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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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The Algerian War and the Scandal of Torture

The Algerian War and the Scandal of Torture

(p.106) 4 The Algerian War and the Scandal of Torture
Sex, Love, and Letters

Judith G. Coffin

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains how Simone de Beauvoir's memoirs were thoroughly intertwined with the Algerian War and with some of the most dramatic years of the French Republic. It looks at Beauvoir's writing from 1954 to 1962, which brought a tidal wave of correspondence and show how her relationship with her readers deepened and became more difficult. The chapter highlights readers who shared Beauvoir's political feelings on the French state's war against Algerian nationalism, the revelations of torture in that war, and historical memories of Nazi imperialism and brutality during World War II. It mentions Djamila Boupacha, the young Algerian militant that was arrested, tortured, and raped by the French military in 1960, who sent a letter to Beauvoir. The chapter also covers letters that came from soldiers who were either conscience-stricken or fiercely unapologetic about the war, and from social workers and schoolteachers who felt implicated in the French state's actions.

Keywords:   Simone de Beauvoir, Algerian War, French Republic, political feelings, Algerian nationalism, Djamila Boupacha

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