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Simone de Beauvoir’s private letters to author Violette Leduc sold at auction

They were sold on Tuesday and, auction house Sotheby’s describes them as “remarkable” detailing “a complex and ambiguous relationship … where unrequited amorous passion, tenderness and mutual admiration tinged with mistrust mingle”

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | December 17, 2020 4:29:02 pm
The letters include personal details like Beauvoir rejecting Leduc's romantic overtures. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

According to a report in The Guardian, as many as 300 unpublished letters by Simone de Beauvoir written to French novelist Violette Leduc have been sold at an auction for €56,700. The same report informs that the letters include personal details, like Beauvoir rejecting Leduc’s romantic overtures.

They were sold on Tuesday and, the report quotes the auction house Sotheby’s describing them as “remarkable” detailing “a complex and ambiguous relationship … where unrequited amorous passion, tenderness and mutual admiration tinged with mistrust mingle”.

The report also shared some snippets of the letters. “Despite my colossal indifference, I was very moved by your letter and your journal. You tell me about my loyalty, I admire yours. I believe that thanks to our mutual esteem and trust, we will achieve a balance in our relations. It is strange to find out that you are so precious to someone: you know that you are never precious to yourself; there is a mirage effect there which will certainly dissipate quickly. In any case, this feeling can not bother me more than flatter me … I would like you not to be afraid of me any more, that you get rid of all this fearful side which seems to me so unjustified. I respect you too much for this kind of mistrust, of apprehension, to have any reason to exist, ” Beauvoir had written.

Replying to this, Leduc had further written, “She has explained that the feeling I have for her is a mirage. I don’t agree.” Even then the two women remained close for years. And the letters provide ample evidence of this.

Writing about Leduc’s Ravages, The Second Sex author had stated, “You are writing a beautiful, courageous book, in which I believe. I am wholeheartedly with you in this struggle which you are leading so courageously to write, to live; I admire your energy, I would like this sincere, deep esteem to help you a little.”

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