Simone de Beauvoir

Juil 29

“The erotic experience is one that most poignantly discloses to human beings the ambiguity of their condition; in it they are aware of themselves as flesh and as spirit, as the other and as the subject. This conflict has more dramatic shape for woman because at first she feels herself to be object and does not at once realize a sure independence in sex enjoyment; she must regain her dignity as transcendent and free subject while assuming her carnal condition - an enterprise fraught with difficulty and danger, and one that often fails.” — Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. 402

“It continues to be more difficult for a woman than for a man to establish the relations with the other sex that she desires. Her erotic and affectional life encounters numerous difficulties. In this matter the unemancipated woman is i no way privileged: sexually and affectionally most wives and courtesans are deeply frustrated. If the difficulties are more evident in the case of the independent woman, it is because she has chosen battle rather than resignation.” — Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, p. 686

Juil 27

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Juil 26

“Vous savez, pour moi l’existence ne va pas de soi, bien que j’aie toujours été très heureuse, peut-être parce que je veux tellement être heureuse. J’aime avec passion la vie, j’abomine l’idée de devoir mourir. Je suis terriblement avide, aussi, je veux tout de la vie, être une femme et aussi un homme, avoir beaucoup d’amis, et aussi la solitude, travailler énormément, écrire de bons livres, et aussi voyager, m’amuser, être égoïste, et aussi généreuse… Vous voyez, ce n’est pas facile d’avoir tout ce que je veux. Or quand je n’y parviens pas, ça me rend folle de colère.” — Simone de Beauvoir, lettre à Nelson Algren, 3 juillet 1947.

Juil 24

Simone de Beauvoir and her sister Hélène de Beauvoir. Sartre’s funeral. Cemitière Montparnasse, Paris, April 19, 1980. Photo: France Presse Archives.

Simone de Beauvoir and her sister Hélène de Beauvoir. Sartre’s funeral. Cemitière Montparnasse, Paris, April 19, 1980. Photo: France Presse Archives.

Juil 21

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Brasserie La Coupole, Paris, 1969. Photo: Bruno Barbey.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Brasserie La Coupole, Paris, 1969. Photo: Bruno Barbey.

Juil 18

Simone de Beauvoir e Jean-Paul Sartre. Sestiere San Marco, Venezia, Italia, 1976. Fotografia: Archivo Graziano Arici. 

Simone de Beauvoir e Jean-Paul Sartre. Sestiere San Marco, Venezia, Italia, 1976. Fotografia: Archivo Graziano Arici. 

Juil 17

Simone de Beauvoir (droite), sa mère Françoise et sa soeur Hélène vers 1912. Lieu unconnu. Photo: collection de famille.

Simone de Beauvoir (droite), sa mère Françoise et sa soeur Hélène vers 1912. Lieu unconnu. Photo: collection de famille.

“Un vero romanzo non si lascia quindi né ridurre in formule né raccontare; non si può slegarne il senso più di quanto non si possa staccare un sorriso da un volto. Anche se produce delle parole, esso esiste come gli oggetti del mondo che eccedono tutto ciò che se ne può dire con delle parole. E senza dubbio, quell’oggetto è stato costruito da un uomo e quest’uomo aveva un progetto; ma la sua presenza deve essere ben nascosta, altrimenti questa operazione magica che è il sortilegio romanzesco non potrebbe compiersi; come il sogno esplode in pezzi se la minima percezione si rivela come tale al dormiente, così la credenza immaginaria si dilegua non appena si pensa di confrontarla con la realtà: non si può porre l’esistenza del romanziere senza negare quella dei suoi eroi.” — Simone de Beauvoir, Letteratura e metafisica (traduzione di Beatrice Catini - testo integrale qui)

Juil 11

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre arrested for selling the banned newspaper La Cause du Peuple. Paris, 1970. Photographer: unknown.
(By arresting them - together with newspaper’s editors and reporters and press freedom activists - the French police made exactly what both philosophers had in mind: call all attentions to the banned newspaper and the fact that free expression didn’r exist in France. The police tried to release Beauvoir and Sartre a few minutes later, but they denied and said they would only leave the police station if they released also the others. And so it was done.)

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre arrested for selling the banned newspaper La Cause du Peuple. Paris, 1970. Photographer: unknown.

(By arresting them - together with newspaper’s editors and reporters and press freedom activists - the French police made exactly what both philosophers had in mind: call all attentions to the banned newspaper and the fact that free expression didn’r exist in France. The police tried to release Beauvoir and Sartre a few minutes later, but they denied and said they would only leave the police station if they released also the others. And so it was done.)

Juil 07

“Nelson, meu amor, recebi suas cartas esta tarde em Estocolmo e entrei em uma pequena conditorei (uma confeitaria) em frente ao correio central para lê-las. Elas me causaram muita satisfação, e o dia todo pensei o quanto eu o amava. É meia noite, estou morta de cansaço, mas é preciso lhe dizer: eu o amo muito! É espantoso como o compreendo e como você me compreende, e essa compreensão recíproca é uma das coisas mais preciosas no nosso amor.” — Simone de Beauvoir em carta a Nelson Algren, 13 de agosto de 1947.

Juil 04

“Je souhaitais que toute vie humaine fût une pure liberté transparente : et je me rencontrais dans la vie des autres comme une barrière opaque ; je ne pouvais pas m’y résigner.” — Simone de Beauvoir, Le Sang des Autres

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Juil 02

“If the author knows in advance the conclusion he intends, if he insists upon pressing a predetermined thesis upon the reader, if he refuses to permit even the illusion of freedom, then … the novel has no value and dignity, which must be there if both author and reader are to discover something alive. It is this necessity that one speaks of … when one says that the novel must escape from its author, who must not dispose of his characters, but on the contrary must let them impose their will on him. A novel is not a manufactured object, and it is even pejorative to say that it is fabricated; without doubt it is absurd to say that heroes in the literal sense of the word are free, but in truth this freedom that one admires in the characters of Dostoevsky, for example, is that of the novelist himself who has respect for his creations, and the opacity of events which he evokes should manifest the resistance which he has met in the act of creation.” —

Simone de Beauvoir, “Literature and Metaphysics” (Deirdre Bair’s translation in Simone de Beauvoir: a biography, pp. 318-319)

(P.S.: The essay “Literature and Metaphysics” was written by Beauvoir in 1946 for Les Temps Modernes magazine. At the time Beauvoir was not a feminist and used the masculine form of language as expression of the generic or universal.)

Juil 01

Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault and Sigmund Freud by antisomber. What an awsome conversation they would have!
(And not peaceful at all. Merleau-Ponty was her great friend, although things became strange between them after he criticized The Second Sex and Sartre. She wrote a virulent essay called Merleau-Ponty and Pseudo-Sartreanism. Foucault didn’t seem to like her very much, nor Sartre, and criticized both in Les mots et les choses. And when it comes to Freud, enough to point what she writes about psychoanalysis in The Second Sex, but she was very interested in his ideas, mainly about childhood.)

Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault and Sigmund Freud by antisomber. What an awsome conversation they would have!

(And not peaceful at all. Merleau-Ponty was her great friend, although things became strange between them after he criticized The Second Sex and Sartre. She wrote a virulent essay called Merleau-Ponty and Pseudo-Sartreanism. Foucault didn’t seem to like her very much, nor Sartre, and criticized both in Les mots et les choses. And when it comes to Freud, enough to point what she writes about psychoanalysis in The Second Sex, but she was very interested in his ideas, mainly about childhood.)