismorningself (
,225).ThisaccordswithGideÕsdesire inthepreface to
228AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ButEdouardfailstoreconcilerealityanditsrepresentation
throughthecreationofacurioustext,toÔfournirunalimentˆdes
curiositŽsencoreindistinctes,satisfaireˆdesexigencesquinesont
pasencoreprŽcisŽesÕ (
,244).LaurawarnsEdouardthathisnovel
willmakehisreadersdieofboredom(313);Sophroniska,that
intellectualcharactersinanovelÔassommentlepublicÕ;anddespite
EdouardÕsconfusedhopethatsomeoneintheSaas-Feegroupwillask
toreadhisnotebookwhichdocumentsthewritingprocess,Ôaucundes
troisautresnemanifestalamoindrecuriositŽÕ(314).
Heisnotupto
Ôceteffortpourstyliser[larŽalitŽ]Õ(313).EchoingthecharacterLaura
(314),Gidenotes:Ôcepurroman,[Edouard]neparviendrajamaisˆ
lÕŽcrire.[...]CÕestunamateur,unratŽÕ (
,544).
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
isneverwritten;consequently,theconfessionscollected
areneverdivulged(excepttothepryingBernard),
andthe
experimentshavetragicends,withnowriterlygain.
ThroughoutthetextthereisasensethatEdouardknowshe
willfail:ÔOui,sijeneparvienspasˆlÕŽcrire,celivre,cÕestque
lÕhistoiredulivremÕauraplusintŽressŽquelelivrelui-mme;quÕelle
auraprissaplaceÕ (
,314Ð15).RegardingEdouardÕsawkwardness
whendiscussinghiswritingproject,Gidecomments:ÔSommetoute,il
bluffe;ilcraint,aufond,denepouvoirjamaisensortirÕ (
,541).
Thisfeartranslatesasalackofconfidenceandconvictioninthepro-
cessesofcollectingobjectsofwriterlycuriosity.Hiscuriosityismore
the1895editionof
Paludes
thateverybookcarryinitselfÔsaproprerŽfutationÕ (
326).Apreparatorydocumentfor
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
alsoreavealsthisduplic-
itousgamewherebythewritercharactersympatheticallyelicitsconfidencesfrom
fatherandsonboth(SeeÔEnmargedes
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,presentedbyAlain
Goulet in
,472Ð75).
Edouardisalsounskilledatengaginghispublicorally:toArmand,EdouardÔne
trouvai[t]rienˆrŽpondreÕ (
,255);toLaPŽrouse,EdouardÔnetrouvai[t]rienˆlui
direÕ(260);withOlivier,ÔjenÕaisupasplusparlermoi-mme,hŽlas!quelefaire
parlerÕ(291);ÔSeulavec[Bernard], il nÕauraitriensudireÕ(312);regardinghisnovel,
EdouardÔse taisaitde lamanire laplusgaucheÕ(316).Onlybywritingtohimselfin
thediary,doesheinadvertentlyelicit thecuriosityof thepryingBernard.
ThisfailuretodivulgeothersÕconfessionsalignsEdouardtoMichelof
LÕImmoraliste
,whomSegaldescribesasÔmoralisticbydefaultÕ (
P&P
,170).Simi-
larly,Gidesays thatMicheldoesnothaveitinhimtowrite:Ônon,jenepensepasque
MichelpuissejamaisŽcrire.Sachaleur,vouslesentezbien,nÕestquÕardeur;ellebržle
sansrŽchauffer; lesmotssefriperaientsoussaplumeÕ (
,616).Gidewrites inhis
epigraphto
LaTentativeamoureuse
:ÔLedŽsirestcommeuneflammebrillante,etce
quÕilatouchŽnÕestplusquedelacendre,ÐpoussirelŽgrequÕunpeudeventdis-
perseÐnepensonsdoncquÕˆcequiestŽternelÕ (
,237).
WriterlyCuriosity229
thegratuitous
contempler
thantheutilitarian
observer
.Edouardloses
hisobjectsofcuriosity,ratherthanmakethempartofhisÔsoluble
ThisdoesmeanthatEdouardhassucceededinproducingacuriousartwork.Gide
viewsthediaryasafilterfor,andadocumentationof,realevents,incontrasttothe
processed,composedartwork.Thus,bybeingcurioustowardsEdouardÕsdiary,
Bernardissimplybeingcurious towardsexternalreality.
230AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Edouard]extrmementÕ(311);BernardÔdeferenceÕtoEdouardis
playful(316).
Significantly,itisBernardwhosealsthefateon
EdouardÕsunwrittennovel:whenEdouardcontemplatestheactual
fakecoinandadmitsthatÔ[larŽalitŽ]megneÕ(317),Bernardreplies,
ÔCÕestdommageÕ.
Georges,forhispart,refusestotellEdouardthesignificance
ofhisyellowribbon,becausehesuspectsEdouardÕssecondagenda,
whichcouldbewriterlyorsexualcuriosity.
AfterreadingEdouardÕs
fictionalaccountofthebookshopscene,Georges,themodelfor
EdouardÕsprotagonist,refusestodictatetherestofthescenetothe
expectantauthor.WhenEdouardlayshishandonhisshoulder,
Georges,unwillingtotolerateEdouardÕsÔbesoindÕintervenir,dÕopŽ-
rersur[sa]destinŽeÕ(258),shakesitoff.Inadvertently,Georges
revealstheshortcomingsofEdouardÕsobservationalskills:EdouardÕs
accountofhissurveillanceofGeorgesbrimswithreferencestothe
writerÕsgaze,recallingGŽrardÕspresumptuousbeliefinhisobser-
vationalacuity;
henotestheyellowribbononGeorgesÕsjacketÔpar
Intheunpublishedmanuscriptof
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
,Bernardismore
subordinate.BernardandhisfatherÔHoraceV.Õbothconfideinthewriter,thereby
makingthemselvesvulnerabletohisexperimenting.Thewriterasconfessoris
illustratedbythefollowing:ÔjemÕamuseˆ[...]conseiller[ˆHoraceV.]toujoursce
quejeprŽvoisqueprŽcisŽmentilveutfaire,etparlˆjeretienssaconfianceÕ(ÔEn
margedes
Faux-Monnayeurs
,472;ÔJÕaimebeaucoupsonfils;ilsÕouvreˆmoi
volontiersÕ(473);Ô[Bernard]saitdÕailleursquÕilpeutcomptersur moi,etmme jeme
suisŽtonnŽdenÕavoirpasreusavisiteavantcelledesonpreÕ(474).Thewriteris
thedominantobserverandlistener:ÔJeconnais[HoraceV.]depuislongtemps,mais
pourraisvivreunsicleˆsesc™tŽssansavoiruninstantlÕimpressionquÕilmÕait
jamaisvraimentregardŽÕ(473);ÔjenerŽpondsrienÕ.Asforthewriteras
WriterlyCuriosity231
disciplineÕratherthanintuitionthatitcouldbemeaningful;herelates
havingcunninglysteppedbacktotrickhisÔgibierÕintomoving.But
heisnotcunningenough:ÔlapesŽedemonregardfausseunpeusa
directionÕ(138Ð40).
Undauntedforthetimebeing,Edouardresolves
tohonehisskills atwatchingpeopleÔdebiais,deprofilÕforthefuture.
WhenhelatercommentsthathewatchesOlivierÔlorsquÕilnemevoit
pasÕ(266),Edouardseemstobeshowingoffthathehasindeed
masteredtheintricaciesofsubtleobservation,butthisismisleading:
OlivieriseasiergamethanGeorgesandinthreescenesÐLauraÕs
wedding,SarahÕsbedroom,andafterOlivierÕssuicideattemptÐ,
OlivierÕseyesareshutwhenEdouardobserveshim(246,254,403).
Truetocounterfeiterform,Edouard,writerdisguisedasconfessor,is
liketheseeminglybeneficentbutflesh-mongeringDukefrom
ShakespeareÕs
MeasureforMeasure
whodisguiseshimselfasafriar.
ButalthoughEdouardÕspreparatory-writerlycuriositywouldappear
tobehighlyactiveÐheexaminesBernardÕsfalsecoinÔaveclaplus
attentivecuriositŽÕ(317)Ð,itisunderminedbyhisfailuretoattain
productive-writerlycuriosity.
WhyareBernardandGeorgestheonlycharacterstosee
throughEdouard?WhydoesGidechooseBernardtosealthefateon
EdouardÕsunwrittennovel?MichaelTilbysinglesoutBernardand
GeorgesbecausebothdisplayÔaremarkablelackofembarrassmentÕ.
HecontendsthatÔgneÕanditscognatesareindicativeofcharacters
coveringupsecretswithafragilehypocrisy(Tilby,55),sotheboysÕ
inabilitytobeembarrassedtranslatesastheirauthenticity.TothisI
wouldaddtheirassumingofresponsibilityforearlierharmfulactions,
whichcontrastswithEdouardÕsirresponsibility:Georgesistheonly
onetobeconvincedofhisfullresponsibility afterBorisÕsdeath(464);
demonregardetcompritquejelesurveillaisÕ (
,532);Ôjenecessaispointde
lÕobserverÕ(533).
Cf.JulienGreenÕsexperiencebeingwatchedbyGide (
NRFH
,231Ð32).
Bernard,however,looksatOlivierdirectlywithÔunecurieuseinsistanceÕ,causing
hisfriendtoblush (
,368).
MichaelTilby, Ô
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
:anovelaboutembarrassmentÕ,49,50.
However,BernarddoesturnawayfromSarah,ÔunpeugnŽÕ (
,394).Ishalllater
alignÔgneÕtotheemotionprovokedinthemalesubjectwhenfacedbythemother
imago,towhichithasdoneharm.BernardriflesthroughhismotherÕsdrawersand
thisleadstofamilybreak-up,butheultimatelyreturnshome.Hethusundergoesa
processinvolvingsadisticepistemophilia,thenembarrassmentfortheharmcaused,
thentheassumingofresponsibilityforthatharm(hiswrestlingwiththeangel),and
finallyreparation.His
isthustransient.
232AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Bernard,afterwrestlingallnightwiththeangelÐwhichsuggestshis
worthinessinreligiousterms(433)Ð,returnshomeonhearingofhis
foster-fatherÕspoorhealth(466).SegaldescribesEdouardasan
innocent,
andaninnocentcannotberesponsible.Gouletshowsthat
Edouardonoccasion confuseslifewithfiction;
hisdescriptionofthe
novelas Ô
lawless
Õtherefore (
,311),couldalsobeadescriptionof
hisownconduct.Hisirresponsibilityisexplicitinhiscapacityfor
sympathie
:ÔcetteforceantiŽgo•stededŽcentralisationesttellequÕelle
volatiliseenmoilesensdelapropriŽtŽÐet,partant,delarespon-
sabilitŽÕ(
225).
Whatbearingdoesresponsibilityhaveonproductive-writerly
curiosity?InKlein,artisticcreationisaformofreparation.Before
reparationcantakeplace,thesubjectmustacknowledgetheearlier
phantasmaticsadisms/heperpetratedagainstthemotherimago,and
assumeresponsibilityforit.ThisaccordswithGideÕsprefacefrom
Saint-ExupŽryÕs
VoldeNuit
:ÔleBonheurdelÕhommenÕestpasdans
lalibertŽ,maisdanslÕacceptationdÕundevoirÕ (
,704).Kleinwri-
tes:
Thedrive tomakereparation totheinjuredobject[...]is inextricablylinked
withfeelingsofguilt.Whentheinfantfeels thatitsdestructiveimpulsesand
phantasiesaredirectedagainstthecompletepersonofhis lovedobject,guilt
arisesinfullstrengthand,togetherwithit,theover-ridingurgetorepair,
preserveorrevivethelovedinjuredobject.Theseemotionsinmyview
amount tostatesof mourning,andthedefencesoperating toattemptson the
partoftheego toovercomemourning.
Since the tendency tomakereparationultimatelyderivesfrom the
lifeinstinct,itdrawsonlibidinalphantasiesanddesires.(Klein,
Writings
III
ÔForinacertainsensetheslaughterofaninnocent[Boris]isperformedbyan
innocent[Edouard]Õ (
P&P
,230);ÔGidewaspreparedtosacrificeEdouardÕsdignity in
ordertopreservehissexualinnocence.UnlikeMichelhecannotbeleftunawareof
WriterlyCuriosity233
Theexperienceofreparation isa toleranceof the loss,andguiltandrespon-
sibilityfortheloss,whileatthesametimefeelingthatnotallislost.The
possibilityofretrieving thedisasterremainsahope.(Hinshelwood,148)
Reparationthroughwritingrequiresanassumingofresponsibilityret-
rospectivelyintext.Responsibleproductive-writerlycuriositydirectly
followsirresponsiblepreparatory-writerlycuriosity:in
LesCaves
,Jul-
iusÕssuddenunderstandingthatheiscomplicitinAmŽdŽeÕsdeath
abruptlyendshiscuriositytowardswhathehadconsideredagratu-
itous
faitdivers
,1146Ð47).Thus,preparatory-writerlycuriosityre-
quiresirresponsibility;productive-writerlycuriosity,responsibility.
GideÕsrelationshiptoresponsibilityiscomplex.Hewas
stronglyattractedtoEdouardÕsmodeofirresponsibleliving,
expressingintwodiaryentriespost-1918hisbitternessthatconsi-
derationstoprotectMadeleinefromexposurehadlimitedhiswriting
endeavours (
,116,195).His actions couldbeirresponsible, aswhen
heapparentlyencouragedEmileAmbresintokillhimself,orwhenhe
lefthisinfantdaughterstrandedonthedeck-chair (
).Retro-
spectively,however,heassumestheguiltforthem.ThePetiteDame
writeshowthedeckchairstory:ÔmontreˆlafoischezGideunesorte
dedŽmonquilepousseauxexpŽriences,unecruautŽconscienteou
inconsciente,etunebonnefoientiredanslafaondereconna”treses
tortsÕ (
CPD
,224Ð25).Hinshelwoodwrites:ÔThecapacitytorepair
comesfromtoleratingpainfulguiltandremorsetotheextentoffind-
ing a waytomakereparationÕ(149).
SoGideprojectshisdesireforirresponsible
lawless
behaviour
ontoLafcadioandProtosof
LesCaves
,andEdouardof
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
,whilesimultaneouslycondemningtheirconduct.
Laf-
cadioandProtosaremurderers;EdouardÕswriterlycuriosityis
condemnedbytheÔintrusiveauthorÕ (
,337),andbyGidehimself
whenhecriticisesthosewhobelievetheycanalwaysactaccordingto
theirÔinstinctsÕ,ÔintŽrtsÕorÔtempŽramentÕwithimpunity (
,538).
Althoughinthetexts,itisanotherwhoispunished(Marcelinein
LÕImmoraliste
;Fleurissoirein
LesCaves
,Borisin
LesFaux-Mon-
nayeurs
)whiletheÔinnocentÕ(Michel,Lafcadio,Edouard)goesfree,
GideÕscondemnationofhischaractersÕsadismisafirststeptowards
acknowledgementofhisown.ÔCuriositŽ[...]desoi-mmeÕdrivesLaf-
ForGoulet,ÔEdouardestdÕabord leproduitdÕuntransfertnarcissique,analytiqueet
autocritiquedelapartdelÕauteurÕ (
EPV
,302).
234AndrŽGideandCuriosity
cadioÕscrime (
,1134Ð35),
andMassisjudgesÔcettedangereuse
curiositŽdesoiÕtobeÔleprincipedelÕŽthiquedÕAndrŽGideÕ.
ArguablyMassiswasonlyseeinghalfthepicture:throughwriting,
Gidetranscendslawlessness,
andthroughguilt,assumes
responsibility.Inthe
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,hewrites:
ÔLÕidŽedÕobtenirquoiquecesoitauxdŽpensdÕautruimeparalyse(et
duresteilnÕestpeut-trepasdemeilleurfreinmoral[...]Õ (
,526).
Thisobscurecommentcouldimplythat,apartfromremainingtotally
inactive,GidecouldonlyobtainobjectsÔauxdŽpensdÕautruiÕ;this
thenactivatedhismoralbrake,causinghimtohalthisirresponsible
upwardflightandbeginacreative,reparativedescent.Forexample,
byalludingtoAmbresinandhisfatethroughwriting,Gidemakes
reparation, assumeshisguilt, andexorcisesthecrime.Gide alsoseems
tomakereparationfortheharmhissexualcuriositydidtoMadeleine.
