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Simone de Sartre

Douglas Johnson, 7 June 1984

La Cérémonie des Adieux 
by Simone deBeauvoir.
Gallimard, 559 pp., frs 90
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Simone deBeauvoir Today 
by Alice Schwarzer, translated by Marianne Howarth.
Chatto, 120 pp., £6.95, February 1984, 0 7011 2784 8
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Lettres au Castor et à Quelques Autres 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by Simone deBeauvoir.
Gallimard, 520 pp., frs 120, May 1983, 9782070260782
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... Has anyone ever written a satirical account of the first meeting between Simone deBeauvoir and Sartre? In an age when victims long to be mocked, in a country where satire is an essential part of the cultural heritage, and with two principals who have together inspired much controversy and aroused much dislike, the apparent absence of ridicule must be significant ...

La Grande Sartreuse

Douglas Johnson, 15 October 1981

Simone deBeauvoir and the Limits of Commitment 
by Anne Whitmarsh.
Cambridge, 212 pp., £14.50, June 1981, 9780521236690
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Un Fils Rebelle 
by Olivier Todd.
Grasset, 293 pp., £5.50, June 1981, 2 246 21231 6
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The Intellectual Resistance in Europe 
by James Wilkinson.
Harvard, 358 pp., £14, July 1981, 0 674 45775 7
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... many who will find it significant that Anne Whitmarsh, beginning a careful and detailed study of Simone deBeauvoir with a section called ‘Biographical Notes’, should make the first entry read, ‘1905 21 June: Jean-Paul Sartre born in Paris’, and the last: ‘1980: Death of Sartre’. There are those for whom ...

L’Emmerdeur

Douglas Johnson, 20 May 1982

La Cérémonie des Adieux 
by Simone deBeauvoir.
Gallimard, 559 pp., £9.25, November 1981
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Mes Années Sartre 
by Georges Michel.
Hachette, 217 pp., £6.15
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Oeuvres Romanesques 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka.
Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2174 pp., £22.50, January 1982
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... sense typical) is not usually shared by the more cynical and abrupt French – ‘un emmerdeur de moins,’ replied a Paris lycée teacher when her pupils asked her what she thought about the death of Bernard Shaw. But it was the French who, on this occasion, showed the greater sentimentality. The news of Sartre’s death was greeted with general ...

Baby-Sitter

Elaine Showalter, 14 June 1990

Simone deBeauvoirA Biography 
by Deirdre Bair.
Cape, 718 pp., £19.95, June 1990, 9780224020480
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol I: 1930-1939 
by Simone deBeauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 400 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071829 8
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol II: 1940-1963 
by Simone deBeauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 443 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071864 6
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Journal de Guerre, Septembre 1939-Janvier 1941 
by Simone deBeauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 371 pp., February 1990, 2 07 071809 3
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In the Shadow of Sartre 
by Liliane Siegel, translated by Barbara Wright.
182 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 9780002153362
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... In an uncharacteristic moment of playfulness during her affair with Nelson Algren, Simone deBeauvoir called herself his ‘frog wife’. Although it echoed his tough-guy slang about their Paris-Chicago romance, the phrase has the ring of feminist fable. Like Hans Christian Andersen’s little mermaid, whose story Beauvoir wept over as a child, the frog wife is a changeling, unlike other women; pebbly and awkward, she cannot wed the prince ...

More than ever, and for ever

Michael Rogin: Beauvoir and Nelson Algren, 17 September 1998

Beloved Chicago Man: Letters to Nelson Algren 1947-64 
by Simone deBeauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gollancz, 624 pp., £25, August 1998, 0 575 06590 7
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America Day by Day 
by Simone deBeauvoir, translated by Carol Cosman.
California, 355 pp., $27.50, January 1999, 0 520 20979 6
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... Early in 1947 Simone deBeauvoir made her first trip to the United Sates. The Cold War was beginning and, like Sartre, Camus and the rest of their circle, she was searching for a third-camp alternative to Stalinism and American imperialism. Beauvoir was drawn to the United States for other reasons, anticipating, as she put it at the beginning of America Day by Day, the chronicle of the journey that she published the year after she returned to France, ‘a world so full, so rich, and so unexpected that I’ll have the extraordinary adventure of becoming a different me ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson, 3 December 1992

Letters to Sartre 
by Simone deBeauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four volumes of Beauvoir’s memoirs, those translated as The Prime of ...

The Spirit Award

Daisy Fried, 9 February 2012

... his poems ahead of him not yet talking to the sun at Key West, his liver not yet enlarged. Simone deBeauvoir travelling America, falling in love with Nelson Algren, describing the US in pronouncements mostly pissed and mostly ...

