Harper Academic

Tete-a-Tete

The Tumultuous Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

by Hazel Rowley

On Sale: 10/17/2006

Price: $15.99

Tete-a-Tete

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Tete-a-Tete

The Tumultuous Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

by Hazel Rowley

On Sale: 10/17/2006

Format:

Price: $15.99

About the Book

They are one of the world’s legendary couples. We can’t think of one without thinking of the other. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre–those passionate, freethinking existentialist philosopher-writers–had a committed but notoriously open union that generated no end of controversy. With Tête-a-Tête, distinguished biographer Hazel Rowley offers the first dual portrait of these two colossal figures and their intense, often embattled relationship. Through original interviews and access to new primary sources, Rowley portrays them up close, in their most intimate moments.

Students will witness Beauvoir and Sartre with their circle, holding court in Paris cafes. They’ll learn the details of their infamous romantic entanglements with the young Olga Kosakiewicz and others; of their efforts to protest the wars in Algeria and Vietnam; and of Beauvoir’s tempestuous love affair with Nelson Algren. They’ll follow along on their many travels, involving meetings with dignitaries such as Roosevelt, Khrushchev, and Castro–and listen in on the couple’s conversations about Sartre’s Nausea, Being and Nothingness, and Words, and Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, The Mandarins, and her memoirs. They’ll hear the anguished discussions that led Sartre to refuse the Nobel Prize.

The impact of their writings on modern thought cannot be overestimated, but Beauvoir and Sartre are remembered just as much for the lives they led. They were brilliant, courageous, profoundly innovative individuals, and Tête-a-Tête shows the passion, energy, daring, humor, and contradictions of their remarkable, unorthodox relationship.

Critical Praise

“Compulsively readable . . . The surprise page-turner of the season . . . An admiring but balanced portrait emerges of activist intellectuals determined to practice the freedom they preached . . . [A] fascinating study of a passion that transcended convention.” - Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Rowley is an engrossing narrator. Her book tells Beauvoir and Sartre’s repellent, inspiring and unlikely tale more completely and concisely than it has ever been told before.” - New York Times Book Review

“A fast-moving yet vast saga, spanning the bulk of the 20th century and much of the world . . . Rowley aims to capture Beauvoir and Sartre’s life experiences. She does this vividly and expertly.” - Seattle Times

“Tête-a-Tête has just about everything: sex, philosophy, politics and the world’s most unconventional love story. Hard as I tried, I could not put it down.” - Barbara Ehrenreich

“Enormously rich and utterly absorbing, TETE-A-TETE offers just what is needed: a short, concise, penetrating look into the famous couple who changed their century.” - Brenda Maddox

“The surprise page-turner of the year. With the deftness of a geometer, Rowley sorts out their many ‘contingent’ love affairs, keeping all the eyebrow-raising, overlapping triangles straight.” - Newsday

“Tête-à-Tête captures the uniqueness of [Beauvoir and Sartre’s] fascinating relationship, as well as their orbital ones, with an ethic of transparency which would not have displeased either of it protagonists.” - Times Literary Supplement (London)

“A lively and fulfilling portrait . . . This wonderfully crafted narrative presents the complicated lives of these two strong-willed individuals and their numerous lovers, companions, friends, concerns, and passions in a way that enthralls like a novel but clearly imparts the force of reality. Thoroughly researched and well-written.” - Library Journal

“What Rowley so shrewdly and fairly reveals in this explicit and insightful double portrait is that these two charismatic champions for justice and freedom were committed at any cost to transmuting existence into art.” - Booklist

“Without undue prurience, Rowley romps through the major entanglements, loves, triangles, friendships and affairs . . . and [places] these fascinating interactions into literary and biographical context . . . [She] draws from vast stores of published and unpublished writings, correspondence and interviews.” - Publishers Weekly

“Drawing on unpublished letters and new interviews with romantic casualties from both sides, Rowley artfully alternates between depicting Sartre and [Beauvoir] as cafe-lounging, leftist intellectuals, and jealous, cruel sexual manipulators straight out of Dangerous Liaisons.” - Entertainment Weekly

“Fascinating . . . A neatly assembled record of people behaving badly in the name of literature, philosophy and amour.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Exhilirating.” - Houston Chronicle

“Compulsively readable... The surprise page-turner of the season... [A] fascinating study of a passion that transcended convention.” - Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Engrossing... Tells Beauvoir and Sartre’s repellent, inspiring and unlikely tale more completely and concisely than it has ever been told.” - New York Times Book Review

“TETE-A-TETE has just about everything... Hard as I tried, I could not put it down.” - Barbara Ehrenreich

“Enormously rich and utterly absorbing . . . a short, concise, penetrating look into the famous couple who changed their century.” - Brenda Maddox

“An in-depth, unflinching account . . . TETE-A-TETE provides a valuable cultural history.” - Boston Globe

“[A] sympathetic but clear-eyed history of Sartre and Beauvoir’s lifelong partnership.” - New York Times

“A fast-moving yet vast saga, spanning the bulk of the 20th century and much of the world.” - Seattle Times

“An enthralling book . . . . Readers will turn these pages alternately mesmerized and appalled.” - Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060520601
  • ISBN 10: 0060520604
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 10/17/2006
  • Trimsize: 5.313 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 1.055 in (d)
  • Pages: 464
  • List Price: $15.99
  • BISAC1 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General
  • BISAC2 : PHILOSOPHY / General
  • BISAC3 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies