A Dangerous Liaison

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Random House, Dec 31, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 608 pages

A Dangerous Liaison tells the intense, passionate and sometimes painful story of how these two brilliant free-thinkers - and rivals - came to a share a relationship that was to last over fifty years.

Moving from the corridors of the Sorbonne and the chestnut groves in the Limousin, to the cafes of Paris's Left Bank, we discover how the strikingly beautiful and gifted young Simone came to fall in love with the squinting, arrogant, hard-drinking Jean-Paul. Seymour-Jones describes that first summer of 1929: the heated debates that went on long into the night, the sexual rivalry and betrayal, the dangerous ideas that led people to experiment with new ways of behaving and the deep love that this perhaps unlikely couple shared.

We hear how Sartre clandestinely compromised with the Nazis and fell into a Soviet honey-trap. And, thanks to recently discovered letters written by de Beauvoir, the darker, more dangerous side to their philosophy of free love is revealed, including Simone's lesbianism and her pimping for younger girls for Jean-Paul, in order to keep his love.

This is a compelling and fascinating account of what lay behind the legend that this brilliant, tempestuous couple had created.

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User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

By the end of this book, I am unable to understand why Carole Seymour-Jones can say that she still respects De Beauvoir and Sartre. Of course, I do not believe that philosophers and intellectuals ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Carole Seymour-Jones was born in Towyn, North Wales and educated at Oxford and Sussex Universities. Her recent biography Painted Shadow: The Life of Vivienne Eliot was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize. She lives with her partner in Surrey and London.

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