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On Gide's PROMETHEE: Private Myth and Public Mystification

On Gide's PROMETHEE: Private Myth and Public Mystification

KURT WEINBERG
Copyright Date: 1972
Pages: 159
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0wtj
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  • Book Info
    On Gide's PROMETHEE: Private Myth and Public Mystification
    Book Description:

    Through a careful rendering of the text, deciphering its hidden ironies, Mr. Weinberg seesProméthéeas a modern allegory, a parable wrought of allusions, symbols, and images drawn from classical antiquity and calvinist theology, and a multi-leveledsotie à miroirs.

    Originally published in 1972.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7169-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction. GIDE AND THE NOVEL
    (pp. 3-34)

    “A novel [Roman] is a romantic book,” declares Antonio, somewhat perplexingly, in Friedrich Schlegel’sGespräch über die Poesie(1800). His formula would seem tautological, were it not for the Schlegels’ broad definition of “romantic”: as universal poetry the novel is meant to embrace the grotesque, the lyric, the epic, drama, myth, irony. It holds a mirror to history (contemporary and past) but, above all, it provides veiled insights into the author’s intimate world. The novel, a poetic mixture of genres in prose (Mischgedicht), simultaneously allows the epic display of actions, the dramatic vivisection of passions and delusions, the lyrical gamut...

  6. One. A DIVINE GRATUITY, OR THE MISFORTUNES OF THE ELECT
    (pp. 35-62)

    The meaning of theProméthéelogically derives from an exposition which precedes it in the form of a prologue. A sort of slapstick prelude, it is narrated dispassionately, dryly reported without commentary like afait divers: “On the boulevard which leads from the Madeleine to the Opéra,” a fat gentleman drops his handkerchief. A lean man picks it up, runs after the fat one and returns it to him. The fat gentleman gives the lean one a flask with “portable ink,” a pen, and an envelope, inviting him to address it to a “name” he knows. After having put a...

  7. Two. ON THE SEESAW OF TWIN PREDESTINATION
    (pp. 63-86)

    The dichotomy of “Histoire de Codès,” “Histoire de Damoclès,” represents two blundering attitudes of the faithful throughout the history of Christianity. Inseparably linked by Providence, Coclès and Damoclès play thesotieof the two equally impenetrable aims, the mysterious ends of predestination according to Augustine and Calvin: election and preterition. Ambiguous is the choice of either man, ambiguous his potential rejection. Both seem to be chosen and doomed by turns, and again chosen after their doom,gratuitement, fortuitement, providentiellement(331), in accordance with Matt. 19 : 30: “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be...

  8. Three. “HISTOIRE DE TITYRE”
    (pp. 87-125)

    The literarysotieis formally added to the theological one in “Histoire de Tityre,” the anecdotal digression to Prometheus’s funeral oration on Damoclès. It reveals a multiple narcissism, a technique of ironic self-reflectionsad infinitumof theProméthée’s major themes and protagonists in the hall of mirrors of literary allusions, which evoke in the reader’s mind associations as numerous as the enticements of Echo the nymph. From Gide’s previous works now emerge parabolical figures who owe their names, as well as clues to their character, to Virgil’sBucolica. Tityre (Paludes) and Ménalque (Les Nourritures terrestres) are joined by Moelibée. With...

  9. Four. MORAL: THE LIBERATING LEAP BEYOND HISTORY
    (pp. 126-138)

    “Un rire irrépressible secoua quelques instants L’auditoire” (339). The audience reaction seems to justify what foresight (Prometheus) had to foretell: the audience indeed shows no understanding whatever for Prometheus’s parable. The irrepressible laughter which greets the (foregone) conclusion of “Histoire de Tityre” confirms that both its form and its lesson (onChristum crucifixum) isgentibus stultitiam(I Cor. 1 : 23), for the ignorant multitude—a foolishness,une sottise, une sotie. Literal-minded and iconoclastic, the multitude fails to perceive the figurative meaning, the spirit behind the letter; it cannot see the satire for the farce. “Messieurs, je suis heureux que...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 139-140)
  11. Index
    (pp. 141-145)
  12. PRINCETON ESSAYS IN EUROPEAN AND COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
    (pp. 146-146)