Simone de Beauvoir letters to see a combined $649,000 at Christie's


2015-06-26 13:40:15


Simone de Beauvoir letters to see a combined $649,000 at Christie's

French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote the letters to her mother and sister

Two previously unknown series of correspondence from French activist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) to her mother and sister will be sold through Christie's on April 30 in Paris.

Simone de Beauvoir letters Paul FraserThe letters to her mother provide a clean autobiography, while those to her sister flesh out the details with anecdotes and insight

With correspondence from The Second Sex writer rarely seen at auction, these two lots offer a new perspective on her relationship with her family and friends. The letters to her mother are valued at $386,501-483,126, while those addressed to her sister are estimated to sell for $110,429-165,643.

De Beauvoir was a philosopher, activist and social theorist who became renowned for her influence on feminism, particularly feminist existentialism.

She is also well known for her circle of luminaries, including Jean-Paul Sartre (her lifelong partner), Paul Nizan and Jacques-Laurent Bost among others.

The letters to her mother are typical of what any "well-behaved little girl", as detailed in Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, would write to her mother, giving a clean and polished version of events dotted with little white lies.

These, of course, sit far apart from her life as a sexually liberated women living in Paris in the 1940s-1950s, though provide aninsightful autobiography.

The letters to her sister, nicknamed Poupette, are "more spontaneous and talkative", providing intimate anecdotes from her life, writings and the development of her novel The Mandarins. Her inner circle are brought to life, with Sartre described as a "little man" who has "such a complicated private life".

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb selection of signed letters and autographs for sale.

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