TothePetiteDamein1919,Gidecondemnedhimselfforhaving
basedhisownhappinessonMadeleineÕssuffering:
SeealsoPaulGreen,ÔExplainingLafcadioÕ,
DalhousieFrenchStudies
,73,2005
Winter,97Ð104,100Ð1.
Massis,ÔLÕInfluencedeM.AndrŽGideÕ,paragraph12.
Forexample,hefeltguiltatneverhavingbeencaughtandpunishedbythelaw
(Lambert,141;
RMGNotes
,45).
WriterlyCuriosity235
intowriterlyproduction/reparation.
Thisismappedoutbyacom-
mentGidemakes aboutBernardinJanuary1925:
Maissaura-t-ilsÕŽleverjusquÕˆaccepter,assumerlescontradictionsdesa
troprichenature?jusquÕˆchercher[...]ˆlesalimenter,ÐjusquÕˆcompren-
drequelÕampleurdelÕhŽsitationetlalargeurdelÕŽcartfont,pourlacorde
tendue,lapuissancedusonquÕellevarendre,etquÕellenepeutsefixer
quÕaupointmort.
ComparaisonŽgalementaveclesdeuxp™lesmagnŽtiques,entre
lesquelsfairejaillirlÕŽtincelledevie. (
,555).
TranslatingGideÕshopeintoKleinianterms,BernardcanÔassumeÕhis
guiltforphantasmaticsadismandmakethetransitionacrossÔla
largeurdelÕŽcartÕfromobsessionaldefences (
observer
)intorepar-
ativecreation (
manifester
).Creationissymbolisedinthetensestring,
evocativeofthestringofaninstrumentmakinganauthenticsound,
andtheprecariousfeatof a tight-ropewalker,whoskilfully and coura-
geouslyassumestotalresponsibilityforhis/herownsurvival.TheÔau
pointmortÕfunctionsastheÔpointlimiteÕofwhichArmandVedel
talks:ÔcettelignededŽmarcationentrelՐtreetlenon-treÕ (
,387),
whichEmileAmbresin,likeIcarus,overstepped, andwhichGidehim-
selfglimpsedbeforebraking.AnaestheticinterpretationoftheÔpoint
mortÕisthepointatwhichrealobjectsarecontrolledandsilenced
beforebeingconvertedintoart,asexemplifiedbyGideÕscommentto
hismotherfromBiskra,ÔLasdevoir,jeveuxfairevoirauxautresÕ;
andbyhisresponsetoRenŽPiotÕsquestionastowhetherheever
experiencedmomentsÔolaferveurretombeetlÕinspirationserefroi-
ditÕ:thebestwayofavoidingsuchmoments,Gidereplied,wasÔdene
commencerˆtravaillerquesuruneinspirationdŽjˆtouterefroidie.Õ
Admittedly,GideÕsrecreationofobjectscouldbetendentious.Schlumberger
236AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Thetwomagneticpolesevokethoseofthemagnetismofcuriosity:
thepositivepolepullingthesubjectinto anupwardflightofmasculine
curiosity;thenegativepolerepellingthesubjectfromahostilemother
imago.Theboltoflightningflashingbetweenthem correspondstothe
lifeinstinctthatdrivesreparation(Klein,
Writings
III
,74),theÔfeeling
thatnotallislost[,that]thepossibilityofretrievingthedisaster
remains ahopeÕ(Hinshelwood,148).
Bernardhasthepotentialtore-
solvethedepressivepositionthroughart,tobelongto,inthewordsof
HenryMiller,Ôthosewho[...]arecapableoftransformingthenegative
realityoflifeintothesubstantialandsignificantoutlinesofart[...],
thosewhocanadmitthelightintotheirgizzards[andthereby]trans-
latewhatisthereintheheartÕ.
ThisisPrometheusappropriatingthe
divinetorch asopposedtoIcarusbeingburnedbythesun.
Edouard,however,isnotpsychologicallymatureenoughto
achievethis.WhereasBernardcourageouslywrestleswiththeangel,
Edouardtooreadily abandonsthewriterÕsstruggle:
JevoudraisnÕoffriraucunfaitsansunemotivationsuffisante.CÕest
pourquoijenemeserviraipaspourmes
Faux-Monnayeurs
dusuicidedu
petitBoris;jÕaidŽjˆtropdemalˆlecomprendre.EtpuisjenÕaimepasles
ÔfaitsdiversÕ.IlsontquelquechosedepŽremptoire,dÕindŽniable,debrutal,
dÕoutrageusementrŽel...JeconsensquelarŽalitŽvienneˆlÕappuidema
pensŽe,commeunepreuve;maisnonpointquÕellelaprŽcde.IlmedŽpla”t
instinctsandridiculesourdesires.(HughMacDiarmid,ÔOnaRaisedBeachÕin
The
FaberBookofTwentieth-CenturyScottishPoetry
,ed.DouglasDunn[London:Faber
&Faber,1992],60).
Thenotion thatthe
Žtincelle
or lightningboltmakesreparation inthe internalworld
isillustratedinRobertZemeckisÕs
BacktotheFuture
(1985).Theeighteen-year-old
Marty,bornin1968andtrappedin1955,jeopardiseshisownandhissiblingsÕ
existencewhenhehimselfsubstituteshisfatherashisfuturemotherÕsobjectof
desire;thoserepresentedinthefamilyphotographhecarriesareprogressively
vanishing.Inordertoreconstitutehimselfandhisfamily,hemustsethisparentsÕ
romancebackontrack,andreturntothefuture.Returningrequiresharnessingthe
energyofalightningbolt, whichheknows willhittheclocktoweratacertaintime,to
powerhis timemachine.Thus,hemanages torestorehisfamily,or, inKleinianterms,
Ôrepair,preserveorrevivetheloved injuredobjectÕ(Klein,
Writings
,74).
Miller,
TropicofCancer
,158.
Gidewrites:ÔFairedireˆEdouard,peut-tre:LÕennui,voyez-vous,cÕestdÕavoirˆ
conditionnersespersonnages.IlsviventenmoidÕunemanirepuissante[...];mais,
dsquÕilfautlesvtir,fixerleurrangdanslÕŽchellesociale,leurcarrire, lechiffrede
leursrevenus;dssurtoutquÕilfautlesavoisiner,leurinventerdesparents,une
famille,desamis,jeplieboutiqueÕ (
,540).
WriterlyCuriosity237
dՐtresurpris.LesuicidedeBorismÕappara”tcommeune
indŽcence
,carje
nemÕyattendaispas.
EdouardÕscomplicityineventsleadingtoBorisÕsdeathincludehisdecisionnotto
objecttoSophroniskagivingBoristherapy(whichhejudgesharmful)becauseÔma
curiositŽemportait[unmouvementdeprotestation]Õ (
,306).
Theassociationcanbedrawn inGideÕswritingbetweenastumpandevidenceofan
aggressivemother imago.
Inkeepingwith theidealÔgoodÕobjecttowhichthesubjectmustmakereparation,
BorisisÔdÕunetrsgrandepuretŽÕ (
,307);healsohasafeminineappearance,
reminiscentofthatofArmandBavratel,anotheravatarofAmbresin, whoisÔaux traits
238AndrŽGideandCuriosity
TheoddsarestackedagainstEdouardinotherwaysaswell:
first,thetime-frameofthenoveldoesnotpermithimtodistance
himselfpersonallyoraestheticallyfromBorisÕssuicide,whichÔscares
[him]outofwritingÕ(Segal,
P&P
,230),ordigestitsimplications.
SucharawconfrontationwithrealityalsoincapacitatedGidetoa
significantextent.Hewaitedsomethirtyyearsbeforedepictingin
writingthesuicideofAmbresin,andeventhen,disguiseditin
numerousways.Similarly,Gideemployedanumberofdelayingtac-
ticsbeforepenninghishomagetoOscarWilde,publishedtwoyears
afterWildeÕsdeath.
Depictingsuicideintextcontinuedtodaunt
Gide:henoteson1November1924thatwritingthechapteron
OlivierÕsfailedsuicideattemptlefthimconfrontinganÔembrouille-
mentterribleÕ (
,554).Second,Durosayobservesthatthereturnof
ElieAllŽgretfromCameroonforcedGidetostopexercisinghis
writerlycuriositytowardstheAllŽgretboysandbeginwriterly
production(Durosay,445),butforEdouard,thereisnosuchmechan-
ismtoputastoptohispreparatorywriterlycuriosityÐtherewill
alwaysbetheprospectofCaloub.Third,whereasforGide,BorisÕs
suicideismodelledonanactual
faitdivers
forEdouard,itisthe
suicideofthebelovedgrandsonofaclosefriend.Thiscontrastis
neverthelessnuancedsinceEdouardchoosestotermBorisÕssuicidea
ÔÒfaitdiversÓÕ(cf.JuliusonFleurissoireÕsdeathin
LesCaves
).This
crossoversuggestsanexchangebetweenGideandEdouard,towhich
Ishallreturn.Fourth,EdouardÕspsychologicaldevelopmentisham-
peredbyhisbeingthepawnoftheimplied author. Segalwrites:
Forthecharacters[ofthe
Caves
Faux-monnayeurs
],playisdifficultto
distinguishfrom
paranoia
,andtheyarerightofcourse,becauseit
alla
dŽlicats,fins,presquejolisÕ (
,191):LaPŽrouseandSophroniskabothremarkto
Edouard thatBorisÔesttrsdŽlicatÕ(264;305).
ÔIlyaunan,ˆmmeŽpoque*,cÕestˆBiskraquejÕapprisparlesjournauxla
lamentablefindÕOscarWilde.LÕŽloignementnemepermitpas,hŽlas!demejoindre
aumaigrecortge[É]Ðdumoinslespagesquevoici,jevoulusaussit™tlesŽcrire;
maisdurantunassezlongtemps,denouveau,lenomdeWildesembladevenirla
propriŽtŽdesjournauxÉ[*EcritendŽcembredernier]Õ (
,836).GideÕsguilt
towardsWilderesultedfromWildeÕsincarcerationforpederastywhilehehimself
maintainedhisimpunitybeforethelaw(Lambert,141);andfromhisdistancing
himselffromWildeinParis,afterhisreleasefromprison(see
,853Ð54).
Hissuicideismodelledona
faitdivers
fromthe
JournaldeRouen
of5June1909,
reproducedinthe
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,559Ð60andin
Nejugezpas
WriterlyCuriosity239
Gideadmits tohavingusedAndrŽWalterinthisway,writingof
LesCahiers
:ÔcÕest
vraimentuneÏuvreposthume:DieusaittoutcequejetentaidÕyenterrerÕ(draftletter
toMadeleine,October1894,citedinMartin,
LaMaturitŽdÕAndrŽ Gide
,12).
240AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Edouard(402Ð3),andBoris,havingbeenbroughttoParisbythe
curiousEdouard,commitssuicide(463).
Ihavealreadysuggested
thatGideÕsguiltatAmbresinÕssuicidewaspartiallymotivatedbythe
satisfactionitaffordedhiscuriosity.BylinkingEdouardÕscuriosityto
suicide,Gide,throughprojection,makesafirststeptowardsacknowl-
edgingtheinjuriousconsequencesofhisownirresponsiblecuriosity.
Atthesametime,hepassestheharmfulactontoEdouard,usinghim
ÔcommedÕun[...]boucŽmissairepoursedŽbarrasserdepensŽesquile
gnentÕ(Walker,93).
InGideÕswriting,
gne
seemstobeexperiencedbythesubject
confrontedwiththeinjuredÔgoodÕobject,whichissymbolisedbyfic-
tionalavatarsofthemotherimago,includingthefeminineBoris.With
regardtothefakecoin,Edouardstates:Ô[larŽalitŽ]megneÕ (
317),andthislinkstohiscontentionthatBorisÕssuicideisÔoutra-
geusementrŽelÕ.ThisÔrŽelÕfunctionsasbothexternalandinternal
reality,
andEdouardturnshisbackonitinboththosesenses,re-
fusingtowriteonBorisÕssuicide,andrefusingtoacknowledgethat
hissadismhasinjuredtheÔgoodÕobject.Thisscotomizationissymp-
tomaticofmanicdefencestothedepressiveposition.Edouardagain
turnsawayfromtheinjuredÔgoodÕobject:athisfirstmeetingwith
Lauraonhisreturn,Lauraimploreshimtotakeheraway:ÔEdouard
Žtaitdeplusenplus
gnŽ
,273,
myitalics
);whenPaulineconfers
OlivieronEdourdandpraisesEdouardÕsgoodness,Edouardrecalls:
delavoirainsisemŽprendre,etnepouvantladŽtromper,je
voulusdumoins
dŽtourner
lÕentretiendÕunsujetquimemettaittrop
malˆlÕaiseÕ(380,
myitalics
LeRobert
Õsfirstdefinitionof
gner
is:
Ôtorturer,supplicierÕ,and,byextension,ÔfairesouffrirÕ,gesturing
towardsthedynamicoffearandaggressionthatcharacterisethe
Forinstance,EdouarddoesnotobjecttoSophroniskaÕstherapeutictreatmentof
Boris,althoughhejudgesittobeharmful (
,306).Livak,arguingthat
Ôhomosexualityandsuicideareinseparablein
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,writes:Boris
deLaPŽrouseÕssuicideis[...]ladenwithhomoeroticism.BorisarrivesintheAza•s
pensionaftertherapytargetinghismasturbationhabit.Suicideisthelastresortinhis
effort togainacceptance in theÒStrongMenÕsÓclub.He longsfortheaffectionofhis
peers,fallingprey to theirdeadlygameÕ(Livak,197).
Rycroftwrites:Ôpsychoanalysis[...]usesÒrealÓtomeaneitherobjectivelypresent
orsubjectivelysignificant.Italsoassumesthatallobjectivephenomenaoccupya
spaceexternaltothesubjectwhichiscalled
externalreality
[...],andthatimages,
throughts,phantasies,feelings,etc.,occupyaspaceinsidethesubjectwhichiscalled
internalreality
psychicalreality
Ðinternalandexternalrealitybothbeingrealmsin
whichthingsareandprocessesoccurÕ(Rycroft,152).
WriterlyCuriosity241
paranoid-schizoidposition.TheseconddefinitionrelatestoÔunegne
physiqueÕ:ÔEntraver,freiner,empcherlemouvement,lÕactiondeÕ,
andthisresonateswithEdouardÕsinabilitytowriteonBorisÕssuicide,
tohelpLaura, andtoenlighten Pauline.InKleinianterms,
gne
marks
thesubjectÕsparanoidfearofacknowledgingthedamageitsearlier
sadism(correspondingtoirresponsiblecuriosity)hasdonetothe
ÔgoodÕobject, andcripplesreparation.
GideaccompaniesEdouardforatimealongtheupward
trajectoryofobsessionaldefences(preparatorywriterlycuriosity;sex-
ualcuriosity).Hethenoffloadshis
gne
ontoEdouard: Ô
sedŽbar-
rasser
depensŽesquilegnentÕ(Walker).Next,writingEdouardoff
asÔunamateur,unratŽÕ (
,544),Gidejettisonshim.
Edouard
continuesontheupwardstrajectory,leavingGide,theprofessional,to
effecttheturnaroundfrom
observer
manifester
.Walkerillustrates
thisprocesswhenheshowshowinthemanuscriptofthe
Journaldes
Faux-Monnayeurs
,GidewritesatiradeontheÔpurromanÕ(Ôleton
tranchantsurprendchezcettrenormalementsiindŽcisÕ)before
pullinghimselfback anddecidingtomakethewordsEdouardÕs:
ÔSedŽbarrasserdequelquÕun:Žloigner,expulserun indŽsirable,[...]lefairemourir
[...].SedŽbarrasserdÕuntŽmoingnant:ŽliminerÕ (
LeRobert
242AndrŽGideandCuriosity
44).Gidesoughttosubjugatethemessoflifeinto aharmoniousform:
ÔIlmÕestbiendifficiledecroirequelapensŽelaplussaine,laplus
sageetlaplussensŽenesoitpasaussibiencellequi,projetŽedans
lÕŽcriture,donnelesligneslesplusharmonieusesetlesplusbellesÕ
,91).
ThiscorrespondstoaconvictionthatthesubjectÐ
and
sensŽe
Ðisequippedtosucceedinthestrugglereparation
demands:
Toutsetient;etpourlesÏuvresdelÕesprit,ilnÕyapasdÕaŽrolithes[...].
VŽritableprofessiondefoiquecettelettre.
