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La Symphonie Pastorale/Isabelle

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La Symphonie Pastorale: In beautiful, evocative prose, Gide's short novel explores such themes as love, blindness, honor, and mortality. La Symphonie Pastorale: In beautiful, evocative prose, Gide's short novel explores such themes as love, blindness, honor, and mortality.


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La Symphonie Pastorale: In beautiful, evocative prose, Gide's short novel explores such themes as love, blindness, honor, and mortality. La Symphonie Pastorale: In beautiful, evocative prose, Gide's short novel explores such themes as love, blindness, honor, and mortality.

57 review for La Symphonie Pastorale/Isabelle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Two wonderful novellas, though LSP gets most of the praise. Certainly it sticks in one's mind more than Isabelle, but I think I'd rather re-read the latter: SP is a little too obvious. My rediscovery of Gide has been the reading triumph of the year for me so far, and these two only help that along: clarity, intelligence, some fun and games with forms and frame narratives, but no desire to blow the reader's mind. Most importantly of all, Gide is a dialectical novelist; each story is a careful sta Two wonderful novellas, though LSP gets most of the praise. Certainly it sticks in one's mind more than Isabelle, but I think I'd rather re-read the latter: SP is a little too obvious. My rediscovery of Gide has been the reading triumph of the year for me so far, and these two only help that along: clarity, intelligence, some fun and games with forms and frame narratives, but no desire to blow the reader's mind. Most importantly of all, Gide is a dialectical novelist; each story is a careful staging of an important, intellectual opposition (here, religiosity/sensuality; idealism/realism), and each story allows us to see that the triumph of one pole is inevitably disastrous.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Baz

    One of my favourite books of the year. Gide’s writing is beautiful, delectable, but lucid and precise. It reminded me of Colette’s sensual prose. And Calvino’s. Ugh I loved the writing a lot, it was such a pleasure. And the stories in these two novellas were fascinating. A character in the first novella reflects, ‘Is it not La Rochefoucauld who says that the mind is often the dupe of the heart?’ This question is at the heart of both novellas, where the protagonists are seized, mind, body and sou One of my favourite books of the year. Gide’s writing is beautiful, delectable, but lucid and precise. It reminded me of Colette’s sensual prose. And Calvino’s. Ugh I loved the writing a lot, it was such a pleasure. And the stories in these two novellas were fascinating. A character in the first novella reflects, ‘Is it not La Rochefoucauld who says that the mind is often the dupe of the heart?’ This question is at the heart of both novellas, where the protagonists are seized, mind, body and soul, by their infatuations with people they shouldn’t be involved with, because of what the culture deems nefarious, indecent, and their faith sinful. As the blurb says, ‘Gide shows the tragic effect of love’s rebellion against the confines of common morality.’ My first Gide, The Immoralist, a controversial work that would definitely not get published today, was also a fascinating, gorgeously written and disturbing story. Gide’s fiction explores the tension between the man-made laws of morality that govern the way we live, and the impulses, desires that exist within us that clashes and strains against them. I love Gide’s quest for the truth, for what these standards, conventions, rules mean to our personal freedoms, to individuality. This was my second Gide, and it elevates him to the level of my other French faves Maupassant, Colette, and Balzac.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sunny

    I’m a big fan of Gide after having read 2 books of his previously but this failed to live up to the high expectations. This is 2 books in one. The first book is a really strange story about a pastor who is fairly religious who adopts a blind girl who is pretty dumb also and essentially nurtures her back into normality. Then weirdly he falls in love with her even though she is a third of his age. Gide obviously has magic at his fingertips when it comes to writing styles but this story didn’t rock I’m a big fan of Gide after having read 2 books of his previously but this failed to live up to the high expectations. This is 2 books in one. The first book is a really strange story about a pastor who is fairly religious who adopts a blind girl who is pretty dumb also and essentially nurtures her back into normality. Then weirdly he falls in love with her even though she is a third of his age. Gide obviously has magic at his fingertips when it comes to writing styles but this story didn’t rock me that much. As I am finding with all of Gide’s books this one also had a bit of a shocking ending which you may be able to guess! The second story is also pretty weird. It’s about a random bloke that visits a villa somewhere in France and becomes enamoured with the portrait of the daughter of the house. Slowly he finds out more about her and the mystery around her. This time not that shocking an ending but again I didn’t feel that I could get to grips with what was going on in the story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Isabelle creates expectations, but once on the plateau, it ends, not with unanswered questions, but simply a weak ending. The Pastoral Symphony is notably the real deal here. Shorter, but pungent. Also, in terms of the underlying messages, there is more to gain from this story, and some amazing lines: p. 135 2 symphonies "the only pleasure I can still give Amelie ( wife) is to refrain from doing the things she dislikes. These very negative signs of love are the only ones she allows me. The degree Isabelle creates expectations, but once on the plateau, it ends, not with unanswered questions, but simply a weak ending. The Pastoral Symphony is notably the real deal here. Shorter, but pungent. Also, in terms of the underlying messages, there is more to gain from this story, and some amazing lines: p. 135 2 symphonies "the only pleasure I can still give Amelie ( wife) is to refrain from doing the things she dislikes. These very negative signs of love are the only ones she allows me. The degree to which she has already narrowed my life is a thing she cannot realise."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Helen McClory

