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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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... There will be 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 ...

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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... heard the good news?’ called out the one, the former head of a prestigious college. ‘Sartre is dead.’ The other, a well-known and distinguished man about French history, was delighted. According to his own account, the two of them then enacted a little dance or jig to express their pleasure. The occasion may be ...

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 ...

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 ...
9 February 2012
... the Spirit Award. Skinny in my T-back, I got Most Valuables. Swimming mostly hurt. My shoulders are still big from this.           The chrome-look figures on the trophies were crudely modelled. Some trained artist hunched at her rotating pe...

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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... On these two sacred monsters, the tally of evidence is still incomplete: there’s another volume of the translation of Lettres au Castor et à quelques autres to come, and Quintin Hoare has translated only two-thirds of the Lettres à Sartre. But you could already tabulate the chronologies 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 (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland ...

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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... critics. The overall purpose of the book, however, is to commend one kind of criticism and to denigrate others. In Max Beerbohm’s Seven Men there are actually portraits of six men; the seventh is Max. Similarly, The Company of Critics really has 12 subjects-the 11 to whom chapters are devoted and Walzer ...

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 ...
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 ...

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
... of us.’ In the novel clothes propel the narrative of Orlando’s passage through time and gender. In Mrs Dalloway the green dress is in effect a character, an expression of what Woolf described in her diary as ‘the frock consciousness’ of life. She took considerable care about ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: Marguerite Duras

5 October 2016
... as a Nouveau Romancier, or part of the Nouvelle Vague, or an habituée of the Flore, or the Deux Magots, or wherever else it was fashionable to go that season. But she was in the habit of leaving the door of her apartment on the Left Bank open from dawn until dusk. Home, she thought, ought to be open to the outsi...

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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... is fiftysomething if you start counting from The Second Sex, and, like Toril Moi, a lot of academic women are taking stock. The good news is that wherever positive discrimination in favour of men has been suspended, there are many more women in universities than there used to be, as stu...

Private Sartre

John Sturrock

7 February 1985
War Diaries: Notebooks from a Phoney War 1939-40 
by Jean-Paul Sartre and Quentin Hoare.
Verso, 366 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 0 86091 087 3
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... Sartre had a passive, self-centred war, well-suited to his deeply civilian temper, with no heroics and a great deal of free time. He was mobilised in September 1939, served in the East of France until he was captured in the collapse of June 1940, spent nine months as a prisoner of war, then sat out the Occupation in Paris ...

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