Page 1 of 2

ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:53 am
by Liz
Pg. 116-117 (Dec. 6, 1947):

Nelson, honey, I was very much disturbed by your little story about the Jewish girl and the older woman; the whole morning I thought aobut it, as seriously as about Brasillach death, because the tiniest thing concerning you is important for me. The general idea is you should feel yourself free, as long as you don’t betray our love, which could be done only if you really intended to. I feel many unpleasant remorses for having deprived you of some pleasant time. I know very well you can sleep with a woman, even a very since one, and even in Wabansia’s nest, without spoiling anything between you and me; if I suggested something else through my letters, I am ashamed of it. There is no reason, I living far away, for you not sleeping with women when you choose. I believe in your love too much to think if would make any difference. Well, indeed, I love you too much, in a physical sexual way too, not to feel any jealousy. I think I should have to be very cold blooded to be able to fancy you kissing a girl, sleeping with her, and not to feel a bad pang in the heart. But this kind of animal instinct does not matter very much. When I began to read the story, I thought you were going to tell me you spent a night with the woman, and the first movement was to be glad for your frankness, for your sincerely telling me; the second was to wait the pang in my heart, with the belief I should g through it. Well, to be quite frank, it was a great relief to find you were so careful of our love, and my heart was suffused with gratitude. But afterwards I felt remorses. Maybe I don’t explain things very well. Let us suppose you were very hungry, and were given a wonderful run-cake; instead of eating it, you sent it to me. That is how I feel. It is a gift, do you see? A generous and lovely beautiful give of love. But you had not to do it, you could eat the rum-cake. And even I should be remorseful and feel guilty, if you always give me our part of rum-cake. I mean my beloved one, next time when you are tempted by a woman, just do what you please, take her to Wabansia home if you like. I really mean it. You have not to be afraid of hurting me by doing so. I just wish she’ll be away when I come, and never too deep in your heart. In this matter, the chief questions is rather: take care the girl will not be unhappy if your drop her afterwards. Just care about it. I think I told you once, as long as you do not spoil our love, it is all right.


Comment on Simone’s encouragement of Nelson to satisfy his pleasures with other women and her apparent disinterest in doing so herself.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:39 am
by nebraska
Being so far apart and seeing each other so seldom, Simone obviously knew there was no way she could control Nelson's behavior, but once she gave him permission she had the illusion of control. "Well, yes, he had a dalliance, but only because I told him it was ok to do so." And by entreating him to not become too involved emotionally, she also was able to inject a bit of guilt if he strayed too far, so on some level she had to feel that even with her permission for him to have other partners, she had an element of control over him.
Given Simone's lifestyle and her collusion with Sartre, who knows how much of her devoted rambling was truthful anyway. :bigwink:

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:49 pm
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
I like that idea of control, nebraska. That was certainly something she was fond of.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:54 pm
by gemini
I think he was probably the only affair she had where she felt being monogamous was worthwhile. She certainly was not with any of the others including Sartre. Maybe it was that she was older and thought her heyday was past and this might be her last chance. Who knows, but for whatever reason, for a time she wanted to be only with him. I think she knew that he fell in love with her and this was likely her last chance at real love. I recall when she returned from America she broke her decade long affair with Bost who could not understand why after all those years.
For Algren's part, she knew with the extensive time they spent apart, he was not going to be celibate. She was trying to let him know it was alright as long as he didn’t replace her.

Notice ladies, I am actaully saying something positive about her. :lol:

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:51 pm
by fansmom
nebraska wrote:Given Simone's lifestyle and her collusion with Sartre, who knows how much of her devoted rambling was truthful anyway. :bigwink:
Heck, yeah, I just figured she was lying!

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:40 pm
by Buster
I suspect women often "give permission" when they think they are losing sway. Possessiveness is not an attractive trait, generally. Most lovers prefer to be so adored that their "every whim be satisfied"; perhaps deBeauvoir is attempting to woo Algren by letting him believe that she will bow to his wishes...
(hmmm. Where does that leave those of us who still see her as an iconic feminist figure?)

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:53 pm
by fireflydances
Comment on Simone’s encouragement of Nelson to satisfy his pleasures with other women and her apparent disinterest in doing so herself.


This perspective fits Simone's philosophy. The choice needed to be Nelson's to make.

Beyond that, she seems to take a great deal of pleasure in relationships where there was a great deal of freedom. I think it kept her interested, even if she wasn't pursuing someone else at the time. Her words are not anguished but rather the opposite: she enjoys describing her feelings, the 'gift' she is giving etc. All part of the dance I think.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:07 pm
by RamblinRebel
I think Simone likes the idea of Algren having affairs with other women - in theory. It seems to fit with her beliefs and her lifestyle, or as fireflydances said, her philosophy. However, at this point she is still very much in love with him (I think) and it hurts to really consider him doing so.

I think I should have to be very cold blooded to be able to fancy you kissing a girl, sleeping with her, and not to feel a bad pang in the heart. But this kind of animal instinct does not matter very much.

It's as if she wants to conquer her natural feelings. As for why she doesn't want to sleep with anyone else during this period, well, I think Algren stole her heart. :shy:

I guess I take Simone at face value in this passage. Go figure. :eyebrow:

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:45 pm
by Liz
Buster wrote:I suspect women often "give permission" when they think they are losing sway. Possessiveness is not an attractive trait, generally. Most lovers prefer to be so adored that their "every whim be satisfied"; perhaps deBeauvoir is attempting to woo Algren by letting him believe that she will bow to his wishes...
(hmmm. Where does that leave those of us who still see her as an iconic feminist figure?)

We'll get to this, I promise.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:49 pm
by Liz
RamblinRebel wrote:I think Simone likes the idea of Algren having affairs with other women - in theory. It seems to fit with her beliefs and her lifestyle, or as fireflydances said, her philosophy. However, at this point she is still very much in love with him (I think) and it hurts to really consider him doing so.

I think I should have to be very cold blooded to be able to fancy you kissing a girl, sleeping with her, and not to feel a bad pang in the heart. But this kind of animal instinct does not matter very much.

It's as if she wants to conquer her natural feelings. As for why she doesn't want to sleep with anyone else during this period, well, I think Algren stole her heart. :shy:

I guess I take Simone at face value in this passage. Go figure. :eyebrow:

Yeah, I do too. I think he did steal her heart, BUT Sartre trained her well on what was expected. HOWEVER, I do think that there is guilt on her part. And she knows that it is not fair for her to ask for him to be totally loyal to her when she is not totally committed to him (due to Sartre).

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:23 am
by gemini
Liz wrote:Yeah, I do too. I think he did steal her heart, BUT Sartre trained her well on what was expected. HOWEVER, I do think that there is guilt on her part. And she knows that it is not fair for her to ask for him to be totally loyal to her when she is not totally committed to him (due to Sartre).[/liz]


Liz, I am not so sure who trained who. For the past few months of learning of Simone I thought exactly the same as you but the last couple books I’ve read were written more recently and have changed my mind. I thought Sartre was the womanizer and came up with the pact but I no longer believe it. Simone had an ongoing affair with Rene Maheu and did not want to give him up when she signed the pact. (And she didn’t) The pact was signed in 1929. Simone had affairs simultaneously with Sartre, Rene Maheu, and Pierre Gille in 1930-31 while Sarte was in the service for his training. Sartre did not have an affair until the lunar woman, (Marie Ville)which was later when he went to school in Berlin after the service. Before her, there was Toulouse, but that was before he met Simone. He later says he only slept with Wanda because Simone slept with Bost and he was jealous. Story sounding a bit different than when Simone told it? I do admit in later life the situation changed and he was more amorous than her.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:37 pm
by Liz
VERY :interesting:

gemini, today's question will allow us to explore this a little further. I'll be posting it shortly.

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:10 am
by Lady Jill
nebraska, I am in agreement with you. It was a contol issue with Simone, not that she actually knew it or thought it.
Lady Jill

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:03 pm
by RamblinRebel
gemini wrote:Liz, I am not so sure who trained who. For the past few months of learning of Simone I thought exactly the same as you but the last couple books I’ve read were written more recently and have changed my mind. I thought Sartre was the womanizer and came up with the pact but I no longer believe it. Simone had an ongoing affair with Rene Maheu and did not want to give him up when she signed the pact. (And she didn’t) The pact was signed in 1929.

Pact? :-O I understood that they had some sort of "arrangement" but a written and signed document? If you don't mind, what was the nature of the pact? (Apologies for having missed several days! - I'm once again playing catch-up. Was that posted somewhere and I missed it? -RR)

Re: ATLA Question #11 - Giving Algren permission

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:46 pm
by gemini
RamblinRebel wrote:
gemini wrote:Liz, I am not so sure who trained who. For the past few months of learning of Simone I thought exactly the same as you but the last couple books I’ve read were written more recently and have changed my mind. I thought Sartre was the womanizer and came up with the pact but I no longer believe it. Simone had an ongoing affair with Rene Maheu and did not want to give him up when she signed the pact. (And she didn’t) The pact was signed in 1929.

Pact? :-O I understood that they had some sort of "arrangement" but a written and signed document? If you don't mind, what was the nature of the pact? (Apologies for having missed several days! - I'm once again playing catch-up. Was that posted somewhere and I missed it? -RR)

I probably should not have used the word sign but agreed to.
I would answer but that would probably get me a wack from Liz and Dithot. Its most likely going to be in another question as I have been waiting patiently to really discuss Sartre. Don't apologise for being late, it gives us more ideas to discuss.