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20 April 1995
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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... were) to produce a boundless variety of understandings. Or it may be that psychoanalysis has merely provided us with an excuse to remain stuck in the revolving door of self-absorption. According to DeirdreBair, ‘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 ...

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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... into a glorious, full-colour-coded spreadsheet jigsaw, mapping the stories from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (DeirdreBair – 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 ...

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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... the prince. She is only his night-time consort in what Sartre and Beauvoir grandly termed their ‘morganatic’ marriage, waiting to be loved and released into her true kingdom of the body and mind. DeirdreBair’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 ...

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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... to lose but our mind-forged manacles. Beauvoir was a freelance, an independent, and Moi is too, in spirit – not a deconstructionist, more of a righteous wrecker. Beauvoir told her eager biographer DeirdreBair (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 ...

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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... an implication of the comprehensive. Knowlson quite properly reminds us in his Preface that Beckett endorsed the undertaking as the ‘sole authorised biography’ (with the previous biography, by DeirdreBair, 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 ...

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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... was so successful that, after meeting her during the summer, he could write to McGreevy that all was well “with only a minimum of constraint with Smeraldina’s Ma”’. In her biography, DeirdreBair 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 ...
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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... to thrive. Yeats, the ringmaster for much of the circus of Irish history in the early part of the century (in Banville’s Birchwood it becomes a genuine circus), makes two crucial appearances in DeirdreBair’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 ...

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