    Two stories of men thinking women are what they would like to be, rather than what they are. Felt like the message was the point, and that's pretty uninteresting. Two stories of men thinking women are what they would like to be, rather than what they are. Felt like the message was the point, and that's pretty uninteresting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J

    Simple prose accommodates short stories exploring oppositions and morality.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    I was surprised at first that La Symphonie Pastorale seems to have by far the greater amount of space in the book's reviews, but now I understand. The first story although only 62 pages to Isabelle's 95, is to my mind the better story. It deals with a priest called to a dying woman, who then takes into his family the person he finds apparently deaf, dumb and blind and totally uncomprehending of the situation she is in. His wife is not best pleased, and he takes a keen interest in attempting to e I was surprised at first that La Symphonie Pastorale seems to have by far the greater amount of space in the book's reviews, but now I understand. The first story although only 62 pages to Isabelle's 95, is to my mind the better story. It deals with a priest called to a dying woman, who then takes into his family the person he finds apparently deaf, dumb and blind and totally uncomprehending of the situation she is in. His wife is not best pleased, and he takes a keen interest in attempting to educate her himself. The tale has a twist at the end but I won't give away the story. Isabelle I found maudlin and sentimental and it did not hold my attention nearly so much.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    La Symphonie is a story of forbidden love and loss of faith, and as such its themes are uncomfortably personal for me. The main character's lack of awareness of that in himself which is obvious to all around him is well drawn. In Isabelle, Gide's real interest is not Isabelle but her son Casimir - he may be a slobbering cripple, but he is still morally superior to his awful mother. I read both tales with pleasure in the course of a single afternoon. La Symphonie is a story of forbidden love and loss of faith, and as such its themes are uncomfortably personal for me. The main character's lack of awareness of that in himself which is obvious to all around him is well drawn. In Isabelle, Gide's real interest is not Isabelle but her son Casimir - he may be a slobbering cripple, but he is still morally superior to his awful mother. I read both tales with pleasure in the course of a single afternoon.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kemal

    Isabelle: "As it was, I could hardly recognize the Isabelle my imagination had fallen in love with. Her tale, it is true, was interlarded with interjections; she recriminated against fate; she lamented that in this world poetry & sentiment are always in the wrong; but it grieved me not to hear in her melodious voice any of the warm harmonics of the heart. Not a word of regret for anyone but herself! What! I thought, is that the only way she can love?..." Isabelle: "As it was, I could hardly recognize the Isabelle my imagination had fallen in love with. Her tale, it is true, was interlarded with interjections; she recriminated against fate; she lamented that in this world poetry & sentiment are always in the wrong; but it grieved me not to hear in her melodious voice any of the warm harmonics of the heart. Not a word of regret for anyone but herself! What! I thought, is that the only way she can love?..."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frank Jacobs

    A chance encounter with Andre Gide on a Th. Van Rysselberghe painting, and then with this book in a second-hand shop, compelled me to read these two random 'classics' - which turn out to be quirky horror stories more notable for the literary zeitgeist they represent than for their inherent, semi-gothic quality. A chance encounter with Andre Gide on a Th. Van Rysselberghe painting, and then with this book in a second-hand shop, compelled me to read these two random 'classics' - which turn out to be quirky horror stories more notable for the literary zeitgeist they represent than for their inherent, semi-gothic quality.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    La Symphonie is okay, but I really like Isabelle. A love story. Should read in original French if you can.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aveugle Vogel

    "suffocating smell of poultry" "suffocating smell of poultry"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Troyan