HierjÕairvŽquejevolais,et[...]quejemontaistrophaut,quejene
pouvaisplusredescendre;effortsŽnormespourregagnerlaterrequÕonvoit
loinau-dessousdesoietdŽjˆpluspareilleÐangoisseÐneplusreconna”tre
lelieuquittŽÐvertige. (
,202)
ForGideÕsclassicism,seeMauriceBlanchot,ÔGideetlalittŽraturedÕexpŽrienceÕ,
LaPartdu feu
(Paris:Gallimard,1949),216Ð28.
WriterlyCuriosity243
mustputthebrakesonpreparatory-writerlycuriosityandattainthe
ÔpointmortÕbeforebeginningproduction (
,555).Thistensionis
capturedinGideÕsstrugglewithhiscreationofthecharacterLa
PŽrouse:
LesmeilleurespartiesdemonlivresontcellesdÕinventionpure.SijÕairatŽ
leportraitduvieuxLapŽrouse,cefutpourlÕavoirtroprapprochŽdelarŽa-
litŽ;jenÕaipassu,paspuperdredevuemonmodle.LerŽcitdecette
GidequalifiesPierre-QuintÕsview thatthecharactersfrom
Isabelle
areÔempruntŽs
ˆlarŽalitŽÕinalettertoR.-G.NobŽcourt:ÔJemepersuadeque,endehorsdesfaits
prŽcisconsignŽsparvousaveccertitude, tousceuxquejÕairelatŽsdans
Isabelle
sont,
departenpart,inventŽsetneprennentappuisuraucunerŽalitŽhistoriqueÕ (
Pierre-
Quint
,37;letterof4January,1948,quotedin
,1559).
QuotedbyWalker,ÔEnrelisant
LeJournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
Õ,93.Thisunder-
minesGŽrardÕsexclamation:ÔRomancier,monami,medisais-je,nousallonsdoncte
voirˆlÕÏuvre.DŽcrire!Õ (
,931).
TheepigraphtoBook1,Chapter13ofStendhalÕs
LeRougeetleNoir
is:ÔÒUn
roman:cÕestunmiroirquÕonpromnelelongdÕuncheminÓÕ(Stendhal,
LeRougeet
leNoir
,1830[Paris:Livredepoche,1983],90).
244AndrŽGideandCuriosity
GideÐappliesevenlightinganddisplaysprivilegedknowledgeofhis
characters.Consequently:Ôˆpeineai-jesentina”tremacuriositŽ
quÕelleestcomblŽeau-delˆdetoutemesureÕ.
TheresultisaÔlivre
immobileÕ(Sartre,34),theoppositeofRivireÕs
romandÕaventure
which,inÔparfaiteactivitŽÕ,radiatesÔcettecuriositŽlibreÕ (
Rivire
,75).SartrechampionsDostoyevskyÕsaestheticforeliciting
curiosityinthereader:hisapparentlyautonomouscharactersaresur-
roundedbyÔfiguresdensesetsecrtesdontlesens,ˆchaquepage,ežt
ŽtŽsurlepointdeselivrer,mÕežtŽchappŽÕ(Sartre,47).
SartreÕspraiseofDostoyevskywasundoubtedlyinfluenced
byGideÕs
Dosto•evski
lectures(1923),andGideÕsrepresentationof
DostoyevskyÕsaesthetichasmuchincommonwithhisown.
Dos-
toyevskyproducescompositionsthataredense,darkintriguingknots
bytakingobservationsfromeverydaylifeandprocessingthem
throughhis Ô
chambreobscure
Õ.GidecitesNiezsche:ÔÒUnpsycho-
loguedenaissancesegardeparinstinctderegarderpourvoir;ilenest
demmepourlepeintredenaissance.IlnetravaillejamaisdÕaprsla
nature,ÐilsÕenremetˆsoninspiration,ˆ
sachambreobscure
,pour
tamiser,pourexprimerleÒcasÓ,la ÒnatureÓ,laÒchosevŽcueÓ...Õ (
596).Gide continues:
Dosto•evskinÕobservejamaispourobserver.LÕÏuvrechezluinena”tpoint
delÕobservationdurŽel;oudumoinsellenena”tpasrienquedecela.Elle
nena”tpointnonplusdÕuneidŽeprŽconue,etcÕestpourquoiellenÕesten
rienthŽorique, maisresteimmergŽedans lerŽel;ellena”tdÕunerencontrede
Sartre,
Situations
,1939(Paris:Gallimard,1947),47.
BothGideandDostoyevsky,inGideÕspresentationofhim,reflectontheirown
aesthetic(Dostoyevskywrote
AWriterÕsDiary
[1873Ð76],Gide,the
Journaldes
Faux-Monnayeurs
),andontheirownnature:DostoyevskyÕscharactersarecutfrom
hisowncloth (
,590),GideÕsfromhisownflesh (
,551);bothusecharactersto
communicateideas (
,557;
,522),andemploydoubles,inGideÕscase,
miseen
abyme
doubles (
,602;
,544).LikeRembrandt,bothexploitlightandshadow
,597,598,599;
,530).Theyarebothconcernedwithelicitingcuriosityin
readers,assuggestedbytheircreationofÔautonomousÕcharactersÔenformationÕ,in
anÔŽtatlarvaireÕorofÔinconsŽquenceÕ (
,556,559,601,606,607;
,552,237,
118).OlivierÕsmotivationforsuicideissimilartothatofDostoyevskyÕscharacter,
Karamazov, who,Bernard tells Olivier,killshimselfbecauseoftoogreataloveoflife
,639;
,403Ð4). DostoyevskyÕscharacterStavrogin wascurioustowardsthegirl
MatriochaÕssuicide,andGidewasvery interestedinthisstory(seeCh.3
supra
WriterlyCuriosity245
,596Ð97.Cf.BernardÕssuggestionthatwithÔunfaitbienexposŽ,lÕidŽevien-
draitlÕhabiterdÕelle-mmeÕ (
,317).
NicholasWroe,ÔKazuoIshiguro:LivingmemoriesÕ,
SaturdayReview
Guardian
,19February2005,20Ð23,22.
ThisisanapproximationofaquotationfromAlbertThibaudetgiventoGideby
MartinduGard.Inansimilarway,Edouardseekstotranscendrealityrather thanshy
awayfromit,liketheSymbolists,orclingtoit,liketherealists (
,311),andto
presentinliteraturefuturepossibilitiesratherthanreality itself (
,258).
246AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ÔJesuistrsparticulirementprŽoccupŽdecettepartdelÕirrŽel(quecelaest
difficileˆexprimer![...]),delapartdufantastique.Non,cenÕestpaslemot;
dumystre;nonplus...Pourmoi,unartistedoitdŽpayser;oui,ledŽpayse-
ment,cÕestbiencela.IldoitavoirunCosmosˆ lui.Õ (
CPD
,75Ð76)
HistoricalmaterialisonlyfitforfictionwhenitisÔsortidelavieÕand
convertedintoÔunsujetdÕexpŽrienceÕ.
Likethis,itscuriositycannot
tarnish.
HarukiMurakamicommentsofKazuoIshiguroÕsbooks:Ôtheplacecouldbe
anywhere,thecharactercouldbeanybodyand thetimecouldbeany time.Everything
supposedtoberealcouldbeunreal,andviceversa.Õ(NicholasWroe,ÔKazuo
Ishiguro:LivingmemoriesÕ,23).
In1889,Gidewasalreadyconstructingaprojectforamodernistnovel:ÔCeserait
unrŽalismedÕuntoutautregenreencesensquelesujetseraitabsolumentsortide la
viepourdevenirunsujetdÕexpŽrienceÕ (
,60).
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary
TheKaleidoscope
IntheIntroductionIusedtheimageofthecanaryin
Silegrain
representcuriosity,itsmagnetism,itsattractiveness,anditsimpor-
tancetoGideÕswriterlyvocation.Ishallconcludewiththeimageof
AndrŽÕskaleidoscope,whichfunctionsasametaphorforsexual,sci-
entific andwriterlycuriosityinGideÕs
Ïuvre
, aswell aswriterlycraft.
Thenarratorrecalls:
Unautrejeudontjeraffolais,cÕestcetinstrumentdemerveillesquÕon
Significantly, thenarratortermsthisaÔthm[e]dÕexcitationsexuelleÕandnotsimply
ÔsensuelleÕ.
248AndrŽGideandCuriosity
turningofthekaleidoscopeshowsthechildinpursuitofsensual
gratificationthroughcolour.
Similarly,heisextremelyexcitedbythe
prospectofgettingtodressupforthefancydressball,becauseofÔle
plaisir[...]dՐtreencouleur,dՐtrebrillant,dՐtrebaroqueÕ (
,134).
Nolongerconfinedtomerelylookingatthecoloursfromadistance
(thecoloursareÔemprisonnŽesentredeuxvitrestranslucides[
...]dans
lÕextrŽmitŽopposŽeˆcelledelÕÏilÕ),AndrŽcanstepinsidethekalei-
doscopeandbeacolourhimselfalongsideotherchildren-colours,
parallelingGideÕsadulttendencytomovefromvoyeurismtocontact.
Fourofthegleamingtranslucentpiecesofglass(ÔunrubisclairÕ,Ôun
grenattrssombreÕ,Ôunetopaz[...]ettroispetitsdŽbrismordorŽsÕ)
arebrown,red,oryellowincolour andthislinks alsotoAndrŽÕs adult
sexuality:ÔjesuisattirŽparcequirestedesoleilsurlespeauxbrunesÕ
,283);ÔMŽriemŽtaitdepeauambrŽeÕ(285).
AndrŽisÔŽblouiÕby
thekaleidoscope,recallingGideÕsfetishisticresponsetoblackorArab
skinsreflectingthesun.
Atthesametime,scientificcuriositytakesAndrŽbeyond
dazzlementtocriticalobservation,investigationandintervention.
AndrŽexhibitsapreciseeyefordetail(soprecisethattheolder
narratorcanstillvividlyrecallthecolourandshapesoftheglass
pieces),thepatiencetoexamineslow,gradualdevelopmentsand
awaitthere-appearanceofglasspiecesthathavemagicallyescaped
behindthemirrors,andanappreciationoftheimpactofthosesubtle
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary249
changes.AndrŽÕsintrigueissuchthathedismantlesthetoy andlearns
howitworks.
ThechildÕsscientificcuriositytowardsthekaleidoscope
parallelstheadultGideÕswriterlycuriositytowardshisyoungerself
insidethehermetictextualenvironment.AndrŽ,liketheruby,isthe
solefragmentnevertowhollydisappearfromthe autobiographyÕsvis-
ualfield (
,83).TheÔtoujourschangeanterosaceÕemphasisesby
associationAndrŽÕschildhooddevelopmentfromanÔŽtatlarvaireÕ.
Themirrorsinsidethekaleidoscopeevokethedeviceof
miseen
abyme
,whichisdescribedbyGouletasfunctioning:Ôcommeune
sourcelumineuseinterneˆlafiction,concentrantlesrayonset
ŽclairantlesmotifsÕ (
,70).ThekaleidoscopeÕssometimesco-
herent,othertimesdistorted andfragmentedpatterns correspondtothe
writerÕsautobiographical andfictional avatars.Thetakingapartofthe
kaleidoscopetodiscoverÔlepourquoiduplaisirÕisamirrorimageof
theprocessinthe
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,whereGideshows
howhecreatesfictionalpleasurebyexposingcertainmechanismsof
hiscraft.
IncontrasttotheimageofbrokentoyselsewhereinGide,
AndrŽdoesnotbreakthekaleidoscope,but,likeagoodÔrecon-
structeurdurŽelÕ (
,595),takesitapartandrebuildsitwithcurious
objectshehashappenedupon.ThismirrorsGideÕsPromethean
writerlyproject,andtheitemsAndrŽinsertsgesturetowardsthis:
writingissymbolisedbytheÔbecdeplumeÕ;Prometheanflightbythe
ÔailedemoucheÕ;thedivineflamebytheÔboutdÕallumetteÕ;the
motherimago,restoredthroughwritingandgrowingagain,bythe
ÔbrindÕherbeÕ.
AndrŽspendshoursonendplayingwiththekaleido-
scope;itis,likewriting,anobjectoflastingcuriosity.In
LesFaux-
Monnayeurs
,Edouardobservesdespairingly:ÔToutsetientetjesens,
entretouslesfaitsquemÕoffrelavie,desdŽpendancessisubtilesquÕil
mesembletoujoursquÕonnÕensauraitchangerunseulsansmodifier
toutlÕensembleÕ (
,238).ThechildAndrŽ,bycontrast,engages
enthusiasticallywithÔdesconsŽquencesbouleversantesÕthatone
tweakofthekaleidoscopeprecipitates,suggestingfuturewriterly
success.
,116,304;
,984.
Gardensandplantscanevokethemother imagoinGide,assuggestedbythenames
ofgoodgovernesses,mothersandaunts(seep.159
supra
);andthefemininepilgrim,
AmŽdŽeFleurissoire,whoisflungfromthetrain in
LesCaves
250AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Baudelairecomparesthecuriousartist,ConstantinGuys,to
Ôunmiroiraussiimmensequecettefoule;ˆunkalŽidoscopedouŽde
conscience,qui,ˆchacundesesmouvements,reprŽsentelaviemulti-
pleetlagr‰cemouvantedetouslesŽlŽmentsdelavie.Õ
Asamirror,
heisamongstthecolouredglasspieces,reflectingthem;asaÔconsci-
enceÕ,heisintheprivilegedpositionoftheobservingartist.Byday
Guysrubsshoulderswiththecrowds;bynighthepaints:
Etleschosesrenaissentsurlepapier,[É]singuliresetdouŽesdÕunevie
enthousiastecommelÕ‰mede lÕauteur.LafantasmagorieaŽtŽextraitedela
nature.TouslesmatŽriauxdontlamŽmoiresÕestencombrŽeseclassent,se
Baudelaire,
CuriositŽesthŽtiques
,464.
InÔTheDevelopmentofaChildÕ,Kleinrelateshowtheepistemophilicinhibitionsof
hersonÔFritzÕweresuddenlyovercomewhenhewasfour-and-a-half.Hiscuriosity
soonfocusedonthemother:ÔAboutthistimeheexpressedacuriositytoseehis
motherquitenaked.Immediatelyafterwardsheremarked,ÒIwouldliketoseeyour
stomachtooandthepicturethatis inyourstomach.ÓToherquestion,ÒDoyoumean
theplaceinsidewhichyouwere?Ó,hereplied,ÒYes!Iwouldliketolookinsideyour
stomachÕ.Somewhatlaterheremarked,ÔIamverycurious,Iwouldliketoknow
everything intheworldÕ (
Writings
,33).
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary251
thirty-fiveandforty-sixyearsrespectivelybeforewritingofthem.In
bothcases,themalewitnessesareadmonished:theyoungdoctorin
Jeunesse
isÔungaronpresqueaussijeunequemoi,inexpŽrimentŽÕ
,725);afterJeanneÕsstillbirth,thedoctortellsGide:ÔÒNous
sommesdesassassinsÓÕ (
,1073),butGide,inalettertoValŽryat
thetimewrote:Ôdureste,lepetitŽtaitmortavantlÕopŽration,tuŽpar
lesvainseffortsdelamreÕ (
CorrGideÐValŽry
,634).InKleinian
thought,theseeventsareprooftoGideÕsunconsciousthatthemother
imagoanditscontentscanirreparablyharmtheinfantforitsearlier
phantasmaticsadism.Hence,inhisnightmare,AndrŽWalterdisco-
versunderthefemaleÕsskirtÔrienÕ;
Marcelinemiscarries;
inher
blackhole,transposedtotheblackholesofhernostrils,Michelfinds
horrorandemptiness;
MicheldescribesthecontentsofMarcelineÕs
jewelleryboxasworthlesstrinkets (
,659);
avatarsofLaRoque,
JulietteGideÕsancestralhome,lieemptyandabandoned (
,252,
915);whenGŽrarddiscoverstheÔviesecrteÕofIsabelle,itturnsout
tojusthavebeenanÔillusionpathŽtiqueÕ:Ôsubitementincurieuxdesa
personneetdesavie,jerestaisdevantelle commeunenfantdevantun
jouetquÕil a brisŽpourendŽcouvrirlemystreÕ (
,984).
Massonwrites:ÔLamort,cÕestdoncpourluilecontrairedelavue,cÕestlorsquele
mondesedŽrobe,sansqueriendÕautreneselaissepressentiraudelˆÕ(Masson,ÔGide
etlamortsurmontŽeÕ,165).
On learningofMarcelineÕsmiscarriage,MichelrecallsthatÔdevantmoinÕŽtaitplus
quÕuntrouvideojetrŽbuchaistoutentierÕ (
,659).Cf.thechasm intowhichAndrŽ
plungesonthedeathofhismother.
