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MADELEINE by Andre Gide translated, with an introduction and notes by Justin O'Brien (Elephant Paperbacks: $6.95)

December 17, 1989|CHARLES SOLOMON

An intensely personal chronicle of the Nobel Laureate's curious marriage to his cousin, Madeleine Rondeaux. Andre Gide adored his wife with a remote, spiritual love that apparently precluded nearly all physical contact. He never denied his homosexual impulses, and although he regrets the sorrow his passions caused her, he saves his bitterest regrets for a long series of letters to her that she destroyed in an uncharacteristic fit of anger. Ultimately, the reader learns relatively little about Madeleine Rondeaux, but a great deal about the author of "The Counterfeiters" and the darkness that underlay what the French term a mariage blanc.

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