Andre Gide et l'idee de la nation
This dissertation studies the idea of nation, as well as that of nationalism, in the works of Andre Gide. Even though Gide thought of himself as primarily a writer and an artist, he did not remain indifferent to the social and political events that shook his country from the Dreyfus Affair to the Second World War. Even if he never gathered all of his political thoughts in a single text, most of them, which also tie into his literary and cultural discussions, can be found in his collections of essays and speeches, as well as in his Journal and his abundant correspondence with French and foreign writers and thinkers. The study of Gide's statements on political and cultural issues enables me to trace the development of his political and cultural perception of the French nation, as contrasted to others, especially Germany, and his views on nationalism, as well as his idea of a new, united Europe In his view, the basis of French culture, which also accounted for its cultural vitality, was its diversity. The nationalist movement of the late nineteenth century, however, under the influence of such writers as Maurice Barres and Charles Maurras, while focusing exclusively on the Latin elements of the French tradition, also barred any cosmopolitism, which, in Gide's eyes, doomed his country to mental atrophy. Therefore, from the 1890s to the end of the Second World war, Gide was to combat this nationalism, and the Nouvelle Revue Francaise, which he helped found in 1909 became the stronghold of cosmopolitanism. Between the two world wars, Gide came to see German culture as not opposed, but complementary to his own and committed himself to bringing together the two archrival enemies of France and Germany. He also conceived of a new Europe which, avoiding both nationalism and internationalism, would encourage each country to develop their very own culture, while at the same time respecting that of the others, so as to not shut out any of the voices in the great European concert of nations. In fact Gide thus promoted his own kind of European 'nationalism.'