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Anaïs Nin 
by Deirdre Bair.
Bloomsbury, 654 pp., £20, April 1995, 0 7475 2135 2
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Conversations with Anaïs Nin 
edited by Wendy Dubow.
Mississippi, 254 pp., $37.95, December 1994, 0 87805 719 6
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... provided us with an excuse to remain stuck in the revolving door of self-absorption. According to Deirdre Bair, ‘sex, the self and psychoanalysis’ are three of the concepts that have brought ‘sweeping societal change’ to our century. She doesn’t say whether we should rejoice over this, or wonder in dismay if solipsism hasn’t become the ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson, 3 December 1992

Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir 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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... 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 Life, Force of Circumstance, All Said and Done and Adieux: A ...

Baby-Sitter

Elaine Showalter, 14 June 1990

Simone de Beauvoir: A 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 de Beauvoir, 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 de Beauvoir, 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 de Beauvoir, 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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... marriage, waiting to be loved and released into her true kingdom of the body and mind. Deirdre Bair’s massive and enthralling biography, the product of almost a decade’s writing and research, shows the steps by which Beauvoir lived out this ‘myth of femininity’, breaking away from the prudery and narrowness of a Catholic girlhood in ...

Mother’s back

Lorna Sage: Feminists with Tenure, 18 May 2000

What is a Woman? And Other Essays 
by Toril Moi.
Oxford, 517 pp., £25, October 1999, 9780198122425
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... not a deconstructionist, more of a righteous wrecker. Beauvoir told her eager biographer Deirdre Bair (who came to resent her superior glumness, if you read between the lines) that when she wrote The Second Sex she was ‘the messenger who brings the bad news’, and Moi has assumed her mantle. So although she laments the reluctance of feminist ...

The earth had need of me

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

Becoming Beauvoir: A Life 
by Kate Kirkpatrick.
Bloomsbury, 476 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 1 350 04717 4
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Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir 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 de Beauvoir, translated by Barbara Klaw.
Illinois, 374 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 0 252 04254 6
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... carrying his toddler on his shoulders in the funeral throng told Beauvoir’s first biographer, Deirdre Bair, that he wanted to be able to tell his daughter when she was older that they’d paid homage to a great woman. (Engraved over the columns of the Panthéon, a short walk from La Coupole, is the line ‘Aux Grands Hommes, la Patrie ...

Il n’y a pas de Beckett

Christopher Prendergast, 14 November 1996

Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett 
by James Knowlson.
Bloomsbury, 872 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 7475 2719 9
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Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist 
by Anthony Cronin.
HarperCollins, 645 pp., £25, October 1996, 9780246137692
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol I: Waiting for Godot 
edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson.
Faber, 472 pp., £75, March 1994, 0 571 14543 4
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol II: Endgame 
edited by S.E. Gontarski.
Faber, 276 pp., £50, November 1992, 0 571 14544 2
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol III: Krapp’s Last Tape 
edited by James Knowlson.
Faber, 286 pp., £50, May 1992, 0 571 14563 9
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Eleutheria 
by Samuel Beckett, translated by Barbara Wright.
Faber, 170 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 9780571178261
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... endorsed the undertaking as the ‘sole authorised biography’ (with the previous biography, by Deirdre Bair, he had been studiedly non-committal) and that he aided Knowlson in major ways, giving interviews and access to unpublished material such as diaries and letters. In that sense Knowlson’s biography can legitimately claim to be the Life, an ...

Who to Be

Colm Tóibín: Beckett’s Letters, 6 August 2009

The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929-40 
edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 782 pp., £30, February 2009, 978 0 521 86793 1
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... all was well “with only a minimum of constraint with Smeraldina’s Ma”’. In her biography, Deirdre Bair wrote: ‘Yet he seems to have had little remorse for deeds such as this, complaining only of the loss of visiting privileges, as if someone else, a complete stranger, had committed the transgression.’ A problem arises in this edition with the ...

The Built-in Reader

Colm Tóibín, 8 April 1993

Dream of Fair to Middling Women 
by Samuel Beckett, edited by Eoin O’Brien and Edith Fournier.
Black Cat, 241 pp., £18.99, November 1992, 0 7145 4212 1
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... century (in Banville’s Birchwood it becomes a genuine circus), makes two crucial appearances in Deirdre Bair’s biography of Beckett. ‘Just as he sought Jack B. Yeats’s company, Beckett avoided introductions to his brother whom he regarded as pompous and posturing, fatuously slobbering over all the wrong aspects of Ireland and Irish ...

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