Who is André Gide? I had known of him, yet not known him. I had heard of him, but not heard of him. Why? How? Because of quotes from his writings that had been scattered upon my way since coming out. Yet I knew him not; he was just someone whose name was at the end of a quote.
The other day, however, I chanced upon a website which had as it's banner the following quote by Gide:
"It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves."
I was intrigued. Who was André Gide? Turns out he was a French novelist and essayist, that he was gay, that he was friends with, among others, Oscar Wilde, and that he was the first openly gay man to win the Noble Prize for Literature.
As I poked around the Internet and learned a bit more about him, I came across this quote which in a way summarizes the process of coming out of the closet:
"It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not."
These are very, very powerful words with which I was familiar from my early blogging as Invictus Pilgrim.
I had also run across this quote:
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Now that I knew a little bit about the man who wrote these words, I wanted to learn more. His writing, as I became more exposed to it, reminded me of works of French existentialists that I had read in college. Upon Googling, I see that he was indeed considered a forerunner of existentialist thought.
Then the conundrum: where to start learning more about him. I decided to begin with his work Autumn Leaves. I can tell I'm in for a feast. The following are some of the selected quotes set forth in the introduction to the book:
"Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself - and thus make yourself indispensable."
"Sin is whatever obscures the soul."
"Dare to be yourself."
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
"Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness."
"The color of truth is grey."
"The scholar seeks, the artist finds."
"Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you."
I can hardly wait to begin reading, then writing about what I read.