SegaldiscusseshowafterMarcelineÕsmiscarriage,herÔillnessÕmovesfromher
lowertoherupperbody,infectedbytuberculosis (
P&P
,178,184),andthiscorres-
pondstotheholesofvaginaandnostrils,normallylife-giving(child-birthand
breathing),butherefatal.Inthenight-coachduringMarcelineÕscoughingfit,the
252AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Theprototypeforthisreactionoccursinthemarblescenein
Silegrain
.ThesceneÕsimportanceisunderlinedinMarcAllŽgretÕs
1951documentaryofGide,whenGidehimselfreadsitaloud.The
introductoryvoiceoversays:ÔDutempsdesesvacancesˆUzs,Gide
rapporteunehistoiredanslaquellenouspouvonsdŽjˆdiscernerchez
lÕenfantquÕilaŽtŽalorslegermedecequideviendraplustardcette
ferveur[...]Õ (
AvecAndrŽGide
,23.40Ð23.51).ThechildAndrŽ,holi-
daying atthehomeofhispaternalfamilyinMontpellier,spiesthrough
aholeanobjecttrappedinsidethethickcupboarddoorandlearns
fromthemaidthatitisamarblehisfatherinsertedthereasachild.
Hisdesiretopossessthismarbleissuchthathe awaitshissubsequent
visittothehouse andthegrowthofhisfingernailto a sufficientlength
forscoopingthelongsought-aftermarbleoutofthehole.Theaction
issuccessful,but:
Jerestaiquelquesinstantsdevantlaporte,contemplantdanslecreuxde
manmaincettebillegrise,dŽsormaispareilleˆtouteslesbilles,etqui
nÕavaitplusaucunintŽrtdslÕinstantquÕellenÕŽtaitplusdanssong”te.Je
mesentistoutbte,toutpenaud,pouravoirvoulufairelemalinÉEnrou-
gissant,jefisretomber labilledansletrou(elleyestprobablementencore)
pousseunenfantˆbrisersonplusbeaujouetÕ (
,304).Theimplicationseemstobe
thatsexualcuriositycanreachsuchasadisticpitchthatitdestroystheobjectand
strips itofitsattraction.
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary253
MargaretAtwoodÕscuriousheroinein
CatÕsEye
AndrŽÕs
compulsiontofindtheUzsmarblematchesinintensityhisterrorof
losinganeyeballwhenheispunched (
,137).
InFreudÕsÔThe
UncannyÕ,themale childÕs acutefearoflosinghiseyesisÔasubstitute
forthedreadofbeingcastrated.Theself-blindingofthemythical
criminal,Îdipus,wassimplyamitigatedformofthepunishmentof
castrationÐtheonlypunishmentthatwasadequateforhimbythe
lex
PFL
XIV
,352).AndrŽÕsblushingÐonthefaceofthings,
mysterious,sinceheisaloneÐseemstoindicatehisawarenessona
phantasmaticlevelthatscoopingthemarbleoutoftheholewitha
longfingernailisakintopenetratingthemotherÕsbodytotakean
objectfromit.Wemayremarkthattheholeinthedoorisanotch
createdby a brokenoffbranchontheoriginalwood;inGide,trees are
connectedtomaternalfigures (
,157);ÔnotchÕinEnglishisan
oldslangtermforvagina (
).Further,themaidtellsthechildthat
themarbleatthebottomoftheholewasslippedtherebyhisfather;
whenAndrŽeventuallygrowshisfinger-naillongenoughtogetthe
marbleoutofthehole,connotationsofejaculationareinthe
descriptionÐÔunebrusquesecousse,etlabillejaillitdansmamainÕ
,114)Ð,
jaillir
normallybeingusedinthe contextofliquid.AndrŽÕs
replacementofthemarbleandcuttingofhisfingernailmaybe
interpretedasrestoration(ofanobjectsymbolicofaneye) andaself-
inflictedcastration,punishmentforÎdipaldesireandKleinianenvy
(ofoneofthemotherÕsobjects).
Thisphantasycanalsobeappliedtotheinstancein
LaPorte
Žtroite
whenJŽr™mepicksupLucileBucolinÕsbooktoreturnittoher:
Souventelletenaitunlivre,maisunlivrepresquetoujoursfermŽ;dansle
livre,uneliseusedÕŽcaillerestaitpriseentrelesfeuillets.[É]Souvent,desa
mainounŽgligenteoufatiguŽe,de lÕappuidusofa,dÕunreplidesajupe, le
254AndrŽGideandCuriosity
LucileÕssexualactivityissuggestedbythetortoiseshellbookmark
constantlybetweenthepages;
thebookpossiblyfallsÔdÕunreplide
sajupeÕ,andlandsopen,aligningittoSartreÕsdescriptionofanopen
bookintermsoffemalegenitals:ÔQuelquefoisjemÕapprochaispour
observercesbo”tesquisefendaientcommedeshu”tresetjedŽcou-
vraislanuditŽdeleursorganesintŽrieurs,desfeuillesblmesetmoi-
sies,lŽgrementboursouflŽes,couvertesdeveinulesnoires,quibu-
vaientlÕencreetsentaientlechampignonÕ.
TheboyÕsdesiretopick
upthebookbetrayshisdesiring-sexualcuriositytowardsanobject
frominsidethefemalebody(thecomment,ÔunsouvenirdÕenfantÕ,
apparentlyintendedtoputusoffthisscent).Similarly,thenarratorÕs
precisedescriptionoftheperfumesofLucileÕshandkerchief,which,
likeherbook,usedtodropÔdÕunreplidesajupeÕ,showsthatJŽr™me
musthavesniffeditatleastonce (
,815).Thisgestureisparalleled
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
whenArmandisovercomebyÔuneindicible
ŽmotionÕdirectlybeforenoticingandthenkissingthehandkerchief
stainedwiththebloodofhissisterÕsvirginity (
,401).
LÕImmoraliste
,thereisanotherparalleltoAndrŽtakingthe
marblefromthehole,exceptthistimeitisnotone,butaseriesof
balls,orratherbeads,intheformofMarcelineÕsrosary.Ather
request,Michelgoesthroughherjewellerybox:Ôilestpleinderubans,
dechiffons,depetitsbijouxsansvaleur;Ðqueveut-elle?JÕapporte
prsdulitlaboite;jesorsunˆunchaqueobjetÕ.Attherosarybeads,
shenods:
ÔTucrainsdoncquejenetesoignepasassez?Õ[É]
Jeprendslechapeletetleglissedanssamainaffaiblie[É].Unregard
ForadiscussionoftheassociationinmodernartbetweentheÔprivateviceÕof
femalemasturbationandÔprivatereadingÕ,seeThomasLaqueur,
SolitarySex:A
CulturalHistoryofMasturbation
(London:MITPress,2003),306and339Ð55.
Jean-PaulSartre,
LesMots
(Paris:Gallimard,1964),35Ð36.ClawdiaChauchatof
TheMagicMountain
displaysattributessimilarlytroublingtotheyoungmale
onlooker:in theX-raywaitingroomHansCastorpwatcheshowsheleansback inher
chair,gazesintospace,holdsinherlapalibrarybook(nodoubtalreadyfingeredby
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary255
ÐÔAdieuÕ, luidis-jeÐetjequitte lachambre,hostile,etcommesi
lÕonmÕenavaitchassŽ. (
,660)
AgaintheÔgneÕinthefaceoftheinjuredÔgoodÕobject,thehostile
turningawayfromtheaction,andthesealingofitinsilence.The
hostility andpersecutioncomplex(ÔcommesilÕonmÕen avait chassŽÕ)
thataccompanyMichelÕsviolentexitfromthebedroomcorrespondto
theparanoid-schizoidposition.
TheÔgoodÕobjectherehasbeen
harmedirreparablyÐMichelwillnotcureMarceline,andthisis
confirmedbythescenedirectlyafterwards.ThistimetheobjectÐa
bloodclotÐisnoteventakenfromitshole,andthespacethat
containsit,MarcelineÕsbody,likethemotherimagoaftertheinfantÕs
sadistic attacks,isconsideredirredeemablydamaged:
TheactisexplicitlymotivatedbyMichelÕsjealousyofandangeratMarcelineÕs
Catholicfaith,whichherefuses tobelievehadanypartinhisownrecovery.
GideÕsconviction thatMichelcouldneverbeawriterisconfirmedhereinKleinian
terms: thereisnoglimmerofhopeforreparation; theÔgoodÕobjectiscondemned.
BeforeMarcelineÕsmiscarriage,Michel isalreadyassociatingillnesswithphysical
damage:inthecontextofhisguestsinPariswhoaredisrespectfulofhishome,
leavingcigaretteburns,spillingalcoholandmarkingthecouch,thenarratorcom-
ments,ÔMeubles,Žtoffes,estampes,ˆlapremiretacheperdaientpourmoitoute
valeur;chosestachŽes,chosesatteintesdemaladieetcommedŽsignŽesparlamortÕ
,651Ð52).ÔAb”merÕanditscognatesmaybeassociatedwiththedamagedmother
imago.WhenAndrŽÕsmotherdies,AndrŽÕsphantasmaticresponseistofeelhis
mother imagoÐbound tohisexternalmotherÐplummet:ÔjesentissÕab”mer toutmon
tredansungouffreÕ (
,326).TheillnessinhabitsMarceline,fillingtheholeinher
lungs;mourninggivesAndrŽthesensationofplungingintoahole.
AchildisalsoreferredtoderogativelyasÔcelaÕbyAmŽliein
LaSymphonie
pastorale
whenthepastorreturnswithGertrude:ÔÒQuÕest-cequetuaslÕintentionde
256AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Quandlematinvint:ÔFaitesdispara”trecelaÕ,dis-jena•vementˆlafemme
dujardinirelorsquÕellevintenfinvoirÔolÕonenŽtaitÕ.Est-cequeje
pouvaissupposerquecesdŽbrisinformes,quejedŽsignaisenmÕen
dŽtournantavecdŽgožt,est-cequejepouvaissupposerquÕauxyeuxde
lÕEgliseilsreprŽsentaientdŽjˆlՐtrehumainetsacrŽquÕilssÕapprtaientˆ
revtir?[É]Quellenefutpasmastupeur,quelquesheuresplustard,
lorsquejerevis
cela
,qui,pourmoi,nÕavaitdŽjˆÔplusdenomdansaucune
langueÕ,nettoyŽ,parŽ,enrubannŽ,couchŽdansunpetitberceauenattendant
lamiseautombeaurituelle.Personne,heureusement,nesÕŽtaitrendu
comptedusacrilgequejÕavaisŽtŽsurlepointdecommettre,quejÕavais
commisenpensŽe,lorsquejÕavaisdit:ÔFaitesdispara”trecela.ÕOui,fort
heureusementcetordreinconsidŽrŽnÕavaitŽtŽentendudepersonne.Etje
demeuraislongtempsencontemplationdevant
cela;
[É]devantceschairs
innocentes,que,si jÕavaisŽtŽseul,cŽdantˆuneimpulsionpremire,jÕaurais
jetŽessurun tasdefumierprsdudŽlivre,[É]Jenefispartˆpersonnede
cequejepusŽprouveralors,decequejeraconteici.[É]Ilasatombeˆ
Cuverville,danscecimetireo jeneveuxpasretourner. (
,1073Ð74)
GideÕscompulsiontodisposeoftheinfantÕsbodyechoesAndrŽÕs
returningofthemarbletoitshole.LikeGidewhoneverreturnedto
thecemetery(excepttobeburied),AndrŽnevergoesbacktothehole
containingthemarble:Ô(elleyestprobablementencore)Õ,comments
thenarrator (
,114). Forreparation, a newkindofmotherimagomust
be conceived.
ReconfiguringtheSiteofReparation
AndrŽÕsgestureofreturningthemarbletoitsholeandcuttinghis
fingernailmarksarenunciationoffuturecuriousforaysintodark
holes.Gide,Herbarttellsus,wasterrifiedofdisappointment(ÔleSŽ-
same,ouvre-toidecettre?JecroislÕavoirtrouvŽ.CÕestlapeurde
dŽcevoiretdՐtredŽu,lapeurdՐtreledŽu-dŽcevantÕ[Herbart,26]),
sohenceforth,curiositywillbedirectedawayfromthemotherimago
towardsmoresatisfying,lessembarrassingandlessterrifyingobjects
tobeconductedthroughapromiscuousengagementwithsurfaces.
Thismodeisillustratedbytheepigraphin
LesFaux-Monnayeurs
:ÔJe
suischoselŽgreetvoleˆtoutsujet,/JevaisdefleurenfleuretdÕob-
jetenobjetÕ (
,368);byGideÕsresponsetoMartinduGard,when,
atareadingof a draftof
Silegrain
,MartinduGardsuggestedtoGide
thathewasdodgingthemostfundamental:ÔÒOui,ouiÉJevois
fairedea?ÓÕ (
,7);andbyMichelin
LÕImmoraliste
,whenMarcelinebringshima
child:ÔVraiment,vais-jemÕintŽresserˆcela?Õ (
,606).
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary257
bienÉ[É]JÕaiescamotŽlefond,nÕest-cepasÉÓÕ (
RMGNotes
,27);
byMartinduGardÕscommenttoGideintheircorrespondencethatÔle
fond,lÕimportantnÕestquÕŽbauchŽÕ (
RMGCorr
,158); andbyMartin
duGardÕsinsertionintohis
NotessurAndrŽGide
:ÔSainte-Beuvedit
Masson, Ô
Isabelle
,ou lÕadieuauparadisÕ,357.
ÔInchildanalysiswegenerallycomeacross theideaofthepenisasaÒmagic
wandÓÕ(Klein,
Writings
,243).
258AndrŽGideandCuriosity
imagoÐabenignimagothistime,whichpermitscuriosity,isnot
damagedbyit,andleavesthesubjectwithoutfearofretributionor
shame.Bylettinginoutsidelight,thekaleidoscopeallowsthesubject
toseebeyond (
passeroutre
,continuetobecurious),incontrasttothe
dark,closed, andterrifyingspaceofthemotherÕsbody,symbolisedby
PandoraÕsboxortheholeinthefloor.Objectsoncefrighteningwhen
linkedtotheconventionalmotherimagoarerenderedanodynebythe
kaleidoscope:incontrasttotheworthlessyettroublingtrinketsin
MarcelineÕsjewellerybox(whichincludeherrosarybeads),the
ÔverroteriesÕinAndrŽÕskaleidoscopearedescribedaspreciousstones
thattheboyiseagertoadmire,touchandaddto:rubies,garnets,
emeralds,topaz,sapphire.
InananthropologicalstudyofthesymbolismoftheRainbow
SnakeinAustralianAboriginalmythology,ChrisKnightcomesup
with a similarstructurewhenhesuggeststhattheRainbow SnakeisÔa
morebenevolentmale-controlledsymbolicsubstituteÕtoÔtheoriginal
womb[,which]isdepictedtotheuninitiatedashavingbeenamon-
strous,cannibalisticMotherorSnakealwaysthirstyforblood.
SnakeisÔparadoxicaltothecoreÕ(243),ÔÒmasculinefemininityÓand
ÒfemininemasculinityÓÕexpressingitsessence(255).
Similarly,for
Gide,thekaleidoscopeis a siteofreconciliationforhiscontradictions,
cruciallybetweenamasculinecuriositythatveersawayfromthe
motherimago, and areparativecuriositythatisdirectedtowardsit.
ChrisKnight,ÔMenstrualSynchronyandtheAustralianRainbowSnakeÕin
Blood
Magic
,ed.Buckley,Thomas,andAlmaGottlieb(London:UniversityofCalifornia
Press,1988),232Ð56,250.
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary259
ForthechildAndrŽ,thekaleidoscopeisthesiteofthissafe
masculinemotherimago;forthe adultGide,whosework andlifewere
framedbyhiswriterlyvocation,thatsitebecamethelibrary.
There,
Gidemadereparationthroughwriting;theretoo,heexercisedhiscu-
riosity,sinceforhim,readingisunderstoodasadiscoveryofsecrets
(Ôcesecret[quetelgrandpote]meconfieÕ;thepoetÕsÔintentionsŽ-
crteÕ[
,1072]).Otherwritersgenderthelibraryfeminine:Anzieu
imaginesalibraryasavagina (
Contesˆrebours
,11);Klein,follow-
ingStrachey,understandsreadingbooksasaphantasmaticrobbingof
themotherÕsbody (
Writings
,241);Sartrerecognisesbothgendersin
thelibrary,aplacewherebookswiththeirphallicverticalspinessplit
intovagina-likeopenbooks(Sartre,
LesMots
,35Ð36).YetinGidethe
libraryisunambiguouslymasculine:in
Silegrain
,itisthedomainof
thefather,andwhenAndrŽÕsmotherwantstotakepartinthereading
ofJob,theeventtakesplacenotinthelibrary,Ômaisdansunpetit
salonolÕonsesentaitchezelleplusspŽcialementÕ (
,85Ð86).
