Beauvoir in love

Beauvoir in love

One knows the legend: Beauvoir, the major intellectual of the 20thcentury, the figure at the forefront of feminism, and the companion of Jean-Paul Sartre. But what do we know of the tumultuous love which was hidden behind the icon?

Simone de Beauvoir disembarks in the US in 1947 to give a series of conferences on existentialism. In truth, Sartre has arranged the lecture tour in order to hide her from his love affair with the mysterious Dolores Vanetti.

In the US, nearing 40, Beauvoir will make the acquaintance of an unusual American writer, attractive, younger Nelson Algren. Their first exchange is a shock and in less than 24 hours, in the slums of Chicago among sordid bars, hideouts for junkies, and rough flats, Simone becomes alive again. With Algren she is going to discover that there are more distresses in masculine love; their impulses of romance, their furies and their child-like agitations.

The romantic tension constantly fueled by separations and fleetingreunions becomes sometimes unbearable. But it also wakes up each of the lovers’ creative energy. It is during the moments they shared together that they wrote their masterpieces. Nelson, the novel which will bring him glory, The Man with the Golden Arm; and Simone, The Second Sex, the founding text for female liberation.

In all, they will have been together for less than one year but the memory of their time together will haunt both of them until death. Throughout this book, Irène Frain makes all the magic and illusion of their impossible love come back to life. A love which one never forgets.

Using the works of Nelson Algren and Simone de Beauvoir, unpublishedarchives, photos of the period, and stories from witnesses, Irène Fraincaptures magnificently the story of their intense love (1947-1950). Between Chicago and Paris she brings back to life the settings of their meetings, including the house on Lake Michigan where the lovers lived through the most terrible and ardent hours of their passion.

IRENE FRAIN is a writer crowned with a numberof awards and a journalist for Paris Match (one ofFrance’s leading quality magazines). She is oneof the most known French novelists.

Publication date: october 2012

Pages: 408

Rights available: world

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