Gide avec Said. Sur un cas d’orientalisme (néo)pédérastique
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The article offers an interpretation of André Gide "L immoraliste" novel by combining the views of the gender and gay and lesbian studies with Edward Said theory of Orientalism. The analysis opens with the summary of the cultural context of late 1800s, hostile to men and women engaging in emotional and sexual relations with people of the same sex. It then goes on to argue that a reference to the ancient paederasty presented a positive alternative to the prevailing attitude of that time towards same sex relations, regarding them as medical pathology. The interpretation of Gide novel demonstrates that the paederastic model based on polarized gender roles is transferred into the new cultural context through the Orientalist ideology. Michael (the main character) (neo)paederastic relations with Arab boys are founded on the dichotomous and hierarchical opposition between the people of the Orient and those of the West. Yet the very Orientalist ideology transforms the (neo)paederastic model into its exact opposite: an Arab boy, enclosed in his otherness, passes his own difference on to his European partner, the (neo)paederast thus beginning to resemble the homosexual who was in turn also enclosed in his alleged radical "otherness" by psychiatrists of the 19th century.
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