This
suggeststhatGidehassetaboutexcisingthefemininefromtheli-
brary,asheexcisesitinnumerousotherinstancesdetailedinSegalÕs
chapter,ÔMaleChainsÕ:
Themale-malepairtends tobeextendedintoachainmodelledonthestruc-
tureofpederasticdesire.ÔIamverycurioustoknowCaloubÕarethelast
wordsof
LesFaux-monnayeurs
;spokeninEdouardÕsvoice,theypointthe
wayoutbeyondthesexual-epistemologicalcoupletoalineofpossibilities
continuingintimeandspace.Thisisthemalechain. (
P&P
,169)
Onefundamentalmotiveofthemalechain is[É]thewishtocreatesucha
stronggenealogyofthemasculineprinciplethatafluidsystemofrepro-
ductioncansurvivewithoutthenecessityofsexualdimorphism.Mostof
oursocialinstitutionsrepresentthispatriarchalfantasy:fathertoson,mason
[242];thechildaddsitsownobjectstothekaleidoscope),andsymbolicofcyclicity
(ÔÒTheSnakeÓinoneofitsaspectsconnotes
cyclicaltime
Õ[244];thechildturnsone
endofthekaleidoscope).
AndreaGouletremarksontheimportanceofthelibraryinearlydetectivefiction
260AndrŽGideandCuriosity
orpriesttodisciple,SocratestoPlato,officertoman.InGidewefindit
translatedmostoftenintofamilialornarratologicalterms.(189)
SoforMichelin
LÕImmoraliste
,Ôthewilltolifeandmasculinityare
coextensiveand[É]theaggressionthroughwhichtheyareimagined
isdirectedagainstsomethingfemininewhichhastobeexcisedÐthe
enemywithin,badblood,weaknessÕ(173).Thismayalsobeapplied
toGide,whosemasculine,life-affirmingPrometheancuriosityexpels
allelementsassociatedwithPandora.Gideattemptstoforgemale-
malereproduction:
InacuriouslyrevealingphraseCorydondescribestheprivilegedfunctionof
thewifeofapederasticwarriorasÔgivinghimbeautifulchildrenÕ [
,137].
IfMarcelineÕsfirstduty is tobringchildren toMichel,hersecondwillbeto
disappear.(177Ð78)
Marcelinegestates,butitisBocagewhounexpectedlyproducesason.
P&P
,179)
KatherineBrownDowneyremarksonhowin
Gideemphasises
thebiblicalmetaphorusedofamalehomosexualunionforthelove
betweenmanandGod,exemplifiedintheBibleby,forexample,Ôthe
absenceofthefemale[...]intheoriginalprocreativeÕ(i.e.AdamÕs
birth) (
PerverseMidrash
,142Ð43).Afurtherinstanceofthemale
chainrelatesdirectlytoGideÕslibrary:inSpring1946Gidewastrav-
ellinginEgyptwithRobertLevesque.Levesque,GideÕssometime
cruisingpartner,affectionatelycalledbyGideÔmonpetitÕ,hadjust
learnedofthedeathofhismotherwhenGidetoldhimofhisplanto
bequeathhimtheVaneaulibrary.
AlanSheridancitesinEnglishan
excerptfromLevesqueÕsunpublisheddiary:
Inmywill,IhaveleftyoutherueVaneauapartmentandeverythinginit.I
thoughtitwouldbeniceforyoutoownalibraryandthattheapartment
wouldbeusefulforyouandyourbrothers...IcanÕtbearthe ideathatCath-
SegalfurtherdevelopsthemalechaininrelationtoGideÕsÔfantasyofgenealogy
withoutheterosexualityÕ,inÔAndrŽGideandtheMakingofthePerfectChildÕ,in
FromGoethetoGide:Feminism,AestheticsandtheFrenchandGermanLiterary
Canon,17701936
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary261
erineÕsfiancŽ,aCommunist,willinheritanythingofmine.TheParty would
putitshandoneverything.
ThesegesturescorrespondtoGideÕsfantasyofmalereproductionas
suggestedbythenotionofthemotherimagoin amasculinespace(the
library).Byremovingthefeminine,Gidereleaseshimselffromthe
traumaoftheretaliatory,malevolentmotherimago,ofwhichfemale
reproduction andpotentialstillbirth areindicative.
Toreinforcethisfantasy,Gidemustalsoexcisewomanfrom
hisownbirth.ItisthemotherÕsreproductivepowerthatmakesthe
Kleinianmotherimagotheprimalobjectofcuriosity,sadismand
reparation:LittleÔFritzÕwantstolookinsidehismotherÕsstomachto
seetheplacehecamefrom,andÔÒwhetherthereisnÕtachildÓÕthere
now(Klein,
Writings
,33).Devaluingherreproductivepowerdeval-
uesherpowerasprimalobjectofcuriositytoo.Gidedevaluesnormal
birthin
Printemps
byshowingtheawakeningoftheadolescenttobe
infinitelyricher:ÔJecroisquelepetitenfant,pourquitoutestneuf,ne
sÕŽtonnepasbeaucoupdesmiracles.Leprintempsdelaviecommence
aveclÕadolescenceÕ (
,886).In
Silegrain
,AndrŽisbornoftheli-
brarywombwhenhereadsHeineinthefatherÕslibraryagedsixteen:
ÔmaisvoiciquejenaisˆlavieÕ (
,215).HeislaterbornofProme-
theancuriosity(travel,homosexualityandadventure):withthe advent
ofspringtimeinBiskra,thenarratorrecallsÔilmesemblaitquepourla
premirefoisjevivais,sortidelavallŽedelÕombredelamort,queje
naissais ˆ lavraievieÕ (
,288).Asimilarbirthis chartedin
LesNour-
rituresterrestres
ObscuresopŽrationsdelՐtre;travail latent,gensesdÕinconnu,parturitions
AlanSheridan,
AndrŽGide,ALifeinthePresent
(London:Penguin,1998),578.
GidealteredthisplanwhenCatherinebrokeoffherengagementwithLodzand
decidedtomarryinsteadGideÕsnewliteraryprotŽgŽ,JeanLambert(seeentryof15
July1946in
RMGCorr
).TheoriginalFrenchversionismissingfromthe
reproductionofLevesqueÕs
Journal
,and,attherequestofCatherineGide,was
omittedfrom the
Correspondance:AndrŽGide,RobertLevesque
.Thankyou toDavid
Steelforhypothesizingthis,andtoPierreMassonforprovidingconfirmation.
Cf.theappealtoNathana‘lin
LesNourritures
crŽedetoi
[...]
leplusir-
remplaabledestres
,442);MichelÕsrenaissance (
,625Ð26);andalsoAndrŽÕs
awakeningfromalarvalstatein theÔcomingoutÕPart2of
Silegrain
262AndrŽGideandCuriosity
ThethirdofGideÕsfantasymotherlessbirthsistobebornofwriting,
fromthecocoonoftexthehaswovenhimself:Ôjevais[..]mere-
plongerdansmonÏuvreetmÕyenfermercommeleverˆsoiesÕen-
fermeenlÕŽtoffequÕiltisseÕ (
CorrGideÐValŽry
,91),hetellsValŽryin
March1891.
Theemergentmothwouldpresumablybeareborn
Gide.
MartineSagaertwritesthatGidehadtoÔdŽroberlepouvoir
dÕenfanter[ˆlamre]Õ(note,
,1109).
Nolongerthechildof
JulietteGide,Gide,intheimaginedformofAndrŽ,becomesinstead
the childofreading, Prometheancuriosity andwriting.
GideÕscham-
pioningofthebastardfigureisinpartduetothispossibilityofself-
creation. Forexample,in
Îdipe
,theprotagonistdeclares:
IlnemedŽpla”tpasdemesavoirb‰tard.[...]Lefilestrompu.Jaillide
lÕinconnu;plusdepassŽ,plusdemodle,riensurquoimÕappuyer;toutˆ
crŽer,patrieanctres...ˆinventer,ˆdŽcouvrir.Personneˆquiressembler,
quemoi-mme.[...]CÕestunappelˆlavaillance,quedeneconna”trepoint
sesparents. (
,693).
ForGide,theÔwritingÕbirthcoincideswiththeprocessofreparation.
Bypayinghisdebtstothemotherimago,Gidelayshertorestandis
freetogivebirthtohimself(thoughneverdefinitively).
HannaSegal
suggeststhatwhenreparationtakestheformofcreativity,thesubject
Similarly,inhis
Cahiers
,ValŽryusestheimageofhimselfsecretingaspiralshell,
likeamollusc(PaulValŽry,
Cahiers/Notebooks
,ed.BrianStimpson,4vols(Frank-
furta.M.:PeterLang,2000),
,50.
GideÕsfantasyofbeingbornofhimselfisalsofound inhisfascinationfor thework
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary263
momentarily assumesthemotherÕsreproductivepower,
andthisisin
linewithGideÕsthinking,when,forexample,hecomparesthepainof
writingabooktoÔlesdouleursdelÕaccouchementÕ (
,556).
Given
thesignificantautobiographicalinvestmentofGideÕswritingÐ
explicitlyinhismemoirs,but alsoindiary andfiction,whereittakes a
moreunconsciousformÐwritingmightbeconsideredphantasmat-
icallyasself-creation,ashehimselfsuggestswiththemetaphorofthe
cocoon.DidierAnzieuexpresses a similarfantasy:
Unebibliothqueestunvagin.JÕentendslabibliothqueidŽalerŽunissant
lesmeilleurslivres.CevaginmÕaccueillera-t-il?Telleestmonambition
dÕauteur.Tant™tlabibliothquetotalemerestefermŽe:sonpucelage(ou
sonvaginisme)mÕeffraieaupointqueforcersonentrŽemesembleimpos-
sible.Tant™t,envoyantmonbrastenduporteurdÕunedemesÏuvres,sur
lesŽtagres les lvressÕaniment,ondulent,seserrent,sedilatent,jusquÕˆce
quesÕouvreuneplaceexactementsuffisanteˆlÕintromissiondemon
volumeetjevoiscelui-cihappŽ,entourŽ,tenu,choyŽ,captŽ,installŽparmi
sespairsquisontaussisesrivaux,rŽintŽgrŽdanslegironmaternelde
lÕintelligenceuniverselle.AlorsunplaisirdŽlicieuxmesaisitdesasecousse,
unplaisircommeseul lÕincestedoitpouvoirenapporterˆceluiquesajeune
mreousagrandesÏuraccueillepourlÕinitier,etjepense:lÕŽcriture
devientchair.
CettepensŽemerŽveilleensursaut.JemesuissouillŽ.Jepatauge
dansunmŽlangeaffreuxdÕurineetdÕexcrŽments.Encoreendormi,jemÕen
souviensmaintenant,jÕaidžcrier.Jeviensdena”tre.
AnzieuÕsÎdipalwishtoinseminatethefemalelibrary,andtobethe
newborninfantofthatunion,contrastswithGideÕsmasculinelibrary,
inwhichthereseemtobetwowombs:thewombofthelibrarylined
withbooks,whichgivesbirthtothesixteen-year-oldreader;
andthe
HannaSegal,ÔApsychoanalyticapproach toaestheticsÕ,210Ð11.
264AndrŽGideandCuriosity
cocoonwomb,whichGide constructsthroughwriting.AnzieuÕsbooks
arefinished;theyhaveaccededtomale adulthoodandcaninseminate
thelibrary.GideÕsbooks,bycontrast,areunfinishedÐeithertheyare
intheprocessofbeingwritten,orbelongtoacompleteworksstillin
progress;theycomeintobeingwithinthelibrary,whichhousesa
workingspace andtheemptyshelvestobefilled.GideÕsdreamlibrary
is:ÔunebibliothqueosetrouveraientrŽunisceslivres,nonpas
seulementdansleurŽtatderniermaisbienaussidans
leurphase
embryonnaire
,quipermettraitcetteextraordinaireinstructionquelÕon
puise ˆ suivre
leurlenteformationetŽlaboration
i.e. a spacewhere
hecanwatchotherwritersÕbooksgestateandbeborn,andChristine
ArmstrongdemonstrateshowGidelikedMadeleinetowatchthebirth
ofhisownbooks:ÔParsongestelectoral,AndrŽsÕoffraitˆsonaudi-
tricedanstoutesavulnŽrabilitŽdÕauteur,enluidonnantˆentendreun
Žcritengestation,endevenirÕ.
Thus,GideÕsbooksresembletheco-
coonbeingbuiltandthemetamorphosinglarvainside,thecocoon
beingcoextensivewiththelarva,whichproducesthethreadfromits
ownabdomenÐGouletdescribesGideÕs
Ïuvre
asÔcetorganismevi-
vantquisÕestdŽveloppŽconsubstantiellementˆluiÕ (
,21).In
Gide,inseminationisabsent,butneverthelessaGide-childisborn.
PierreMassonarguesthatforGide,thebookisÔcommematŽrial-
isationdÕuneidŽe,accessionˆlapesanteuretˆlÕŽpaisseurpourune
‰meenqutedÕun corpsÕ:
AndrŽGideestunhomme-livre.LecteuracharnŽautantquÕŽcrivainmŽtho-
dique,ilaconuetorganisŽsaviecommeunebibliothque,pardŽfinition
incomplte,dont lesvolumesaccumulŽsnÕŽtaientpour luiquÕuneincitation
ˆenŽcriredÕautresˆsontour,commeunmessageensouffrancedontiležt
ŽtŽˆlafoisledestinataireetleprolongateur.(41)
ThissuggeststhattheÔlibraryreadingÕwomb andtheÔcocoonwritingÕ
womboperateinsymbiosis,booksGidehasreadspurringhimonto
prŽcieuses,tantparcequÕilymetdelui-mmequeparlerŽseaudeconnivences
spirituellesquÕilsdessinent,etenfonctionduquelilessaiedesituersonnouveltreÕ
(PierreMasson,ÔLeLivreetlabibliothqueÕ,43).
Myemphasis
).FromGideÕsprefaceof4June1933tothecatalogueofthe
BibliothquelittŽraireJacquesDoucetÕsopeningexhibition,citedbySagaert (
1109).AgainGidedemonstratesÔsacuriositŽpassionnŽedetoutcequisedŽveloppeÕ
CPD
,163).
ChristineLatrouitteArmstrong,ÔÒJelisˆEm.ÓÕ,in
DŽsir
,87Ð88.
PierreMasson,ÔLeLivreetlabibliothqueÕ,43.
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary265
contributebookshehaswritten.Thismirrorstheprocessesvitaltothe
Kleinianinfantofintrojectionandprojection;destructionandcon-
struction.Masson continues:
ApeineGidea-t-ilcomposŽquelquesfadespomesquÕilparleˆValŽryde
sonÔvolumedeversÕ,etbeaucoupplustard,ilracontequÕileuttrst™tla
visiondesesÏuvrescompltes,commeunebibliothquedŽjˆrangŽedans
satte,etquÕilneluirestaitplusquÕˆŽcrire.(43)
Gideatanearlystagevisualisedtheshelfthatwouldholdhis
collectedworks.He,likeRuthKjŠr,wasawareofaspacethathadto
befilled.Thegestureofputtinghisbooksonashelfalongsidebooks
byothersamountstofittinghisownbooksintoaliteraryfamily(like
AnzieuÕs
further,ituniteshistwoselves,onebornofreading,
theotherofwriting.Atthesametime,herestorestothemotherimago
hergoodobjects.
TheLibrary:CuriosityResolved
TheimportanceGideattributestothelibraryisshownbyGideÕs
resolveshortlybeforehisdeathtowritethescriptforthesectionof
MarcAllŽgretÕs1951documentaryrelatingtohislibraryattherue
Vaneau.ThevoiceoverstatesthatGideÔvoulaitŽcrirelui-mmeun
commentaire,sortedeguideˆlÕusagedecevisiteurinvisibleetindis-
TraversdeFaultriermakesasimilarobservationinrelationtotheclassicworksof
literatureGidetakeswithhimtotheCongo:ÔAuCongo,GideestlÕauteurAndrŽ
Gide.IlprendsoindesÕentourerdÕouvragesquilÕaccompagneronttoutaulongdu
voyagecommepourconfirmersonappartenanceˆuneculturemaisaussiˆlafamille
desŽcrivains,commesÕilfallaitconjurerlerisquedÕanonymatquereprŽsente
lÕimmersiondansuneculturequenereconna”tpaslesmmesrepresÕ(Traversde
Faultrier,
Gide:LÕAssignationˆtre
,88).
