Sunday, September 25, 2005

The strange liaison of Sartre and Beauvoir

Who hasn't heard of these two philosophers, thinkers and foremost proponents of existentialism. My brush with them started with reading one of the best psychological profiles of the Marquis de Sade ever written - written by Simone de Beauvoir as an introduction to the (in)famous 120 Days of Sodom. On the other hand, I have only heard and read titbits about Sartre and his philosphy of existentialism. Though I am in the process of learning more about the man and his philosophy through one of this books rather than news clippings, the book whose review I want to take you to is a careful documentary of the platonic relationship the two shared. One can get a view into the minds of these two philosophers/existentialists through their correspondences with each other, correspondences which their individual estates have been kind enough to provide. Some of their libertinous experiences and their candid assessment of their explorations, their contempt of the people who were used as a medium to explore these emotions will shock a few existentialists too.

Read all about it here -

"Stand By Your Man."
by Louis Menand


Anonymous said...

I think the different planes in which Sartre and Beauvoir shared a relationship over the years is worth noting - professional, emotional while still separating the two. Although one might say that the two planes aided each other given the subject of their ideas, it would have still been difficult to mix them in a proportion that resulted in a union that's not physical(not that I am demeaning any kind of union here! :)). It would be interesting (for me) to read what Beauvoir really felt during their 'confessionals'...Nandini

Z said...

Do you have this book ?
What makes this book interesting(for me) is that she is a french woman. and that the basis of their relationship is supplemented by their affairs. Satre on his relationship - What we have, "is an essential love; but it is a good idea for us also to experience contingent love affairs." De Beauvoir says: "We were two of a kind, and our relationship would endure as long as we did: but it could not make up entirely for the fleeting riches to be had from encounters with different people."
To get a good undersatnding of her pschye what she felt of her open relationship, sexual (which ended after a while), her lesbian pursuits,jealousy,finding partners and money for Sartre, how she tried to keep her role model intact can be learnt by reading "simone de Beauvoir (Life & Times) and also the "second sex".
What ever way they experimented their realtionships, they produced "existentialism'.