Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A DANGEROUS LIASION by Caroline Seymour-Jones in Library Journal

Library Journal takes at A Dangerous Liaison: A Revelatory New Biography of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre by Carole Seymour-Jones: "Much has been written about the famous literary couple de Beauvoir and Sartre. Having gained access to their private journals and letters after their deaths, scholars have been reassessing their lives and their relationship. Drawing from primary and secondary sources, Seymour-Jones creates an absorbing and not always positive dual biography of these two complicated individuals. Her work spans their lives from childhood through their war, postwar, and twilight years. The author often underscores the major discrepancies between their memoirs/interviews and what they wrote privately in journals and letters. Like characters in Laclos's eponymous novel, Sartre and de Beauvoir callously played with people's lives; de Beauvoir would choose women for Sartre to seduce and then cruelly reject. Initially, this couple was apathetic about politics and expressed little resistance to the German occupation during World War II despite their later leftist tendencies. An important contribution to the study of de Beauvoir and Sartre that will be appreciated both by general readers and by scholars of French literature and culture and women's studies."—Erica Swenson Danowitz.

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