Lafcadio's Adventures Characters

Andre Gide

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Lafcadio Wluiki

Lafcadio Wluiki (laf-KAH-dee-oh lew-KEE), a charming nineteen-year-old, born a bastard, whose natural father turns out to be the dying Count Juste-Agénor de Baraglioul. Lafcadio is a free spirit, deliberately eschewing any kind of bond or constraint. His spirit of adventure and his obsession with the possibilities of his own nature lead him to test himself in a gamelike fashion, by pushing out of a speeding train, without any specific reason, Amédée Fleurissoire, whom he had never met before. This paradigmatic expression of the “gratuitous act” affects the lives of most of the characters. At the end, torn between conflicting tendencies, he tears away from Geneviève’s arms and seems ready to plunge into the unpredictable drifts of life.

Julius de Baraglioul

Julius de Baraglioul (zhew-LYEWS deh bah-rah-GLYEWL), a pompous, narrow-minded, pious writer of mediocre novels. He is Lafcadio’s half brother. His ultimate goal is to be elected to the French Academy. At one point, having realized that his writing system distorts reality, he undergoes an allegedly radical metamorphosis, sets up to attack logic and consistency, and conceives a young hero who will perform a “gratuitous act.” Faced with the reality of an unmotivated crime, namely Amédée’s murder, he refutes it with vehemence and is driven back to his old, narrow ideological system, his boldness surfacing only on paper. Through Julius, the author caricatures the figure of the novelist and calls into question the process of writing itself.

Juste-Agénor de Baraglioul

Juste-Agénor de Baraglioul (zhewst ah-gay-NOHR), a wealthy aristocrat, the father of Julius and Lafcadio. He never openly reveals that he is Lafcadio’s natural father, but he summons Lafcadio before dying and bequeaths him part of his fortune.


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The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Most of the characters in this ironic novel of deception and betrayal are either simpletons or sophisticates. Chief among the first group are the “wise fools,” Amedee Fleurissoire and his friend Gaston Blafaphas. Because of their innocence, they are easy victims of knavery. Nevertheless, they are “wise,” for their simple piety protects them from cynicism in a world of ambiguous moral choice.

Similarly, most of the sheltered women in Lafcadio’s Adventures are innocent to the point of simplicity: Veronica Armand-Dubois, Marguerite de Baraglioul (and her daughter Genevieve), and Arnica Fleurissoire. All are conventionally religious, unimaginative, and complaisant in the round of their domestic obligations. They are also notably lacking in sexual passion, with the possible exception of Genevieve, who is romantic yet untried. More sexually experienced, though also inherently simple in spirit, is Carola Venitequa, who sacrifices herself in defense of her unlikely hero, Amedee. Also included, with some qualifications, among the wise fools is Anthime Armand-Dubois. A fanatic, whether of science or of religion, he is a true believer in absolutes. He sways back and forth between extreme intellectual positions, mistaking absolute reality for the temporary resiliency of his bones and joints. He muddles through life, never fully comprehending a reality apart from his own prejudices and superstitions.

At the opposite pole are the...

(The entire section is 419 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bree, Germaine. Gide, 1963.

Cordle, Thomas. André Gide, 1969.

Fowlie, Wallace. André Gide: His Life and Art, 1965.

Guerard, Albert Joseph. André Gide, 1969 (revised edition).

Perry, Kenneth. The Religious Symbolism of André Gide, 1969.