Books: Gide Fad

When Britain's Eighth Army entered Tunis in May 1943, a gaunt, saturnine figure, who looked like an unshaved cardinal, popped out of a hideout in the Italian quarter. He was France's most discussed, most influential man of letters, septuagenarian Novelist Andre Paul Guillaume Gide. German patrols, Gide explained, had captured a copy of his latest, frankest journal of events and he had been in hiding for a month. He soon buttonholed an Eighth Army photographer, plunged into an enthusiastic discussion of pre-Nazi German poetry.

To most Americans Andre Gide's name means little....