FAUST & SIMONE

I am now the ambassador of a marvelous publication: Faust Magazine. Why so marvelous, you ask?

Simply because Faust combines form and content, vertiginous visuals and an inspiring, diverse collection of articles.

It is the UFO of the press galaxy, a quality publication – therefore a luxury publication – that has chosen to resist the invasion of advertising.

An ambassador but also a contributor.

Indeed, I have been offered a four-page column called “Queen of Hearts” (Dame de Coeur in French) in every edition. As you might already expect, this section will be dedicated mostly to women and their place in society.

To inaugurate this series, I’ve chosen to write a few lines about the famous Simone de Beauvoir.

I read de Beauvoir when I was young and am afraid to admit that I was never very impressed. I was left with a bitter aftertaste after reading her “Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter”. Somehow, I sensed the unimaginable discrepancy between the myth and the reality.

The posthumous publications of her correspondence and of informed biographies did nothing but confirm my doubts.

During the Second World War, her political awareness and ability to empathize with victims was what I’d refer to as “too little, too late” and was ultimately just a copy and paste of Sartre’s positioning.

Her feminist conscience was magnified by the success of the “Second Sex”, which was written not in an altruistic desire to write an essay on the feminine condition but suggested by Sartre as a way of occupying herself and beating Colette Aubry, an intellectual competitor who genuinely wanted to produce a landmark feminist essay, to the punch.

Simone was an individual who lived her bisexuality as a taboo, a predator with no compassion for very young women, who she seduced and delivered to Sartre.

But what about Sartre and their so-called “necessary love”? The sexual aspect of their relationship faded quickly and soon, he developed a tendency for falling in love with Simone’s young preys. His “necessary lover” was devoured by jealousy and spent her life engaged in manipulative power plays to eliminate her rivals. A radically different picture from that of the liberated woman she sought to paint and we were all so eager to mystify.

There is no denying that Simone de Beauvoir was one of the greatest thinkers of her time. Her power lay in her intellect and in her ability to understand that, ironically, the key to her becoming a mythical persona was Sartre. On her own, she was a respected Parisian philosopher. With him by her side, however, she managed to build the legend of a revolutionary couple with an international aura.

Queen of letters? Most certainly. Queen of hearts? Allow me to reiterate my doubts.

For the whole text with photos, click here to order your copy!

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