Born: November 22, 1869, Paris, France
Died: February 19, 1951, Paris, France
Lived: 1021 Route du Château, 76280 Cuverville, France (49.6585, 0.27183)
Education: Lycée Henri-IV
Buried: Cimetière de Cuverville, Cuverville, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Find A Grave Memorial# 9267056
Movies: Travels in the Congo, La Symphonie pastorale, The Counterfeiters
Influenced by: Oscar Wilde, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, more
XVIII century manor house built by Chevalier de Cuverville. The Rondeaux family acquired it around 1820. André Gide lived there.
Address: 1021 Route du Château, 76280 Cuverville, France (49.6585, 0.27183)
Type: Private Property
Cuverville-en-Caux (pop. 233) nestles in the Lezarde valley a few miles inland from the Normandy coast and would be unknown to the world if André Gide, Nobel Laureate for literature, hadn't lived there. In 1996 the current owner of Cuverville's manor house, in which Gide lived and wrote for more than 50 years, decided that the place needed renovating. He contacted respected architect Jean-Claude Rochette, formerly France's inspector general of historic monuments, for advice on what needed doing. Rochette decided that the manor needed to be restored to the way it looked when it was built in 1735. As a result, off came the white shutters that Gide knew during the last century, builders chipped away at the pale yellow rendering to uncover wine-coloured bricks, six rectangular columns were revealed and the pediment above them was painted white. According to Emmanuel de Roux of Le Monde: “The renovation works have given the place the profile of a British manor house, chic and elegant, but one that the writer who stayed there until his death would not recognise at all.” Dominique Rouin inherited the house from Gide's widow Madeleine, and sold it to the current owner in 1963. At present the house is private and is not open to the public. In one of Gide's best novels, “La Porte Etroite” (Strait is the Gate, 1909), Cuverville features under the guise of the fictional village of Fougueusemare (a rather poor guise since there is a real-life village of Fougueusemare just up the road). The manor house itself receives a less-than-glowing description: “Standing in a garden which is neither very large nor very fine, and which has nothing special to distinguish it from a number of other Normandy gardens, the white two-storeyed building, resembles a great many country houses of the century before last. A score of large windows look east onto the front of the garden; as many more on to the back; there are none at the sides.” The house also figures in Gide's novel “The Immoralists” and in his “Journals.” It was at Cuverville that Gide received some of the great European literary figures, including the poet Paul Valéry, for tennis parties and literary discussions. Here he also worked with the co-founders of the Nouvelle Revue Française, one of Europe's most important literary journals.
Who: André Paul Guillaume Gide (22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951)
André Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight". Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars. Gide was born in Paris on 22 November 1869, into a middle-class Protestant family. His father was a Paris University professor of law who died in 1880. His uncle was the political economist Charles Gide, who owned much of Cuverville. Gide was brought up in isolated conditions in Normandy and became a prolific writer at an early age, publishing his first novel, “The Notebooks of André Walter” (French: Les Cahiers d'André Walter), in 1891, at the age of twenty-one. In 1893 and 1894, Gide travelled in Northern Africa, and it was there that he came to accept his attraction to boys. He befriended Oscar Wilde in Paris, and in 1895 Gide and Wilde met in Algiers. Wilde had the impression that he had introduced Gide to homosexuality, but, in fact, Gide had already discovered this on his own. He defended homosexuality in the public edition of “Corydon” (1924) and received widespread condemnation. He later considered this his most important work. In 1916, Marc Allégret, only 15 years old, became his lover. Marc was the son of Elie Allégret, best man at Gide's wedding. Of Allégret's five children, Gide adopted Marc. The two fled to London, in retribution for which his wife burned all his correspondence – "the best part of myself," he later commented. In 1918, he met Dorothy Bussy, who was his friend for over thirty years and translated many of his works into English. In 1923, he sired a daughter, Catherine, by Elisabeth van Rysselberghe, a woman who was much younger than he. He had known her for a long time, as she was the daughter of his closest female friend, Maria Monnom, the wife of his friend the Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe. This caused the only crisis in the long-standing relationship between Allégret and Gide and damaged the relation with van Rysselberghe. This was possibly Gide's only sexual liaison with a woman, and it was brief in the extreme. Catherine became his only descendant by blood. He liked to call Elisabeth "La Dame Blanche" ("The White Lady"). Elisabeth eventually left her husband to move to Paris and manage the practical aspects of Gide's life (they had adjoining apartments built for each on the rue Vavin). She worshiped him, but evidently they no longer had a sexual relationship. Allégret’s relationship with Gide ended in 1927, as Allégret found out that he preferred women after having experiences with women. They nevertheless remained close friends until Gide's death in 1951. Gide is buried at Cuverville, in the churchyard.
Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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