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Beauvoir, Simone.

Mandarins, The.


De Beauvoir, Simone. The Mandarins. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1956.
Thick 8vo.; top-edge stained blue; red and blue cloth; decoratively stamped in gilt; in the publisher's blue paper-covered slipcase.
First American edition, deluxe issue, 500 numbered copies; signed by Beauvoir.
Begun in the fall of 1949, The Mandarins, a novel of "ideas" and post-liberation French politics, has been described as part autobiography, part social and political history, part love story and part literary credo. From the library of literary critic Lionel Trilling, with a specially made bookplate present from the sale of his estate. According to Beauvoir:
It is the novel, which remains the most important among my novels…I feel sometimes like reading it over because I loved it a lot. You can sat that the tome of The Mandarins is the most committed of all my novels, but remember-there are three main ideas in it: love and friendship are the most important, and then politics.
Beauvoir dedicated the book to American novelist Nelson Algren, author of the best-seller The Man with the Golden Arm and her lover of three years; her inscription in the dedication copy read: "He knows why and how-In memory of the old never to be forgotten happiness, when I was Your own Simone." An intensely private man, quite the antithesis of Beauvoir who narrated in print practically every facet of her life, Algren was furious when the translation of The Mandarins came out in America. Beauvoir insisted, however, that the story was not "exactly" their love story, but "a story about a man a little bit like you and a woman a little bit like me." The publication ended their relationship, already strained by the geographical distance created by living on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and by her platonic, yet consuming, relationship with Jean Paul Sartre. Despite the end of their intimacy, Algren remained a close figure in Beauvoir's life.

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