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Letters to Sartre
     

Letters to Sartre

5.0 1
by Simone de Beauvoir, Quintin Hoare (Editor)
 

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Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre formed one of the most famous literary couples of the twentieth century. Their relationship took on the quality of legend and served as a model of openness and honesty for countless men and women. Sartre was revered during his lifetime as a paradigm of the modern philosophe and intellectual, but since de

Overview


Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre formed one of the most famous literary couples of the twentieth century. Their relationship took on the quality of legend and served as a model of openness and honesty for countless men and women. Sartre was revered during his lifetime as a paradigm of the modern philosophe and intellectual, but since de Beauvoir’s death in 1986, her literary reputation has threatened to eclipse Sartre’s. Her work The Second Sex is, by any standard, one of the most important and influential books of the twentieth century. 

When these private and revealing letters were published in France in 1990, they caused a storm of controversy. Here de Beauvoir tells Sartre everything, tracing the extraordinary complications of their triangular love life. These letters reveal de Beauvoir not only as manipulative and dependent, but also as vulnerable, passionate, jealous, and committed. This reissue of a New York Times Notable Book will inspire philosophers, writers, and lovers of literature for decades to come.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Belying her public persona of the liberated woman, de Beauvoir's epistolary outpourings to longtime companion Jean-Paul Sartre reveal her obsessive need to record for him the minutest details of her life. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Found in a cupboard and published last year in France, these "lost" love letters follow upon Deirdre Bair's magnificent Simone de Beauvoir (1990) with revelations about the author of The Second Sex and the exact nature of her extraordinary relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. This passionate, intriguing correspondence (finely translated by Hoare) begins in 1930, when Beauvoir is 21. The bulk Beauvoir writes almost daily from Paris during WW II, when Sartre is in the army and then a prisoner. (The streets, she writes, are "beautiful and sinister after 11—almost deserted, save for constant police patrols, on foot or bicycle, with big capes and gleaming helmets.") Here, in perhaps her most authentic voice, Beauvoir presents herself to Sartre as a devoted lover, desperate for his letters, calling him "my life's own self." Along with quotidian facts of money, classes, and cafes, of reading Dead Souls or watching a James Cagney movie, come wonderful observations—"There are tiny memories which tear at my heart...whereas I'm left quite unmoved by the big, serious things"; or, "belief and desire are really one and the same." What is bound to stir debate is Beauvoir's breathtaking honesty with Sartre about her "contingent" relationships and the fact that, to the end of her life, she gave to the public but a partial and polished view of these affairs. In particular, Beauvoir describes her ongoing emotional and physical involvement—every intrigue and skirmish—with three former students who were also lovers of Sartre. ("But what barren nourishment—all these people who aren't you!") The passion and openness persist in letters written from America (1947- 51), where, through the"wire lattice-work" of the Brooklyn Bridge, she sees "red sky" and "gulls on the water," or questions her affair with Nelson Algren ("was it my own sadness that made him gloomy that first month?"). Essential reading for anyone wanting to fathom this still towering, contradictory, revolutionary feminist, what she wrote, and what she made of her life. (Illustrated with ten autograph letters.)

From the Publisher
"There is more than a whiff of Les Liaisons Dangereuses about these pages." - Spectator

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611454987
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
06/01/2012
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
353,541
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Simone de Beauvoir taught philosophy at the Sorbonne between 1931 and 1943. Her many books include The Second Sex, the novels She Came to Stay and The Mandarins and her great autobiographical writings from Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter to Old Age. De Beauvoir died in 1986.

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Letters to Sartre 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago