Simone de Beauvoir’s Nonfiction

UnknownThis is a fantastic interview in The Paris Review with Simone de Beauvoir that addresses several of the topics we have raised in class. The questions of what nonfiction can and can’t do as well as how philosophy or the non-drilling down of ideas were presented in the Art of Cruelty can be mirrored here. de Beauvior is a “famous memoirist” above all, and here as in elsewhere she competently discusses how the validity of examining her own life and her relationships has contributed to the artform of writing, of feminism, and of course, of furthering our own confusion about what it means to try to seek the truth as a flawed and biased being. I am thinking of doing my final piece  for the class about how Nelson’s writing relates to Sartre and de Beauvoir’s relationship, as well as possibly other well documented artists’ affairs and their creations within the affairs. In the research so far, I’m coming to see that Nelson has created a quiet revolution in her nonfiction/poetry representation of a woman who gets to make mistakes, ask questions, be vulnerable and open and, as Eileen Myles has said of Chris Kraus, “not die of shame in the end.”

 

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