The Beauvoir Sisters
The Beauvoir Sisters: An Intimate Look at How Simone and Helene Influenced Each Other and the World, Seal Press, 2004
Helene de Beauvoir, a painter, grew up in the shadow of her extraordinary older sister, Simone. Until now, the remarkable extent to which their relationship shaped both their lives has been overlooked. In this intimate biography, the reader learns not only about their close relationship and artistic influence on one another, but also about the jealousy, condescension and rivalry that plagued them.
This first book to focus on the relationship between the two sisters details how these women, despite their myriad political and aesthetic differences, came together to help launch the modern women’s movement. Sprinkled with fragments of conversations Monteil witnessed firsthand between Simone, Jean Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, and other luminaries, the sisters’ story is told by a woman who had the distinct privilege to belong to their intimate circle of friends and who has been a leading figure in France’s women’s movement since the 1960s. Spanning the period between World War I and Helene’s death in 2001, The Beauvoir Sisters is also the story of an era, as Monteil immerses the reader in the artistic and intellectual life of twentieth-century Paris, the effects of the Cold War, and the feminist movement in France and the United States.
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