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.
Beginning with La Ceremonie des adieux, the portrayal of Sartre need not be reduced to one which focuses on him either in terms of a degrading portrait whose purpose is humiliation, or in terms of the playing out of a Freudian scenario.
On the following page 'La Coupole' is mentioned again, and in this scene the phrase 'la ceremonie des adieux' appears; it is the moment when Beauvoir has to say her farewells to Sartre, and it anticipates his death as final 'adieu':
[...] Il a souri d'une maniere indefinissable et il m'a dit: <<Alors, c'est la ceremonie des adieux!>> Je lui ai touche l'epaule sans repondre.
The scenes at 'La Coupole' offer a momentary glimpse of their past partnership and the mention of 'la ceremonie des adieux' suggests their fate in microcosm: the nostalgic nod to the past in the young girl who resembles Beauvoir; an acceptance of fragility in the hand which now trembles; the farewells before they go to Italy anticipating the final farewell; a moment when relationships with others are forgotten.
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. Doubrovsky constructs and deconstructs identity through a number of significant Others, in particular through Sartre, through his own wife Ilse, and through his analyst Akeret.
(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. Where Beauvoir's narrative brought to the fore the reality of the 'situated self' and the limits of the existentialist perspective, Doubrovsky's use of psychoanalytic discourse and resistance to referentiality through the genre of autofiction denies finite interpretations and closure, creating a distancing mechanism from the excesses of the body.
516), which echoes Beauvoir's preface to La Ceremonie des adieux: 'Sa mort nous separe.
(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.