Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre: the remaking of a twentieth-century legend

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BasicBooks, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 214 pages
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He was France's best-known philosopher and chief arbiter of intellectual fashions during the postwar era. She was the most influential forerunner of today's feminist movement, who nonetheless seemed to live in the shadow of a great man. So goes one of the great cultural legends of our time. The only problem, as Kate and Edward Fullbrook point out in this beautifully written and meticulously researched portrait, is that it is wrong. Using newly available documentary evidence from diaries and letters, the authors shed astonishing new light on precisely who was the dominant partner in this relationship. By carefully tracing the dates of composition of some of Beauvoir's and Sartre's major works, the Fullbrooks demonstrate that Beauvoir, rather than Sartre, was the primary creative influence behind the couple's most celebrated ideas. In writing his acclaimed Being and Nothingness, Sartre acted primarily as an interpreter of a philosophical system already worked out in Beauvoir's novel, She Came To Stay. This astonishing discovery is at the heart of the Fullbrooks' absorbing account of Beauvoir's and Sartre's childhoods and their first twenty years together as a couple who changed the intellectual outlook of the world. By reworking the chronologies of the couple's writings and rereading old information in light of the new, the Fullbrooks arrive at a revisionary account of the couple's intimate lives, whose radical sexual freedom must now be understood as stemming from Beauvoir's rather than from Sartre's personal needs. The book provides decisive insights into the lives, literature, and ideas of two major figures on the modern cultural scene, and raises profound questions as to thepsychological needs, sexual politics, and bad faith that led Beauvoir and Sartre to give misleading accounts of the inner workings of their relationship. Kate and Edward Fullbrook have written a book destined to be widely discussed and hotly debated.

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SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR AND JEAN-PAUL SARTRE: The Remaking of a Twentieth-Century Legend

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A provocative dual biography that sets out to recast Simone de Beauvoir as the ``true philosopher'' in her legendary relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre; by the Fullbrooks (she: Literary Studies/Univ ... Read full review

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre: the remaking of a twentieth-century legend

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The first of a projected two-volume effort at revisionist biography draws heavily on de Beauvoir's and Sartre's published statements and work to reveal the true nature of the relationship between the ... Read full review


Acknowledgments ix
The Phenomenon who could not be Judged
The Oath

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About the author (1993)

Fullbrook is Professor of Literary Studies and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the West of England.

Edward Fullbrook is a freelance writer.

Kate Fullbrook is Professor of Literary Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol. They are authors of" Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre: The Remaking of a Twentieth-Century Legend" and many essays on Simone de Beauvoir.

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