Aligning myself with Elaine Marks's emphasis on the ways in which La Ceremonie des adieux challenges norms of acceptability in terms of genre and content, I would like to re-examine depictions of Sartre to highlight the multiple and sometimes conflicting representations of him, whether as writer, as ageing body, as alter ego, or as mentor, in order to trace Beauvoir's negotiations of death and mortality via the Other.
In focusing here on the extent to which the depictions of Sartre in La Ceremonie des adieux and Le Livre brise inform the construction of the authors' identities and positionings, a caveat looms for analysis which encompasses references to the lived experiences of individuals and depictions of them as textual characters.
Viewed as a taboo-breaking, but also at times empathetic, study of ageing, La Ceremonie des adieux mirrors some of the preoccupations raised in La Force des choses but which relate less specifically to a mid-life crisis than to a confrontation with mortality by an ageing and increasingly fragile self.
The last line of La Ceremonie des adieux celebrates the length of time that their lives have been intertwined--'Sa mort nous separe.
The network of relationships and pacts with real and imaginary figures in Le Livre brise invites comparison with models of identification in La Ceremonie des adieux.
34) Unlike Beauvoir's identification with Sartre in La Ceremonie des adieux, in which images of the materiality of the ageing body contrasted with momentary glimpses of its transcendence, Doubrovsky uses the lens of psychoanalysis rather than existentialism to steer the reader through his encounters with the body, ageing, and death.
38) In Part Two, like the discourse of abjection in La Ceremonie des adieux (Beauvoir's description of her desire to lie beside the corpse in the hospital, for example), Doubrovsky toys with the boundaries of decency when he writes about the reality of seeing his wife's corpse:
Sartre's role in the text therefore extends into Part Two, the death of Ilse echoing the death of Sartre in La Ceremonie des adieux.
48) Certainly, Jardine's focus, in her interpretation of La Ceremonie des adieux, on Beauvoir's annihilation of 'The Father for intellectual France' (49) and Doubrovsky's numerous ready-made Oedipal interpretations proffered to the reader of Le Livre brise (to explain, for example, his relationships with women and his self-avowed 'uxoricides': LB, pp.
In La Ceremonie des adieux she voices herself, not as the voix d'outre-tombe who presented a totalization of a life in Tout compte fait, but in relation to the degeneration and death of an Other and in a way which foregrounds her own identity above all as a situated subject.
1) 'Elle s'interdit de raconter l'amour Sartre-Beauvoir': 'La Ceremonie des adieux, de Simone de Beauvoir', Le Monde, 25 November 1981, pp.