Simone de Beauvoir

If you want to be well supplied with reading for the winter,here is someone who wrote both novels and the famous book,The Second Sex.You probably already know de Beauvoir was the partner of Jean Paul Sartre though it was an open relationship.Despite her saying she wanted freedom I suspect she was not totally happy with  that situation and also had many abortions….such a choice is not one most women would make.Here is an interview with her in the  Paris Review

But I just want to introduce her novels here.And thisis for a gneral reader,not an academic.

The most ambitious is “The Mandarins“.It is very much based on her own life and caused much pain to her ex lover Nelson Algren,the writer.You will get a very good idea of post war intellectual life in Paris amongst the founders of

Existentialism .And there are many  portraits of those people and their relationships.My probelns with this novel is

It looks like a novel

It feels like a novel

It’s written  like a novel

But does it come alive?

For me  it is too cerebral and there is  little /contribution from  or  openness to the Imagination.I feel it was written by will power and not by the head and heart.Everything is a little detached,a little cold

On the other hand where is all that commitment  now in our political/cultural  life?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Simone de Beauvoir

  1. I agree with your critique of her book. Actually, I have many reservations about some of her ideas too. But it isn’t important for me to agree with a writer in order to appreciate him or her. However, in de Beauvoir’s case, I find that the writing isn’t all that impressive… but it is interesting.

  2. Cool lady

    Yes,I feel the same..I have read that book more than once for the history and to know how these people lived,but I do feel she was more dominated by Sartre’s wishes than women in a conventional marriage may be.
    As I said,the books never come alive for me but they are worth reading

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