266AndrŽGideandCuriosity
thelibraryoftheruedeTournon,whereGidelivedfrom1875until
hisfatherÕsdeathin1880:
MonprepassaitlaplusgrandepartiedujourenfermŽdansunvastecabinet
detravailunpeusombre,ojenÕavaisaccsquelorsquÕilmÕinvitaitˆy
venir[É].
JeressentaispourmonpreunevŽnŽrationunpeucraintive,
quÕaggravaitlasolennitŽdecelieu.JÕyentraiscommedansuntemple;dans
lapŽnombresedressaitletabernacledelabibliothque.[É]Ilyavaitun
lutrinprsdÕunedesdeuxfentres[É].
MaislesouvenirducabinetdetravailestrestŽliŽsurtoutˆcelui
deslecturesquemonpremÕyfaisait.IlavaitˆcesujetdesidŽestrs
particulires,quenÕavaitpasŽpuisŽesmamre. (
,85Ð86)
Thelibraryismasculine,thedomainofthefather, andaplaceofwork
inprogress.Dark,solemnandsacrosanct,itisaplacethatthechild
entersonlyatthefatherÕsbehest,andProtestantreligiousimageryis
focussedonthebookcases andlectern.
Theseconddescriptionisofthelibraryattheruede
Commaille,whichPaulGidewouldneverhaveknown.Following
PaulGideÕsdeath,mother andsonspent almostthreeyears awayfrom
Parisbeforereturningtoanewapartmentin1883.Thenarrator,
however,elidesthis,therebycreatingasenseofeternaltimeand
space:
EndŽcrivantnotreappartement,jÕairŽservŽlabibliothque.CÕestque,
depuislamortdemonpre,mamrenemÕy laissaitpluspŽnŽtrer.Lapice
restaitfermŽeˆclef;et,bienquesituŽeˆuneextrŽmitŽde lÕappartement, il
mesemblaitquÕelleenfaisaitlecentre;mespensŽes,mesambitions,mes
dŽsirsgravitaientautour.CÕŽtait,danslÕespritdemamre,unesortede
sanctuaireorespiraitlechersouvenirdudŽfunt;sansdoute,elleežttrouvŽ
malsŽantquejeprissetropvitesaplace[...].AlÕapprochedemaseizime
annŽepourtant,AlbertcommenadÕintercŽderenmafaveur;jesurpris
quelquesbribesdediscussionmamansÕŽcriait:
ÔIlvamettrelabibliothqueaupillage.Õ[...]Mamre[...]finitpar
cŽder(210)
ApeutprsconvaincueparAlbert,mamrenecŽdapourtantpastoutdÕun
coup;ellecomposa.IlfutadmisquejÕentreraisdanslapice,maisavec
elle.(211)
Themothergiveswayandthelibraryremainsmasculine,asanctuary
tothefather.Yetnowitsreproductivepowerscometothefore.
AndrŽÕsdesiresgravitatearoundthelibrary,asGŽrardÕsdesirescircle
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary267
LaQuartfourche (
,931),andMichelÕstheHeurteventhouse.
Like
theÔmalechainÕ,allthesespacesarelociforÔreproductionreinvented
orgoneawryÕ (
P&P
,177):thesecretofthehousein
Isabelle
isan
unorthodoxsexualunionthatfailstoreachRomanticheights;in
LÕIm-
moraliste
,theHeurteventfathersleepswithhisdaughterbecauseher
motherisdead.ThisÎdipalrelationshipisechoedin
Silegrain
themotherÕsinterdictiononAndrŽtoenterthelibrarybecauseitisnot
yettimeforhimtotakehisfatherÕsplace.AndrŽdoesgainentry
towardshissixteenthbirthday.
ButitisnotanÎdipalrelationship
thatensues.Aspredicted,thewomanismarginalised,andAlbertis
theprincipalpersonfacilitatingAndrŽÕspassageintotheroom.Ini-
tially,AndrŽÕsmotheraccompanieshersonandtogethertheyread
aloudbooksofhischoosing.Julietteismerelybearingwitnesstothis
conceptionandgestationofAndrŽÕsmindinthelibrary-womb,a
preludetoMadeleineÕsrolelater,whenGidereadstoherhisworksin
progress.Armstrongwrites:ÔilconviaitMadeleineˆparticiper,
commesage-femme,ˆunenfantementlittŽrairemasculinquisup-
plŽaitˆlanaissancedÕunvŽritableenfantquelachastetŽimposŽeˆ
leurconjugalitŽparAndrŽleurdŽniait.Õ
BothwomenwitnessGideÕs
birth(Juliette,hisbirthfromreading;Madeleinehisbirthfrom
writing),andinthisway,theirownreproductivepoweriskeptatbay.
Themotherimagohasbeenrelocatedtotheexternalpaternallibrary,
whichis,likemalereproductiveorgans,attheÔextrŽmitŽÕ,notthe
centre,ofthehouse/body;thisisalsothelocationoftheVaneau
library.
TheimageofthekaleidoscopeisrecalledbyÔlapetite
bibliothquevitrŽeÕ(214),whichcontainsalmostuniquelypoetryand
enchantsAndrŽmorethananythingelseinthelibrary.Thenarrator
recallslyinginfrontofit,
enceprintempsdemaseizimeannŽe,tremblantˆdŽcouvrir,ˆsentir
ÔEtjÕapprispeuˆpeubiendÕautreschoses,quifaisaientdelamaisonHeurteventun
lieubržlant,ˆlÕodeurforte,autourduquel,quoiquejÕeneusse,monimagination,
commeunemoucheˆviande,tournoyaitÕ (
,666).
SixteenistheageofLucileBucolinwhenshemarried.Possibly,givenGideÕs
occasionalidentificationwithLucile(Millot,ÔLaCroixdeSaint-AndrŽÕin
DŽsir
288Ð89),theaccessionto the library istantamount tothe lossofAndrŽÕsvirginity.
ChristineLatrouitteArmstrong,ÔÒJelisˆEm.ÓÕin
DŽsir
,87Ð88.
AvecAndrŽGide
.Dir.MarcAllŽgret.LesFilmsdeJeudi.1951.30.08Ð32.11.
268AndrŽGideandCuriosity
leplusimportant,sanscontours,Žludelaprise.JusquÕˆprŽsentjeprenais
plaisirˆmÕattarderauxmenusfaits;maisvoiciquejenaisˆlavie.(215)
TheVillaMontmorencyinAuteuil,builttoGideÕsowndesigns,was
GideÕsParisresidencefrom1906to1928.Theprojectwasfundedby
thesaleof
LaRoque-Baignard
,theNormandyestatehehadinherited
fromhismother,andthegesturemaybeconstruedasaliquidationof
her(thenarratorremarksonhislackofsadnessatsellingthehouseas
hewasmotivatedÔparfuturismeÕ [
,121]),whichenabledthecon-
structionofalibrarywhollybasedonGideÕsfantasyofamasculine
motherimago.MartinduGard,whovisitedGideattheVillafora
readingoftheembryonic
Silegrain
,recalls:
Nousgrimponsencorequelquesmarches.[É]Encoredesmarches.Nous
pŽnŽtronsenfindansunesortedeloggiaexigu‘,trsŽclairŽe,quidomine,
commeunpostedevigie,unhallobscur,encontrebas,danslequelje
distinguedestables,desbibliothques,dessigesrassemblŽssousdes
Again,itisSpringtime, theseasonthatheraldsÔlerenouveaumiraculeuxÕ (
,886).
Cf.
,288.
PhilipHotchkissWalsh,ÔDŽsirsintŽrieurs,intŽrieursdudŽsir:Gideetsamaisonˆ
AuteuilÕ,
BAAG,
29,no.131/132(July2001),447Ð58,454.
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary269
In1928GidemovedintotherueVaneautolivealongsidethe
PetiteDame andMarcAllŽgret.The PetiteDamerelates:
NostroisinstallationsjuxtaposŽes,sidiffŽrentes,sÕamorcentbien.Dansle
clairatelierdeMarc,toutestlŽger,imprŽvu,facettesvariŽesdÕungožt
Thelibraryin
LesNourrituresterrestres
isassociatedwiththeeternalandthe
masculine:MŽnalqueperceivesthatÔlafemmeabsenteÕhasshroudedeverything
exceptthelibrary,whichremainsunchanged (
,383).
270AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Thisbluevolumemarksanemptyspacewhichisnotanemptyspace
ofpotentialwriting,likethatvisualisedbyGidein1891;ratheritis an
emptyspaceofdestroyedwriting.AfirstKleinianinterpretationis
thatitsignifiesGideÕsacknowledgementofhisinfantilesadism
againstthemotherimagoandherobjects,anacknowledgementwhich
isrequiredbeforereparationcantakeplace.
Thisdestructiveelementissupportedbyadreamrelatedby
Gideinthe
JournaldesFaux-Monnayeurs
,whichtakesplaceina
library.GideisinconversationwithProust,whenaservantenters,
trailingafterhimapieceofstring,oneendofwhichgotwoundupin
GideÕshand,
tandisque lÕautreallasefixerentre leslivresdÕunrayondelabibliothque.
[É]Prousty tournaitledos,tandisquejÕyfaisaisface.Jeretirailaficelleet
vissedŽplacerlŽgrementdeuxgrosvieuxvolumessomptueusementreliŽs.
behalfofthe
NRF
ofProustÕsmanuscriptof
Duc™tŽdechezSwann
whichmaybeconstruedasanactofincuriosity.Criticshaveimputed
GideÕsrejectionofProusttoGideÕshomophobicrefusaltodefend
homosexualitythatentailseffeminacy,sex-roleinversionand
sodomy.
AnotherhypothesisisthatGiderejectedProustbecause
ProustrecreatesthepastandemphasisesthechildÕsbondwiththe
mother,incontrasttoGideÕsattemptstodenythisbondandwrite
ThisreactionfitswiththePetiteDameÕsobservationthatGidefollowsupcruel
experimentationwithextremeremorse (
CPD
,224Ð25).ThephraseÔlebruitdela
chutemefitbattrelecÏurÕrecallsthenarratorÕsassertion in
Si legrain
thatÔlÕidŽede
saccageÕgave thechildAndrŽasexualthrill (
,116).
See,forexample,Schehr,
FrenchGayModernism
,86Ð87.
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary271
forward-orientedsubjectmatterÐindeedHannaSegalusesProustto
demonstratetraditionalcreativereparationtothemotherimago:
ÔAccordingtoProust,anartistiscompelledtocreatebyhisneedto
recoverhislostpastÕ.
Atthe1935conference,ÔAndrŽGideetnotre
tempsÕ,theCatholiccriticHenriMassisexplainedwhyhespokeso
vehemently againstGideÕsjustificationofhomosexuality,yetusedÔun
tout autretonÕwithregardtoProust:
HM:ÔLe mondeproustiennedŽtruitpasnotreuniversmoral.Jecroismme
quevoustessecrtementirritŽdecequeProustacceptelesloisdecet
univers,ouplut™tquÕilneles
nie
pas.Õ
AG:ÔCÕestbiencequeje luireproche.Õ
Theselawsincludethefemale aschild-bearer.
GideÕsdreamofdestroyingthebookinProustÕslibraryalso
evokestheKleinianinfantrobbingthemotherÕsbodyanddamaging
itscontents.IfreadingisaphantasmaticrobbingofthemotherÕsbody
(Klein,
Writings
,241),damagingbooksisaphantasmaticdamaging
ofthecontentsofherbody.IntheCommaillelibrary,thenarratorÕs
evocationofthemotherÕsinitialfearthatAndrŽwouldÔmettrela
bibliothqueaupillageÕconjuresupthechildÕsphantasmaticpercep-
tionofthemotherimagoÕsfearofbeingsadisticallyattackedbythe
infant.GideÕsconfessiontothemajordomoisanassumingof
responsibility;thedeliberatelycreatedspaceonthelibraryshelfatthe
rueVaneaumaybeseenasapublicdisplay-
cum
-confessionofGideÕs
destructiveness.Thestringofthedreamsuggestsanunravellingof
anotherÕsbooks(parallelingthemotherimagoÕsobjects),whichisa
preludetotheweavingofoneÕsown(thecocoonimage);thusthe
artistfindsaspace amongstÔparmisespairsquisontaussisesrivauxÕ
(Anzieu).LambertÕsdescriptionoftheVaneaulibrarycontinues:
HannaSegal,ÔApsychoanalyticapproach toaestheticsÕ,207.
GeorgesGuy-Grand(ed.),
AndrŽGideetnotre temps
,(Paris:Gallimard,1935),35.
InrelationtoanothersuchlawÐthatachildbornofincestwillbeconstitutionally
weakÐseeMartinduGardÕslettertoGideof7March1931, inwhichin termsclose
tothoseofMassisheaccusesGideof:aimingtosupplantcurrentmorality;beingan
advocateofscandalforscandalÕssake;andbeingsubject to theÔdŽplorableinfluenceÕ
ofDorothyBussywhopractisesÔunfanatiqueprosŽlytismecontre
cequiestŽtabli
quelquÕilsoitÕ (
RMGCorr
,454Ð55).Luceycommentsonthispassagetocontrast
datednaturalistMartinduGardwithinnovativeGide,whosemodeofgaywritingis
ofgreatercritical interest today(Lucey,
NeverSay I
,185Ð87).
272AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Aussibien,toutledŽcordelabibliothqueŽtait-ilplut™tafricain.Des
lances,desdŽfensesdÕivoire,desmasquessedŽtachaientsur lefondsŽvre
desboiseries;lastatuettedÕunedivinitŽafricaine,unpetitcrocodilenatu-
ralisŽ,desanneauxdÕivoire,erraientdeplaceenplace.[...]Enfin,parmi
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary273
NousletrouvonstoutŽmu,toutexaltŽ,parcequÕildŽcouvredans
LaVie
danslesocŽans
(parledocteurL.Joubin).Illit:ÔCertainsanimauxam-
putenteux-mmesleurscorps,ilsenretranchentdestronons,commesÕils
cherchaientˆlerŽduireauxpartieslesplusindispensables,pournÕavoir
plusˆdŽfendrecellesquilesontmoins.Õ (
CPD
,[29Aug1919]32)
GideÕshomosexualawakeningapparentlyrequiresthisactofcutting:
inthelead-uptoAndrŽÕsfirsthomosexualencounterin
Silegrain
AlicutswithasmalldaggertheÔembrouillementÕofthecomplicated
knotsoflaceswhichfunctionasabelt (
,280);in
LÕImmoraliste
Bachiriscarvingawhistlewithabadknifethatismentionedtwice
,606);in
LesNourrituresterrestres
,thesubjectbeingrebornin
AfricahastoreachlightÔˆtraversfeuillesetramuresÕ(356);hisbrain
islikeaskyheavywithstorm-clouds,ÔotoutattendlÕŽclairpour
dŽchirercesoutresfuligineuses,pleinesdÕhumeuretcachantlÕazurÕ.
Inthelibrary,theAfricandŽcor,thestatueoftheyoungboy,andthe
book-saleallattesttoGideÕssexualbirthintopederasty,asdothe
pulpitandstanding-desk,evocativeofpedagogywhichSegalhas
showntobeboundtopederastyinGide.GideÕscuriosityturns
towardsmasculineobjects,suggestingthatthemotherimagoisnotthe
soleprototypefordesirableÔgoodÕobjects.Next,Gideconfessesto
hisattacksonthemotherimago(=confessiontothemajordomo;
displayofthebook-sale)andmakesreparation,whichisalsoabirth
fromwriting.Finally,Gidesucceedsindissolvinghisfearofthe
motherimagoÕsretaliation, andthisissymbolisedinthelibrarybythe
Africanspearsonthewallandthehourglass:thespears,once
weaponsofDrBrouardelÕsthreatenedcastration,arenowreclaimed
astrophies;
sablier
,onceanaccoutrementoftheterrifying
femaleof
AndrŽWalter
Õsnightmareandassociatedwiththemother
imago,isnowajoke:Gideostentatiouslyturnsthehourglasswhen
visitorstohislibrarystopinterestinghim,or,inotherwords,
stimulatinghiscuriosity.ThefishonGideÕspianoevokeshispisca-
ÔOutreÕ,agoat-skinbagusedfortransportingliquidsisetymologicallyrootedin
uterus,andthisassociationisreinforcedbytheadjectives,ÔfuligineusesÕand
ÔpleinesÕ.