Female Relationships

Stephen Bann, 1 July 1982

When things of the spirit come first 
by Simone deBeauvoir, translated by Patrick O’Brian.
Deutsch, 212 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 0 233 97462 8
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Union Street 
by Pat Barker.
Virago, 266 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 9780860682820
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Lady Oracle 
by Margaret Atwood.
Virago, 346 pp., £3.50, June 1982, 0 86068 303 6
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Bodily Harm 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 302 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02016 1
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Hearts: A Novel 
by Hilma Wolitzer.
Harvester, 324 pp., £6.95, June 1982, 9780710804754
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Pzyche 
by Amanda Hemingway.
Faber, 236 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 571 11875 5
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December Flower 
by Judy Allen.
Duckworth, 176 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 7156 1644 7
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... Simone deBeauvoir had to change her original title for When things of the spirit come first, because it had been unexpectedly pre-empted by the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain. The new title which she picked (Quand prime le spirituel) was a simple variant of the other (Primauté du Spirituel), and the difference has in any case become insignificant in the English translation ...

Complaining

Brian Barry, 23 November 1989

The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the 20th Century 
by Michael Walzer.
Halban, 260 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 1 870015 20 7
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... and Albert Camus in relation to the Algerian war. The following three chapters are devoted to Simone deBeauvoir, Marcuse and Foucault. The last author (and the only live one) is the exiled Afrikaner Breyten Breytenbach. What do these writers have in common? One is that they are all on the left. They supported the ...

The Adulteress Wife

Toril Moi: Beauvoir Misrepresented, 11 February 2010

The Second Sex 
by Simone deBeauvoir and Constance Borde, translated by Sheila Malovany-Chevallier.
Cape, 822 pp., £30, November 2009, 978 0 224 07859 7
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... In June 1946 Simone deBeauvoir was 38. She had just finished The Ethics of Ambiguity, and was wondering what to write next. Urged by Jean Genet, she went to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, on show for the first time after the war. Citizen Kane was also being shown in Paris for the first time, and Beauvoir was impressed: Orson Welles had revolutionised cinema ...

Allowed to speak

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 19 November 1992

Sororophobia: Differences Among Women in Literature and Culture 
by Helena Michie.
Oxford, 216 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 507387 8
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Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic 
by Elisabeth Bronfen.
Manchester, 460 pp., £45, October 1992, 0 7190 3827 8
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... The category of the Other,’ Simone deBeauvoir declared in the opening pages of The Second Sex, ‘is as primordial as consciousness itself.’ No doubt she was right. But it is hard to believe that the term has ever had such intellectual currency as it has at present ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: What Writers Wear, 26 July 2017

... laboured. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the women and the gay men make the most interesting studies. Simone deBeauvoir, whose silk dresses, turbans and perfect manicures bore witness to her willingness to undertake what she called ‘the work’ of fashion, says in The Second Sex: ‘dressing up is … a uniform and an ...

Suiting yourself

Peter Campbell, 27 July 1989

I Modi. The Sixteen Pleasures: An Erotic Album of Renaissance Italy 
by Lynne Lawner.
Northwestern, 132 pp., $35.95, February 1989, 0 8101 0803 8
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The Dress of the Venetians 1495-1525 
by Stella Mary Newton.
Scolar, 196 pp., £28.50, December 1988, 0 85967 735 4
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Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: René Bouët-Willamez and Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: Carl Erickson 
by William Parker.
Joseph, 128 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 0 86350 198 2
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Women and Fashion 
by Caroline Evans and Minna Thornton.
Quartet, 184 pp., £15, March 1989, 0 7043 2691 4
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... in the British Museum, and drawings made in the mid-19th century by Count Frédéric-Maximilien de Waldeck, based on a set of the engravings found, he said, in a Mexican convent, seem likely to be genuine reconstructions. They conform both with the British Museum fragments and with an edition in which the original engravings have been copied as woodcuts ...

The earth had need of me

Joanna Biggs: A nice girl like Simone, 16 April 2020

Becoming BeauvoirA Life 
by Kate Kirkpatrick.
Bloomsbury, 476 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 1 350 04717 4
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Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone deBeauvoir and Me, a Memoir 
by Deirdre Bair.
Atlantic, 347 pp., £18.99, February, 978 1 78649 265 4
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Diary of a Philosophy Student, Vol. II: 1928-29 
by Simone deBeauvoir, translated by Barbara Klaw.
Illinois, 374 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 0 252 04254 6
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... Almost​ from the moment she published The Second Sex in November 1949, Simone deBeauvoir was asked why she’d never written a female character who lived a free life, the sort she imagined in her final chapter, ‘The Independent Woman’. If the mother of 20th-century feminism couldn’t imagine a free woman, who could? At first she would answer brusquely ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: Marguerite Duras, 5 October 2016

... that he’d love her until death’. Duras liked other women if they were actresses; she loathed Simone deBeauvoir but counted Nathalie Sarraute as one of her closest friends. She was wary of feminism as one of ‘all these rather obtuse forms of activism that don’t always lead to true female ...

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