    melodrama in all of its brutal vitality

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    La Symphonie Pastorale is a proto-Lolita exposé of a priest's infatuation with a blind teen, presented through unconvincing diary entries. Though flawed, it was a fascinating downward spiral into jealousy, religious denouncement, and submittance to sinful passion. Isabelle started off bland but matured as sordid discoveries were made, which got the ball rolling on this mysterious, hopeless tale. Strongly reminiscent of The Pupil by Henry James, one of Hardy's Wessex Tales named The Distracted Pre La Symphonie Pastorale is a proto-Lolita exposé of a priest's infatuation with a blind teen, presented through unconvincing diary entries. Though flawed, it was a fascinating downward spiral into jealousy, religious denouncement, and submittance to sinful passion. Isabelle started off bland but matured as sordid discoveries were made, which got the ball rolling on this mysterious, hopeless tale. Strongly reminiscent of The Pupil by Henry James, one of Hardy's Wessex Tales named The Distracted Preacher, and even Lady Chatterley's Lover at times. Dorothy Bussy's quarter-century translation is a bit creaky, but proper crackerjack sentences pop up every once in awhile. Gidé's brilliance shines through as being both thrillingly insightful: Many things would be easily accomplished but for the imaginary objections men sometimes take pleasure in inventing. From our childhood upwards, how often have we been prevented from doing one thing or another we should have liked to do, simply by hearing people about us repeat: 'He won't be able to!...' and flatout hilarious: The Abbé had screwed up his mouth till it looked like the hinder end of a hen, and was letting off a series of small explosions. They're slight things, and will compel fans of Gidé sufficiently, but I felt the spark of emotion failed to render into a full blown flame. The casts' concerns blossom and evolve, though never involve; but don't let this put off these novellas: they're interesting, beautiful, and very much worth reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Socrate

    Gérard Lacase, în casa căruia ne-am reîntâlnit în luna august 189… ne-a dus, pe Francis Jammes şi pe mine, să vizităm castelul Quartfourche, din care nu vor mai rămâne în curând decât nişte ruine, şi vastul lui parc părăginit, în care vara îşi desfăşura fastul la întâmplare. Nimic nu te împiedica să intri: nici şanţul pe jumătate umplut, nici gardul spart, nici poarta scoasă din ţâţâni, care s-a deschis oblic la prima noastră opintire. Alei nu mai erau; pe peluzele năpădite de iarba crescută mai Gérard Lacase, în casa căruia ne-am reîntâlnit în luna august 189… ne-a dus, pe Francis Jammes şi pe mine, să vizităm castelul Quartfourche, din care nu vor mai rămâne în curând decât nişte ruine, şi vastul lui parc părăginit, în care vara îşi desfăşura fastul la întâmplare. Nimic nu te împiedica să intri: nici şanţul pe jumătate umplut, nici gardul spart, nici poarta scoasă din ţâţâni, care s-a deschis oblic la prima noastră opintire. Alei nu mai erau; pe peluzele năpădite de iarba crescută mai mult decât din abundenţă nişte vaci păşteau în voie; altele căutau răcoarea în scobiturile unor masive râpoase; ici şi colo, prin profuziunea sălbatică, abia se desluşeau câte o floare sau câte un frunziş neobişnuit, perseverentă rămăşiţă a vechilor culturi, aproape înăbuşite de speciile mai comune.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hsu Jui-Ting

    While the two novellas have a degree of compulsion to them, they're often incited by the actions, or mis-actions of wanton and passive women - so not a good read if you're looking for something with a bit more contemporary relevance. La Symphonie Pastorale is the more famed, and more succinct of the two, but Isabelle is no slouch in narrative - both as they are presented as recollections, and tinged with unreliability by their narrators. While the two novellas have a degree of compulsion to them, they're often incited by the actions, or mis-actions of wanton and passive women - so not a good read if you're looking for something with a bit more contemporary relevance. La Symphonie Pastorale is the more famed, and more succinct of the two, but Isabelle is no slouch in narrative - both as they are presented as recollections, and tinged with unreliability by their narrators.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    2 novellas, the first was interesting with a profoundly implausible and disappointing ending, while the second was so beautifully written and descriptive that the contrived and unsatisfying ending barely detracted! Although first published in 1911 it feels like they were written half a century earlier.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eri

  19. 4 out of 5

    Philip Tidman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alba

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  22. 4 out of 5

    George

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ebun

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nix

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aline Medri

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tigergirl

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brendan M

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bahar Ranjbar

  31. 4 out of 5

    Nima Hoss

  32. 5 out of 5

    El

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  34. 4 out of 5

    BookSwim.com Book Rental Online

  35. 5 out of 5

    Choppy

  36. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Kelly

  37. 4 out of 5

    dusty

  38. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

  39. 4 out of 5

    Tom Willard

  40. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

  41. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Baughman

  42. 5 out of 5

    Tim Janes

  43. 4 out of 5

    Sreevidhya

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

  45. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  46. 5 out of 5

    Holmes

  47. 4 out of 5

    Toya

  48. 5 out of 5

    Bernardo Villela

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jesse K

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Clewett

  51. 4 out of 5

    Djtheterrible

  52. 4 out of 5

    Kate Mcphail

  53. 4 out of 5

    Petra Bayrami

  54. 4 out of 5

    Reza Hormati

  55. 4 out of 5

    Jafar

  56. 5 out of 5

    samira

  57. 5 out of 5

    Helena

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