Simone de Beauvoir, 20th-century novelist and philosopher, will have a novel once deemed “too intimate” published next year.
Written in 1954, Les Inséparables followed five years after Beauvoir’s magnum opus, The Second Sex. It explores and challenges various 20th-century cultural norms through the story of a passionate friendship shared between two girls.
A novel by 20th-century writer and philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, will be published in English next year. Written in 1954, Les Inseparables was deemed “too intimate” for its time.
The story is based off real events, depicting Beauvoir’s amity with one Elisabeth ‘Zaza’ Lacoin, who passed away from encephalitis at 21. The pair, named Andrée (Zaza) and Sylvie (Simone), meet during class in high school, where their friendship quickly develops.
Literary agency, 2seas, further outlined the novel’s arc: “Sylvie is instantly charmed by her new classmate. She admires her, she cherishes her, she does everything in order to make Andrée loving (sic) her back. Quickly they became inseparables until high school and Andrée’s tragic death.”
Vintage, who will publish the novel in late 2021, went on to describe Les Inseparables as, “the friendship between two young women struggling against conventional ideas of what a woman should be in early 20th century Paris: chaste, devout, obedient, and obliged from a young age to set aside her own interests and passions.”
Les Inseparables was thought to be ‘too intimate’ for publishing during Beauvoir’s lifetime, according to 2seas. However, Simone’s daughter, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, recently found the work in her archives, and has written the preface for its eventual release.
Speaking to The New York Times, Le Bon de Beauvoir said: “When she wrote it, in 1954, she had already honed her craft as a writer. She destroyed some works that she was unhappy with. She didn’t destroy this one. About her papers, she told me, ‘You’ll do as you think is right.'”
A French edition of Les Inseparables will hit shelves as early as October this year. However, an English version won’t be available until 2021.