Beauvoir of the Divided Heart

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Wartime DiaryWartime Diary
by Simone de Beauvoir
Translated by Anne Deing Cordero
University of Illinois Press. 368 pages, $40.

 

BETWEEN September 1939 and January 1941, Simone de Beauvoir was working in fits and starts on her novel She Came To Stay. Utterly devoted to her companion of several years, Jean-Paul Sartre, she was also devoted in almost equal measure to journalist Jacques Bost, but kept that relationship somewhat on the down-low. She entertained a few on-again, off-again girlfriends as well, all the while holding down a day job as a teacher. Juggling four or five lovers, a steady job, and a work in progress would be tricky, potentially farcical, under any circumstances; to do so in France at the start of the Second World War had to be a stretch for the 31-year-old Beauvoir, however strong her famous will and her considerable intellect.

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