274AndrŽGideandCuriosity
torycoldness,whichisintegraltohisexcisingofahumanmotherand
hiscuriosity.
GideÕsunusuallywide-rangingandextremecuriositywasunder-
girdedby a pronouncedincuriositytowardswomen.Tounderstandthe
functioningofcuriosityinGide,IhaveprobedatthisAchillesheel:
ÔAchilleŽtaitinvulnŽrable,saufencetendroitdesoncorpsquÕatten-
drissaitlesouvenirducontactdesdoigtsmaternelsÕ (
,790).Al-
thoughGideÕscasedoesnotconformtoconventionalpsychoanalytic
theoriesofcuriositywhichpositthemotherÕsbodyasthenormalfirst
objectofcuriosity,MelanieKleinÕsunderstandingofcuriosityas
dependentinitiallyonphantasmaticsadism,andlaterreparation,to-
wardsthemotherimagooffersalineofattack.ForKlein,ifthesub-
jectÕssadismhasbeentoopronouncedÐandin
Silegrain
,ÔlÕidŽede
saccageÕisakeythemeofsexualexcitementoftheyoungAndrŽ (
116)Ð,thenormaloscillationofcuriositybetweensadisticand
reparativeaimsbreaksdown,theinfantfearingtoacripplingdegree
theretaliationofthemotherimago.Thismayresultinobsessionaland
manicdefencestothedepressiveposition,whichcanbemanifested as
acompulsivecuriositytowardsallelsebutthemotherimago,which
itselfbecomes anobjectofepistemophilicinhibition.Itisrareforthis
eventualitytosuccessfullyresolvethedepressivepositionbecause,
likeIcarusflyingeverhigherandultimatelytohissuicide,thede-
fenceslackareparativeaspect.Unusually againthen,Gidedefiesthis
outcome,ashiscreativity,likeGoetheÕsbeforehim,succeedsin
tamingelementsofhiscompulsivecuriosityintowriting:GideÕscu-
riosityismodelledmoreonPrometheus,who,afterflyingtothegods,
returnstoearthwiththegiftsofknowledgeforhumankind,arepar-
ativeacteffectedbyGidethroughwriting.(AlbertCamusÕsProme-
theusÔPromŽthŽeauxenfersÕ[1946]isalsoreparative,declaring:ÔÒJe
vousprometslarŽformeetlarŽparation,™mortelsÓÕ.)
SoinGide,
IhavedescribedcuriosityasÔuneanesthŽsiemomentanŽeducÏurÕ(Bergson).In
MeasureforMeasure
,Lucioreports:ÔTheysay thisAngelowasnotmadebymanand
womanafterthisdownrightwayofcreation[...].Somereportaseamaidspawned
him;some,thathewasbetween twostockfishes.But it iscertainthatwhenhemakes
waterhisurineiscongealed ice;thatIknowtobetrueÕ(WilliamShakespeare,
Meas-
ure forMeasure
Conclusion:TheKaleidoscopeandtheLibrary275
apparentlyirreconcilableforcesofmasculinecuriosityandreparation
areatwork.Gidereconcilestheseforcesbyreconfiguringthesiteof
thefirstobjectofcuriosityfromthemotherimagotothepaternal
library,inwhichGideconstructedhimselfthroughreadingandwrit-
ing.Thelibraryisthesourceofoutsideknowledgeconcentrated
withinthepagesofbooks;reparationintheKleiniansenseoccurs
throughthereconstructionofthelibrary,thedisplacedwomb.On27
July1922,Gidewrote:ÔLesraisonsquimepoussent ˆ Žcriresontmul-
tiples,etlesplusimportantessont,ilmesemble,lesplussecrtes.
Celle-cipeut-tresurtout:mettrequelque chose ˆ lÕabridelamortÕ (
1182).Inthecontextofepistemophilia,writingsheltersGidefrom
unbridledcuriosityleadingtosuicideontheonehand,andÔlamre
mortifreÕontheother(Jadin,124).Attheverystartofhiscareer,
Gidedreamedofcreatinghiscompleteworks;bypouringintowriting
experiencegleanedthroughcuriosity,hephantasmaticallymaderepa-
rationtothemotherimago,whichhisearlierpronouncedcuriosity and
sadismhadrendereddifficult.GideÕsrefusaltolookinsidePandoraÕs
box andhischampioningof Prometheusgiveshiscuriosity a distinctly
masculine andvitalcharacter.
(latermovingtothesubjectÕsrelationwithobjectsin thewiderworld):ÔÒOJustice,™
mamre,sÕŽcriePromŽthŽe,tuvoiscequÕonmefaitsouffrirÓÕ;andalsowiththe
depressivepositionandthepossibilityofcreativereparation:PrometheusÕsmyth
showsusthatÔtoutemutilationdelÕhommeÕ isprovisionalandthatitisnecessary that
humanbeingsbenourishedwithbeauty.Further, the mythexemplifiesforbearanceof
suffering(PrometheusÕspunishment)andÔcetteadmirablevolontŽdeneriensŽparer
niexclurequiatoujoursrŽconciliŽetrŽconcilieraencorelecÏurdouloureuxdes
hommesetlesprintempsdumondeÕ(844).
Henry Moore,
Appendix
ShortGlossaryofPsychoanalyticTerms
ThisalphabeticallistisinformedprincipallybyR.D.Hinshelwood,
DictionaryofKleinianThought
(RDH).Referencesarealsomadeto:
TheConfessionsofSaintAugustine
,Book10,Chapter35;Hinshel-
wood,RobinsonandZarate,
IntroducingMelanieKlein
(HRZ);Klein,
Writings
(Klein);CharlesRycroft,
ACriticalDictionaryofPsycho-
analysis
(CR);HannahSegal,
Klein
(HS);andMichaelPaulZiolo,
ÔPsychohistory:Emergence,Theory,ApplicationsÕ(Ziolo).Incita-
tionsfromRycroftandsometimesHinshelwood,themasculinepro-
nounisshorthandforboththeboy andthegirl child.
Depressiveposition
:thispositioncomestotheforeÔwhenthechild
comestoknowitsmotherasawholepersonandbecomes
identifiedwithherasawhole,realandlovedpersonÕ(Klein,
286).ItisconstitutedbyÔpersecution(byÒbadÓobjects)and
the characteristicdefences againstit,ontheonehand,andpin-
ingoftheloved(ÒgoodÓ)object,ontheotherÕ(348).This
Ôdepressiveanxiety(orÒpiningÓ)[...]expressestheearliest
andmostanguishedformofguiltduetoambivalentfeelings
towardsanobject.Theinfantisphysicallyandemotionally
matureenoughtointegratehisorherfragmentedperceptions
ofmother,bringingtogethertheseparatelygoodandbadver-
sions(imagos)thatheorshehaspreviouslyexperienced.
Whensuchpart-objectsarebroughttogetherasawholethey
threatentoformacontaminated,damagedordeadwholeob-
ject.Depressiveanxietyisthecrucialelementofmature
relationships,thesourceofgenerousandaltruisticfeelings
thataredevotedtothewell-beingoftheobject.Inthe
depressivepositioneffortstomaximizethelovingaspectof
theambivalentrelationshipwiththedamagedÒwholeobjectÓ
aremobilized(reparation).Butsoalsoarethedefencemech-
anisms.These comprisetheconstellationofparanoiddefences
[...]andthemanicdefencesÕ(RDH,
138).ÔGuilt,sorrowand
reparationÕcombinetoformthedepressiveposition,whichis
278AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Ôthefoundationoraloving,caring,empathic,andcreative
responsetotheexternalworldÕ(Ziolo,11).
Epistemophilia
:thedesireforknowledgeandthepleasurein
acquiringknowledge.Epistemophiliamaybeequatedwith
curiosity,asexemplifiedbytheauthorisedEnglishtranslation
ofKleinÕs
ThePsycho-AnalysisofChildren
(1932),which
renders
Wissbegierde
inmostcasesasÔcuriosityÕand
Wiss-
trieb
asÔepistemologicalinstinctÕ.The1975revised
translationhas
Wissbegier
asÔdesireforknowledgeÕ and
Wiss-
trieb
asÔinstinct(ordesire)forknowledgeÕ.
Introjectionandprojection
:inprojection,thesubjectdisowns
his/herownimpulseandattributesittohis/herobject,e.g.ÔI
donothatehimÐhehatesmeÕ.Introjectionistheoppositeof
projectionandisthementalcounterparttotheearliestoral
impulsetoeattheobject.TheobjectÕscharacteristicsare
introjectedbecausetheegocannotgiveupitsobject.Iden-
tificationisnot always clearlydifferentiatedfromintrojection.
Onetypeisidentificationoftheselfwiththeobjectasthe
model.Thesubjectassimilatesthecharacteristicsoftheob-
ject;thusidentificationcanbe a defenceagainstthelossofthe
objectorrivalrywithit(HS,22Ð23).ÔIntrojectionofthe
parentimagosisaprocessthatgoesoninthecourseofÐand
infactfromthebeginningofÐanactiverelationship.[...]
Introjectionandprojectionareconstantlyactiveprocesses
linkedwithoralandanalimpulses,andtheyareactive
continuouslyfromthebeginningandthroughoutlifeÕ(RDH,
102Ð3);assuch,theycatalyseÔcontinualself-transformationÕ
(Ziolo,11).
Manicandobsessional-neuroticdefences
:thesedefencesareacti-
vatedagainsttheanguishofanunresolveddepressive
position.Theinfant,havingfailedtosecureaÔgoodÕobject
modelledonthebenevolentmotherimago,insteadfearsretal-
iationfromapredominantlymalevolentmotherimago.These
defencesentail a turning(flying) awayfrom, and a denigrating
of,themotherimago,inabidtolessenitsholdoverthe
subject.TheyarerarelyabletosucceedinsecuringtheÔgoodÕ
objectinalastingway.InKleinÕslaterwriting,obsessional
mechanismsbecomesubsumedundermanicdefencesand
reparation(RDH,374).Oneobsessional-neuroticdefence
Appendix:ShortGlossaryofPsychoanalyticTerms279
detailedin1931isextremecuriosityÐÔacravingtotakein
everythingthatoffersitself[...](including
knowledgeasa
substance)Õ(Klein,246Ð47).Manicdefences are characterised
bydenial(scotomization),disparagement,control,andideal-
ization(277Ð78&349);thesubjectwishestodemonstrate,by
phantasmaticallyreversingthechild-parentrelation,thatthe
holdofthemotherimagoonitselfisfeeble(287,351).
Motherimago
:theinfantÕsdistortedperceptionoftherealmother,as
influencedbyitsinternalphantasyworld.ÔAtthefirststageof
developmenttheinfanthasnodistanceperceptionandknows
ofmotheronlyfromsensationsarisingfromtheskininwards.
Theexperienceoftheinfantwhen appreciatinghisownbodily
sensationisthatanobject,felttohavemotivationstowards
him,hascausedhisownbodilysensations.Thisprimary
objectissometimescalledtheÔbreastÕandisappreciated
accordingtowhetheritis(a)wellorbadlyintentioned
towardstheinfant;and(b)whethertheobjectisexperienced
insideoroutsidetheinfant.Thereareinfactattheoutset
numerousÒmothersÓ,eachoneconnectedtothegratification
thattheinfantisreceivingorislacking,givingrisetoa
ÒgoodÓmotherandaÒbadÓmotherrespectively,foreach
need.TheseÒmothersÓcorrespondtoseparateÒinfantsÓÐthat
is,separatelyexperiencedstatesoftheinfantsplitfromeach
other andkeptseparatefordefensivepurposesÕ(RDH,353).
Obsessional-neuroticdefences
:seeManicandobsessional-neurotic
defences.
Paranoid-schizoidposition
:aprocesswherebytheinfantmastersits
destructiveimpulsesbyÔsplittingbothhisegoandhisobject-
representationsintogoodandbadparts,andprojectinghis
destructiveimpulsesontothebadobjectbywhomhefeels
persecutedÕ(CR,125).Itthusentailsprojectionofpartsofthe
selforego(projectiveidentification)intoobjects,witha
depletingeffectontheself.Thedepletedselfthenhasdiffi-
cultieswithintrojectionandwithintrojectiveidentificationÕ
(RDH,156).ÔParanoid-schizoidbehaviourisendemicatall
phasesofhumanpsychologicalgrowthandformsacontinual
substrateevenwhenexternalbehavioursappeardominatedby
thedepressivepositionÕ(Ziolo,10).
280AndrŽGideandCuriosity
Part-objects
:phantasmaticobjectsthatareÔpartofaperson,e.g.a
penisorabreastÕ(CR,114), andlocatedinthemotherimago.
Sincetheinfantconceivesthemintheimageofitsown
emotions,theobjectshavepersonalitiesoftheirown,canthus
begood(bounteous,generous,loving)orbad(covetous,
envious,greedy,sadistic,hateful);assuchtheyelicitinthe
infantreciprocalpositiveandnegativeemotions(generosity,
love,covetousness,greed,sadism,hatred,fear).
Phantasy(Unconscious)
:ÔUnconsciousphantasiesunderlieevery
mentalprocess,andaccompanyallmentalactivity.Theyare
thementalrepresentationofthosesomaticeventsinthebody
whichcomprisetheinstincts,andarephysicalsensations
interpretedasrelationshipswithobjectsthatcausethose
sensations.[...]Phantasyisthementalexpressionofthe
instinctualimpulsesandalsoofdefencemechanismsagainst
instinctualimpulsesÕ(RDH,32).ÔConsciousmental activityis
accompanied,supported,maintained,enlivened,andaffected
byunconsciousphantasy,whichbegins[atbirth(RDH,33Ð
34)],isprimarily(originally)concernedwithbiological
processesandrelations,andundergoessymbolicelaborationÕ
(CR,131Ð32).ÔTheunconsciousisstructuredlikeasmall
society.Thatistosay,itisameshofrelationshipsbetween
objects.Anunconsciousphantasyisastateofactivityofone
ormoreoftheseÒinternalÓobject-relationsÕ(RDH,467).
Phantasmaticobjectsbelongtotheunconscious,makingthem
distinctfromordinarydaydreams,orÔfantasiesÕ,andalso
fromrealobjects(HRZ,100).ÔSuchphantasies[
...]are
byinferenceonthebasisof clinicalevidenceÕ(RDH,33).
Playtechnique
:byinterpretingthesymbolismof aninfantÕsplay,the
analystcanaccessobjectrelationshipsintheinfantÕsinternal
phantasylife.In contrastto FreudÕsÔtalkingcureÕ,thistherapy
claimstoaccesseventheunconsciousofpre-verbalchildren.
ÔKleinwidened[FreudÕsunderstandingoftheexistenceofan
internalworld]bythedetailedstudyofinternalphantasylife
withcomplexinternalobjectrelationshipsevolvingfrom
earliestinfancyÕ(HS,161Ð63).
Projection
:seeIntrojection andprojection.
Reparation
:ÔReparationisthestrongestelementoftheconstructive
andcreativeurgesÕ(RDH,412).The childÕsdistress atitsown
Appendix:ShortGlossaryofPsychoanalyticTerms281
aggressivenessandcrueltytowardsitsobjectelicitsinitpity
andthewishtorestorethedamagedobjectinphantasy.ÔThe
altruisminherentinreparationisadiversionoftheinstinctual
impulsesintosocialchannelsÕ asguiltis channelledintorepair
(415).SincereparationÔisconcernedwiththetroublesor
difficultiesofthelovedobjectÕ(416),thesubjectlearnshow
toloveinacomplex,realisticway.Theformofreparation
groundedinloveandrespectfortheobject,whichresultsin
trulycreativeachievementsÕisthemostmeaningful(413).
Reparation comestotheforeinthedepressiveposition, asitis
ÔoneofthemainmethodsofgettingoverdepressiveanxietyÕ
(415).ÔPrimarilyitisarepairoftheinternalworldthatis
intended,throughrepairingtheexternal.Itis a powerhousefor
matureenergy andcreativityinthe actualexternalworld.Õ
Scopophilia
:thedesiretoseeandpleasureinlooking.Accordingto
St.Augustine,inthepursuitofcuriosity,vision(Ôthelustof
theeyesÕ)isprivilegedoverothersenses.
Scotomization
:thedenialofpsychicreality.
