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Tete-A-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

Tete-A-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre Cover

ISBN13: 9780060520595
ISBN10: 0060520590
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

They are one of the world's legendary couples. We can't think of one without thinking of the other. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre — those passionate, freethinking existentialist philosopher-writers — had a committed but notoriously open union that generated no end of controversy. With Tete-a-Tete, distinguished biographer Hazel Rowley offers the first dual portrait of these two colossal figures and their intense, often embattled relationship. Through original interviews and access to new primary sources, Rowley portrays them up close, in their most intimate moments.

We witness Beauvoir and Sartre with their circle, holding court in Paris cafes. We learn the details of their infamous romantic entanglements with the young Olga Kosakiewicz and others; of their efforts to protest the wars in Algeria and Vietnam; and of Beauvoir's tempestuous love affair with Nelson Algren. We follow along on their many travels, involving meetings with dignitaries such as Roosevelt, Khrushchev, and Castro. We listen in on the couple's conversations about Sartre's Nausea, Being and Nothingness, and Words, and Beauvoir's The Second Sex, The Mandarins, and her memoirs. And we hear the anguished discussions that led Sartre to refuse the Nobel Prize.

The impact of their writings on modern thought cannot be overestimated, but Beauvoir and Sartre are remembered just as much for the lives they led. They were brilliant, courageous, profoundly innovative individuals, and Tete-a-Tete shows the passion, energy, daring, humor, and contradictions of their remarkable, unorthodox relationship. Theirs is a great story — and a great story is precisely what Beauvoir and Sartre most wanted their lives to be.

Review:

"Though Rowley identifies her engaging and accessible chronicle as the 'story of a relationship,' it is in fact the story of the many relationships forged by two of the most brilliant, unorthodox and scandalous intellectuals of the 20th century: Beauvoir and Sartre, who from 1929 until Sartre's death in 1980 remained 'essential' to each other but never monogamous. Without undue prurience, Rowley (Richard Wright) romps through the major entanglements, loves, triangles, friendships and affairs engaged in by the authors of, respectively,the seminal feminist work The Second Sex andthe controversial autobiography Words. And to place these fascinating interactions into literary and biographical context, Rowley draws from vast stores of published and unpublished writings, correspondence and interviews. Though Beauvoir is the heroine of the book, Rowley offers revealing insights into Sartre: including the extent to which he juggled, depended upon and supported his many mistresses and the compulsive need he had to seduce women far more beautiful than he, despite his tepid sensuality. Intrigues aside, however, Rowley concludes that, for both Sartre and Beauvoir, the most enduring commitment was not to each other or to their many lovers but to their writing, politics and philosophical legacy. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Veteran biographer Rowley offers a joint biography of one of the world's legendary couples. She begins with their meeting in 1929 and traces their relationship through World War II, occupied Paris, the fame that came to the both as writers, the model they provided for young people during the 1960s, and their final years together.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Veteran biographer Rowley offers a joint biography of one of the world's legendary couples. She begins with their meeting in 1929 and traces their relationship through World War II, occupied Paris, the fame that came to the both as writers, the model they provided for young people during the 1960s, and their final years together. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Hazel Rowley is the author of two previous books: Christina Stead: A Biography and Richard Wright: The Life And Times. She has been a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow and a Bunting Institute Fellow at Radcliffe College, and has taught at the University of Iowa and at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She lives in New York and Paris.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

lisa_emily, October 25, 2006 (view all comments by lisa_emily)
A very revealing book of two great intellects. J-P Sartre and Beaver (Sartre's nickname for Beauvoir) fall in love while young and are at the university. They create a pact where they would never marry or expect monogamy, but would be closest friends and intellectual collaborators for the whole of their lives. And that's what happens. Of course, it gets much messier.

I admired de Beauvoir's independence and her devotion to her intellectual life, but sometimes, I could imagine that the romantic entanglements would get in the way. The demands of lovers can trivialize the mind. I believe her passion for her other lovers were deep and passionate, but her relationship with Sartre was the one she would rather have.

As for Sartre, often I think his desire for seduction was a compulsion, yet he never ended a relationship cold. He continued to be in touch (if mutually accepted) and even supported many of the women he had affairs with. Dispute his incurable philandering; he was touted as generous, with his time and money.

A sordid read, yet it fascinates and it never belittles their lives into gossipy land.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060520595
Subtitle:
Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
Publisher:
Harper
Author:
by Hazel Rowley
Author:
Hernandez, David
Author:
Rowley, Hazel
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Philosophers
Subject:
Authors, french
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Philosophers -- France.
Subject:
Beauvoir, Simone de
Subject:
Family - Parents
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20051004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
7.125 x 5 x 0.81 in 8.88 oz
Age Level:
from 14

Related Subjects


Biography » Philosophers
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Tete-A-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 432 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060520595 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Though Rowley identifies her engaging and accessible chronicle as the 'story of a relationship,' it is in fact the story of the many relationships forged by two of the most brilliant, unorthodox and scandalous intellectuals of the 20th century: Beauvoir and Sartre, who from 1929 until Sartre's death in 1980 remained 'essential' to each other but never monogamous. Without undue prurience, Rowley (Richard Wright) romps through the major entanglements, loves, triangles, friendships and affairs engaged in by the authors of, respectively,the seminal feminist work The Second Sex andthe controversial autobiography Words. And to place these fascinating interactions into literary and biographical context, Rowley draws from vast stores of published and unpublished writings, correspondence and interviews. Though Beauvoir is the heroine of the book, Rowley offers revealing insights into Sartre: including the extent to which he juggled, depended upon and supported his many mistresses and the compulsive need he had to seduce women far more beautiful than he, despite his tepid sensuality. Intrigues aside, however, Rowley concludes that, for both Sartre and Beauvoir, the most enduring commitment was not to each other or to their many lovers but to their writing, politics and philosophical legacy. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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