Journal Article

André Gide's Paludes: A Diary Novel?

Sam Ferguson

in French Studies

Published on behalf of Society for French Studies

Volume 68, issue 1, pages 34-47
Published in print January 2014 | ISSN: 0016-1128
Published online January 2014 | e-ISSN: 1468-2931 | DOI:
André Gide's Paludes: A Diary Novel?

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  • Literary Studies (European)
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André Gide's Paludes (1895) has been rediscovered and reinvented by successive generations of readers. In the process an aspect of the text has been obscured that has relevance both to the original context of the work's publication and for modern readers: its problematic status as diary-writing. The abundant and unconventional paratext makes conflicting claims about the nature of the work, invoking both novelistic and diaristic codes. These indeterminacies continue into the main text, in the principal narrative's ambiguous status as a journal intime, and in its oppositions with other narrative instances (especially the narrator's own literary project, also entitled ‘Paludes’). The diary-writing in the text plays a central role in the philosophical problems confronted by the narrator. Paludes occupies a critical point of experimentation in the trajectory of published diary-writing in Gide's career (and, as such, in the history of the publication of diaries in France), exploring the possible relationship of the diary with the literary œuvre, and its capacity for addressing philosophical and aesthetic questions. The pertinence of this experimentation to the modern field of life-writing makes this a suitable moment for another rediscovery of this text.

Journal Article.  6954 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (European) ; European Languages ; European History

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