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310Index
children,
see
young(the)
Christianity146Ð47,173,210,260
Catholicism95,213,271
Protestantism145,146,173,213,266
Cocteau,Jean99,103,145,148,165,172
Conrad,Joseph37,118,188
Copeau,Jacques24,60
Coppet,Marcelde21,148
Corydon (
Cor
)85Ð86,260
creativity,
seealso
KjŠr:57,155,167,173,
201,203Ð11,228,232,235,241Ð43,
259,262Ð63,268Ð69,274,280Ð81
Cunningham,Michael186
curiosity
passim
actegratuit
24,172Ð74
&adventure35,49,56,102,139,141,
149,154,163,192,261;(ofdeath)89,
192; (
romandÕaventure
)60Ð62
&anthropology143
&bastards,seeyoung(the),children
&betrayal216Ð17
&botany34,47,118,143,145Ð46,157,
167,169,172,175Ð76
&chemistry143
&collection27,38,99,148,155,158Ð
59,166Ð67,203,206
&confession36,57,195,211Ð19,221,
226Ð31,270Ð71,273
&contagion/contamination16,17,19,
20,24,36,135Ð36,182,187,200,211Ð
13,228,273
&convalescence17Ð18,46,117,206Ð7
&cruelty54,214Ð19
&danger44,57,101Ð2,124,128Ð31,
139,152,155,163,171,188,214,234Ð
&demon/devil20,25,56Ð57,70,107,
153Ð54,177,200,214,225,233
&disappointment35,40,50,90,98,105,
120Ð21,151,204,222,252,256
disponib
15Ð16,18Ð19,43,46,53,
&distance34,46Ð48,81,86,93,98,113,
184,187,190,204Ð5,220Ð21,223,238,
&earlymodernism26,64
&eating29,56,74,98,102Ð3,108,154,
158,173,176,200
&empathy88,160,178,187Ð91,200Ð1,
&endpoints43Ð44,46,48Ð51,53,199,
&Enlightenment26,143Ð44,153,164,
&entomology,
seealso
animals,insects:
34,143,146Ð47,165Ð66,175,190
&epistemic26
&epistemophilia,
seealso
Klein,
epistemophilia:28,
65Ð68,70Ð72
&experimentation23,26,27,43,54,86,
173,176Ð77,189,211Ð19,226Ð30
&exploration24Ð26,34,44,56,60,128,
143,171Ð72,196,200,225
faitdivers
192,223Ð25,233,238
&fascination22,28,83,102,109,112,
114,123,129,171,188,193,195Ð196
&fear,
seealso
c.&danger;Klein,fear;
&mother,motherimago:26,28,69,
82Ð84,89,111,125,127,129,132,149,
194,207,237,253,271Ð73;feigned81,
107,136Ð37;(horror)24,80Ð83,251;
(vampire)83;
fl‰neur
39,42
&flight15Ð16,127,130Ð31,141,153,
193,201,206,211,225,234,236,249,
252,274
&genderingof149Ð54
&History167Ð69
&hunt23,96Ð103,145Ð46,185,206
&imagination37,53,59Ð60,108,200,
205,227,243
&law,
seealso
young(the),children
(bastards/criminal);Gide,
Nejugezpas
c.&
actegratuit
/criminal /sexual
(pederastic /pedophilic):(crime)25,28,
56,60Ð61,98,225,233;(fatherÕs/
Index311
curiosity (
cont.
&looking/sight: (
observer
)188Ð89,193,
203,205Ð6,211,219,225Ð28,230Ð31,
235,241,244,254;(scopoph
ilia)28,33,
65Ð66,96Ð98,106,112Ð114,116,123,
173,252,283;self25,32Ð33,35Ð36,47,
88,90,149,204Ð5,219Ð41,248Ð49;
(vision)121,185Ð86,189,196;
(voyeurism)37Ð38,45Ð46,51,79,82,
96Ð98,100,112,113,114,248,252;
(with)190Ð199,212Ð13
&magnetism16,18Ð20,46,53,96,101,
135,150,176,200,213,235Ð36,247
manifester
147,201,206Ð7,211,235,
&manipultion25,43Ð44,53,58,170,
177,195,215Ð16,218,227,230,248Ð
49; (
faireagir
)200; (
meneurdejeu
)54;
(perversion)19,54,171
&metamorphosis,
seealso
animals,
insects(caterpillaretc.);&young(the),
adolescents (
tresen formation
):226,
miseenabyme
183,193,211,219Ð25,
226,249
&modernism27Ð28,31Ð32,37
&morality96,216; (
vainecuriositŽ
)144
&naturalhistory,
seealso
animals:34,
85,145Ð47,164Ð82,184,222,272Ð73
&novelty16Ð18,44Ð45,46,50,61Ð62,
87,117,143,178
&passivity15,16,18,20,21,22,37,40,
46,48,53,128,150
&perceptual26
&possession51Ð53,72,95,101,107Ð09,
111,117,129,133,252; (
dŽflorer
)50,
52,100
&professional15,23,147,212,241,
&prolonging30,46Ð47,53,84,86,93,
98,107,109,222
&psychology26,143Ð45,167,169Ð72,
218,242,244
&race104Ð7,113Ð15,123Ð24,148,
183Ð90
&reading/readers15,28,32,35,60,62,
107,203Ð4,221Ð222,229,244
romandÕaventure
see
c.,adventure
&scientific143Ð201
&scopophilia,
see
c.,looking/sight
&sexual23,24,34,55,79Ð141;
(adultery)53,127,131Ð34,137Ð40;
(analsex)53,81,83,84,102,103,106Ð
7,122,128,140Ð41,270;(circleof)
79Ð81,141Ð42;(feminine)50Ð51,149,
152,181,183,201,257,270;(GideÕs
preferences,
seealso
young)36,248;
(homosexuality)40,51,76,196,218,
260,271,273;(infantile)29Ð30,54Ð55,
247,274;(masturbation)58Ð59,86Ð87,
312Index
DŽmarest,Albert266Ð67
Denis,Maurice128,140,170
Diana50,52,101Ð3
Diderot,Denis53,172
Dindiki (
perodicticuspotto
)33,166,176,
Dominique
(Fromentin)145
DonQuixote
(Cervantes)29,53Ð54
Dostoevsky,Fyodor,
see
Gide,
Dosto•evski
Douglas,LordAlfred(Bosy)88Ð92,98,
105,160,216
Drouin,Dominique21
Drouin,Jeanne250Ð51,255Ð56
Drouin,Marcel138,192
Drouin,Michel177
Durosay,Daniel22,23,180,188,189,199,
212,225,227,238
Edouard (
F-Ms
)19,22,23,47,51,54Ð60,
136,150,170Ð71,188,190,203Ð5,211,
215Ð16,220Ð21,225Ð41,243,249
Emmanule (
)138
ÔEmmanuleÕ (
)94,95,132,133,135,
Europe,
Andorra145
Belgium186,191
Bulgaria104
England137
France,
seeseparateentry
Germany167,171
Greece87Ð88,104,183
Italy102
Spain103
Fabre,Jean-Henri,28,146Ð47
father,
seealso
Gide,Paul;&ÔGide,PaulÕ:
57,227,239,258,259;(AlissaÕsfather)
136;(fatherimago)66,68,127,129,
133,135,257;(fatherpimpsson)106;
(fathersleepingwithdaughter)267;
(futurebiologicalfather)57;(Gideas
father)177;(NameoftheFather)161;
(notrealfather)54Ð55,232;(of
ÔEdmundGosseÕ)83,146;
(parricide)194
femininity,
see
gender
fetishism,
seeunder
c.,sexual
Flaubert,Gustave32,52,59,103,164
Forster,E.M.51,143
Foucault,Michel184
FoxKeller,Evelyn182
France:
Brittany115
Franche-ComtŽ:(Jura)145
IledeFrance:(FoyerFranco-Belge)24,
171;(ruedeCommaille,G.ÕsParis
home1883Ð95)257,266,271;(ruede
Tournon,GÕsParishome1875Ð80)265;
(rueVaneau,GÕsParishome1928Ð51)
42,45,260,265,267,269Ð72;(V
Montmorency,GÕsAuteuilhome1906Ð
28)268
Languedoc-Roussillon:(Uzs)145,252Ð
Normandy:(Cuverville,homeofG.and
Madeleine)45,165,170,175,179,256;
(LaRoque-Baignard,sold1900)45,94Ð
96,157,250Ð51,257,268;(LeHavre)
125,127;(ruedeCrosne,Rouen)132,
Provence-Alpes-C™tedÕAzur:(LaBastide,
Brignoles)177,(LaCroix)175
Freud,Sigmund,
see
alsocastration:27,29Ð
30,45,55,64,66,67,68,70Ð71,77,96,
110Ð14,122,123,127,130,131Ð34,
158,173,253,280;(Îdipuscomplex)
29,66,127,130,131Ð34,139,253,262,
263,267
friendship82,88,91Ð92,157,184,190Ð94,
200,207,208,212Ð13,216,238
Gautier18,32
gender,
seealso
c.,genderingof;c.,sexual;
mother;&father:(Androgyde)258;
(genderparadox)258,275;(femininity)
52,80,102,122,124Ð25,140,149Ð52,
154,234,237,239,240,257Ð61;
(feminineinthemasculine)258,261,
263,269;(feminisingthemasculine,
see
also
castration)83;(masculinity)139,
149,151,153,154,159,201,208,234,
236,237,239,257,258Ð63,266Ð69,
273,275;(masculinised library)257,
259,261,263,266Ð67;(masculinising
thefeminine)256Ð65,269
Genevive (
Trilogy
)81Ð82,115,123,128,
141,150
Georges (
F-Ms
)47,227,229Ð32
GŽrard (
Isabelle
)211,222Ð24,230,251
Gertrude (
)128,137,150Ð51,178Ð81
GhŽon,Henri24,97,101,116
Gide,AndrŽ
passim
Acquasanta
33,87,108,237,272
CarnetsdÕEgypte
35,48,99Ð103,105Ð7,
115,128
Corydon
33,80Ð85,105,144,159,164,
167,170Ð72,182,191,260
Index313
Gide (
cont.
Dindiki
see
Dindiki
Dosto•evski
32,33,244
314Index
Hinshelwood,Robert67,68,201,206,209,
232Ð33,236,239,277Ð81
Huysmans,J.-K.,
Arebours
Icarus193,199,201,235,236,274
incuriosity,
seealso
c.,sexual(analsex/
feminine /
vaginadentata
/ with
incuriosity)22,47,52,75,78,80Ð84,
88Ð89,92,95,98,102,104,107,122,
125Ð41,150,157,179,201,221,224,
226,234,239,257,270,274
apathy99Ð100,130
40,105,157
professedincuriosity92,127
prophylacticincuriosity129
seconderŽalitŽ
insolite
127Ð28,130,
132Ð33
Jadin,Jean-Marie22,76,250,275
James,Henry15,27,30,64,203,206,217
James,William27,64,144
JŽr™me (
)22,122Ð25,127,129,134Ð37,
141,161,166,253Ð54
Joubin,Louis174,221,273
JulesetJim
(TruffautafterRochŽ)13
Julius (
Caves
)211,223Ð25,226,229,233,
Kenny,Neil26,64
KjŠr,Ruth209Ð11,265
Klein,Melanie64Ð78
assumingresponsibility/guilt231Ð33,
235,271
cannibalismphantasies76
creativity,
see
separateentry
depressiveposition72Ð78,148Ð49,154Ð
64,232Ð33,277Ð78
epistemophilia65,66,68,7
0Ð72,155Ð
60,274;(nottowardsmotherimago)
250Ð56;(Îdipal)133;(reparative)208;
(sadistic)70Ð72,159,278
fear(ofhostilepart-objects)124,129,
207;(ofresponsibility/guilt)241
Freud,
see
Freud&Klein
giving208
innateknowledgeofsex127
introjection/projection67,69,72Ð73,
121,134,155,159,265,278
motherÕsbody,
see
mother
motherimago,
see
mother
obsessional-neuroticandmanicdefences
154Ð64,201,278Ð79
paranoid-schizoidposition69Ð70,279
part-objects280
playtechnique68,121,156,280
potlatch159
reparationreconfigured256Ð65
sadism66,69Ð78,124,127,154Ð55,
158Ð59,207Ð8,218,232Ð33,235,237,
240Ð41,251Ð52,255,261,270,271,
274Ð75,280
stealing71,158Ð59,270
Knight,Chris258
LaPŽrouse (
F-Ms
)215,221,227Ð29,239,
LaPetiteDame
see
VanRysselberghe,M.
Lafcadio (
Caves
)24Ð25,54,95,151Ð52,
224Ð25,229,233
Lamarck,Jean-Baptiste146
Lambert,Jean20,21,33,41,42,43,49,
102,153,167,173,174,175,177,201,
216,217,269,271,272
Lanux,Pierrede(LaPŽrousemodel)194,
Laura (
F-Ms
)57,136,226,228,229,231,
234,237,239Ð40
Laurens,Paul91,189
lepasteur (
)128,179Ð81
Levesque,Robert41,177,260Ð61
libraries45,134,159,247Ð75
Lorrain,Jean32
Lucey,Michael22,24,36,83,178,188Ð89
LucileBucolin (
)83,115,122Ð25,129,
131,132,136,138Ð39,141,157,166,
253Ð54
Magny,Claude-Edmonde54,61
Ma•akovski,Vladimir195
MallarmŽ,StŽphane32,200
Mann,Klaus13,21,107
Mann,Thomas19,76,125Ð26,254
Marceline (
LÕImm
)45Ð46,48,95,233,237,
251,254Ð55,258,260
MartinduGard,Roger21,33,36,38,43,
46,47,48,50Ð51,60,81Ð82,140Ð41,
148,176Ð77,179,217,256Ð57,268
Marx,Karl110
masculinity,
see
gender
Massis,Henri51,100,171,234,271
Masson,Pierre38,95,149,157,159,168,
200,257,264Ð65
MŽnalque (
LÕImm
)43,44
MŽnalque (
Nourritures
)18,38,44
Mercer,Kobena109,113Ð15,119Ð20
Mercier-Campiche,Marianne22
ÔMŽriemÕ (
)86,90,115,123Ð24,248
Index315
Michel (
LÕImm
)17,44,45Ð46,48,60,95Ð
97,100Ð1,112Ð15,124,169,189,233,
251,254Ð55,257,260,267
Miller,Henry185,236
Millot,Catherine112
MmeSophroniska (
F-ms
)57Ð58,227,228
ÔMohammedÕ (
)80,82Ð83,84,86,91,
140Ð42
Molinier (
F-Ms
)137,150,227,229
Monnier,Adrienne272
Montesquiou,Robertde30Ð31
mother:
bearingwitnesstoc.,reassuring43Ð44,
148Ð49,208,267
castrated/castrating110Ð12
controlled/controlling122,134,139,
160Ð61
curious/desiring136
hauntingdaughter139
imago,
seealso
Klein,obsessional-
neurotic¶noid-schizoidp.;Lucile
Bucolin;Rondeaux,M.70Ð78
passim
122,124,129,132Ð35,140,149,154Ð
passim
,201,206Ð9,211,232,236Ð
37,240,249,250Ð59,261,267Ð68,275,
277Ð80;(signalledbyspecific
vocabulary)150,227,263
motherÕsbody:(1stobjectofknowledge)
127,158,250;(objectofc.)52,250,
253,259;(objectofsadism)159,271
reproductive,creativepowerof
(removed)259Ð60
symbolismof45,120,157,259,271
mourning,
seealso
Klein,depressivep.;&
ÔAndrŽÕ,mourning:134
Moutote,Daniel85
Mulvey,Laura29,55,80,114,124,149,
Nabokov,Vladimir115,193,197,214
Nadar31
Nathana‘l (
Nourritures
)87,120,204
Nietzsche,Friedrich37,64
Îdipus,
seealso
Freud,Îdipuscomplex:
21,29,63,66,72,128,131Ð35,139,
140,253,262,263,267
Olivier (
F-Ms
)19,51,58,60,191,196,197,
218,228Ð31,238Ð40
Pandora55,139,149Ð54,182,258,260,
Pauline (
F-Ms
)60,137,150,226,234,237,
pedagogy22,141,179,273
PeterPan(Barrie)192
316Index
Sindbad149
Steel,David17,95,99,109,138Ð39
Stendhal(Henri-MarieBeyle)151Ð53,157Ð
58,243
Stevenson,RobertLouis31Ð32,193,199
Strohl,Jean167
Symons,Arthur21
Theseus44Ð45,103,
TraitŽdesSensations
(Condillac)179
travel-writing,
seealso
Africa,Asia,Europe
&France:103Ð7
ValŽry,Paul160,212,251,262,265

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