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Sex, Love, and LettersWriting Simone de Beauvoir$
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Judith G. Coffin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750540

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750540.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
(p.iii) Sex, Love, and Letters

Judith G. Coffin

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the search for personal and collective self-knowledge, the multiplying cultural incitements to discourse about the self and sexuality, and the disconcerting transformation of gender roles, and expectations in postwar France and beyond. It talks about the readers' letters to Simone de Beauvoir, asking advice on marriage, love, and birth control. It also uses the letters to examine the relationships that bind readers to authors and vice versa. The chapter explains how the letters disclose an exceptionally interesting author–reader intimacy, one that was consciously nurtured by Beauvoir and her readers. It explores the psychological processes of projection, recognition and misrecognition that invent an interlocutor and style oneself as a confidant that spin out inner monologues.

Keywords:   gender roles, postwar France, Simone de Beauvoir, author–reader intimacy, inner monologues, self-knowledge, projection, misrecognition

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