ATLA Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

by Simone de Beauvoir

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

ATLA Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:32 am

Do you believe Simone truly loved Nelson?

How would you describe Simone’s love for him?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28047
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Question #19 ~

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:01 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Do you believe Simone truly loved Nelson?

How would you describe Simone’s love for him?


I think she loved the idea of him. He was different from her European lovers. He lived in the slums, he lived poor and simple without too many fine cultural outlets. He took her places like diners and police lineups and morgues. He had a grittier lifestyle and she liked to play with that, and I also think she liked the idea of having an American lover even if she didn't care for America's political stand in the war. There was obviously physical attraction and satisfaction for a period of time. I suppose she loved him as much as she was able in her own way. But she told him she could give him only a part of herself, she could not give herself to him completely, so she didn't love him as truly as he needed her to love him.

And once again it may come down to splitting hairs with definitions of love.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby gemini » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:40 pm

Do you think Simone really loved Agren?
Yes, I think Simone really did fall in love with Algren. As I mentioned before I didn’t see written anywhere that she was with anyone else during their affair until it cooled and Algren remarried. This was not the norm for Simone. She is still writing him when she starts her affair with Lanzmann. When Algren visits France in the 60’s after 9 years, her Lanzmann affair had ended, and she and Lansmann were only friends. She lends us to believe she and Algren were intimate again for the last time. Funny, she always wanted her affairs to play out to the end. This was after the publication of the Mandarin's which was translated into English in 1956, but before the publication of Force of Circumstance in 1963. Algren had read the Mandarins and spouted off about it and then cooled off, still writing Simone off and on.


In my opinion, with Simone her love affairs were what made her feel young. The older she got the more desperate she became for one last affair. With Sartre finding his love affairs elsewhere she seemed desperate and had many short affairs with their friends and business associates. When Algren came along he was serious and just what she needed at that time. She nearly says as much in her bios, that she was looking for a last affair before she met him. She did call a married man she was dating in New York and only went back for the first week with Algren when the man refused because his wife would not approve of him spending a week with her. She thought her affair with Algren would be her last and was very surprised when Lanzmann came along.

Then you have to see that the old Simone kicked in, and like she needed Algren because Sartre was always falling in love, she needed Lanzmann because Algren was remarrying. Between affairs she went back to her panic attacks that she had when she was younger and things weren’t going well with Sartre. The things she tells let you read her fears like a book. Lanzmann called her attacks fear of aging.
I guess I will amend to say she loved him as possible as it was for her in her own fashion. Even Sartre said Simone’s love for Algren was not contingent.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Re: Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:40 pm

nebraska, you and gemini both have given us good arguments. I admit that about halfway through the book I really wasn't sure. Liz was way ahead of me in reading at the time and I remember asking her if she thought Simone was just playing Algren. I do think she felt something real for him, it would be interesting to see other letters she wrote to lovers other than Sartre. One good argument for whatever she felt that may have been love Simone style is the fact she was buried wearing the silver ring he gave her.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28047
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:22 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:nebraska, you and gemini both have given us good arguments. I admit that about halfway through the book I really wasn't sure. Liz was way ahead of me in reading at the time and I remember asking her if she thought Simone was just playing Algren. I do think she felt something real for him, it would be interesting to see other letters she wrote to lovers other than Sartre. One good argument for whatever she felt that may have been love Simone style is the fact she was buried wearing the silver ring he gave her.


Well, you have a point about the ring :perplexed: ......and as I said, it might matter how you define the word "love" -- I love many people and there are things I wouldn't mind being buried with that are connected to those people that in no way diminish what I feel for hubby....

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3158
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:31 pm

Do you think Simone really loved Algren?

First off, what do you mean by love? Did she love Algren the way he loved her--wanting to belong to him, wanting him to belong to her--no, don't think she did. Did she love Algren, did she long desperately to see him, to be with him, did she wish to be that person she called 'his wife'---yes, I think she did. He was a major emotional force in her life, even if simply because she and he found it difficult to be on the same page for more than days at a time. He was her exotic foreign man, her Chicago youth -- and the notion of being loved by a man so completely unlike her was something that held her, kept her returning to him, if just to be surrounded by this "American" with his direct way, his working man way of being with a woman. Let's face it, he was the physical lover that Satre could never be. What that experience must have been like for her.

So yes, she loved him.

But.........the question is was it exactly this 'different kind' of love that drew Algren to her? I have a hundred or so questions for Algren about love and little hope of answers.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: ATLA Question #19 ~ Did Simone love Nelson?

Unread postby Liz » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:04 pm

Well, I have one answer for you, firefly.

It comes from Bianca (Bienenfeld) Lamblin in her book A Disgraceful Affair:

"Simone de Beauvoir first knew truly sensual love with Nelson Algren, her American lover. He gave her a new awareness of herself. The contrast between their relationship and her purely intellectual relationship with Sartre is fascinating. This makes it even more amazing that she decided to leave Algren, who was very much in love with her, in order to remain with Sartre."

I know I've brought up Sartre, so I want to caution y'all not to go there just yet ALTHOUGH I KNOW YOU ARE DYING TO. But it was hard to leave that out of the quote. And although I agree with the first part of her statement, I take exception to her saying that Simone left Algren. I'm rather curious as to how she came to that conclusion. Could it be from A Force of Circumstance when Simone calls it The End? I'd say Algren ended it. NOT SIMONE.

I, like you, firefly, think that she did love Algren for the reasons you say. But like others have said, it was her way of loving (which isn't necessarily the way the rest of us view love). And then there is that ring, that DITHOT brought up. That was significant to me.

Also, I think the fact that she continued to try to connect with him when the affair was over and the nature of her letters led me to believe that he was significant in her life.

One more thing.....I was hooked from the very beginning. I felt her letters to him very deeply. Yeah, I'm an incurable romantic.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


Return to “A Transatlantic Love Affair”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest