de Beauvoir, Simone: The Mandarins
(researched by Brittany Joyce)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
First American Edition: Simone de Beauvoir. The Mandarins. Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1956. Copyright: The World Publishing Company First French edition: Les mandarins. Paris: Gallimard, 1954. First British edition: The Mandarins. London: Collins, 1957.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
First American edition published in trade cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
304 leaves, pp. [6] [11] 12-56 [57] 58-86 [87] 88-175 [176] 177-234 [235] 236-323 [324] 325-380 [381] 382-422 [423] 424-484 [485] 486-518 [519] 520-567 [568] 569-605 [606] 607-610 [2]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
Includes publisher advertisement for other books by Simone de Beauvoir in front flyleaf. No editor or introduction. Book is dedicated to Nelson Algren.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
No illustrations. Dust jacket design by Laszlo Matulay.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Book appears in good condition with clear, readable type. Typeface is a serif type similar to the Andrade type. Chapter headings printed in different serif typeface and are numbered but not titled. 51R. Size of text: 113 mm. by 66 mm; Size of page: 142 mm. by 91 mm.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
Paper is smooth, white woven paper that has yellowed, but is in overall undamaged condition. Top and bottom have straight edges while side has deckle edges. Top on this copy is stained blue.
11 Description of binding(s)
Bound in dark blue cloth. There is red and greenish yellow stamping. Front and back flyleaves on white stock paper continued from the binding with no printings on them. Transcription of cover: Simone | de | Beauvoir| [decorative underline, 1 mm x 31 mm] | Spine (horizontal text): The | Mandarins | Simone de Beauvoir | WORLD | No text on back cover. Transcription of dust jacket front cover: The | Mandarins | the Prix Goncourt novel | by | Simone de Beauvoir | Transcription of dust jacket spine (horizontal text): The | Mandarins | by | Simone de Beauvoir | WORLD | On the back cover of the dust jacket is a black and white photograph of Simone de Beauvoir bent over writing. Her name is printed once again in stylized script at the bottom of the cover. The front inside fold contains a summary of the novel, which continues on the back fold. The front fold lists the price of the book at $6.00. On the back fold, there is also a short biography of de Beauvoir and the publisher's information. The dust jacket cover features a drawing of a woman turned away from a man, who has his hand on her elbow. The woman is in a fine dress and has short hair, and the man is in a suit and smoking a cigarette. There are figures in the background that are not fleshed out in color like these two figures are, and look more like sketches.
12 Transcription of title page
[decorative corner borders, 15 mm x 16 mm] | THE | MANDARINS | A novel by | Simone de Beauvoir | [World Publishing colophon, 6 mm x 6 mm] | THE WORLD PUBLISHING COMPANY | Cleveland and New York Verso: Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 56-5315 | FIRST EDITION | First published in Paris by Librairie Gallimard | under the title Les Mandarins | Translated by Leonard M. Friedman | HC356 | Copyright 1956 by The World Publishing Company. All rights | reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form with- | out written permission from the publisher, except for brief passages | included in a review appearing in a newspaper or magazine. | Manufactured in the United States of America.
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
A Les Mandarins handwritten and typed carbon copy manuscript and draft with miscellaneous pages with handwritten revisions is located at the Carlton Lake Collection of French Manuscripts, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. The Harry Ransom Center also has various other manuscripts and writings by de Beauvoir. Fragment of Les Mandarins manuscript at Southern Illinois University, according to the university's Special Collections Research Center.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Handwritten inscription in the front flyleaf of this copy: Duane Methvin | 1727 Virginia | Chickaska, Oklahoma Book was translated into English from French by Leonard M. Friedman.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
World Publishing does not seem to have issued any other editions of The Mandarins after the original release.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
According to Worldcat, there was at least one other printing in 1956 after the novel's May release. World Publishing reissued the novel as a paperback in 1960 under their paperback division Meridian.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1956 New York: Popular Library, 1956. London: Collins, 1957. London: Fontana Books, 1960. London: Flamingo/Fontana Paperbacks, 1984. With an introduction by Doris Lessing London; New York. W. W. Norton & Company, 1991. The Mandarins. London & New York: Harper Perennial, 2005. London: The Folio Society, 2008.
6 Last date in print?
In print as of 2014 by Norton and Harper Perennial
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Information not found
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Information not found
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
No ads were published in any major American newspapers by the publisher prior to the novel's release. The novel was used, however, in ads for book clubs. The Marlboro Book Club labels The Mandarins "The Most Talked About Book of the Year" and cites a deal with the novel's publishers for participation in the book club. The Mandarins is featured in Marlboro Book Club ads at least six times through 1963 in the New York times alone, as well as in other papers, such as the Chicago Tribune.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A210191140307114204.jpg
11 Other promotion
The fact that de Beauvoir won the Prix Goncourt in 1954 it was published in major American newspaper, including the New York Times and Chicago Tribune. By this time, the English translation was already in the works and announced for the spring of 1956 by these outlets. The New York Times mentioned the book's future release on at least four other occasions. In addition to the mention of the Goncourt, announcements of the novel's 320,000 word count were also frequently mentioned before its release.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Play: The play 'Transatlantic Liaison' opened at the Harold Clurman Theater in New York on March 1, 2006. The play is based on scenes from The Mandarins and the love letters of de Beauvoir and Nelson Algren. Film: The idea of the novel as a film seemed to be popular after its release but was never realized. Milton Esterow wrote in "Of People and Pictures: Moviemakers seeking The Mandarins Teaming World, Hunter" from the New York Times of Aug. 26, 1956 that moviemakers and in general producer Jerry Wald were considering a movie version of the novel. "Mr. Wald has been negotiation for some time for the screen rights with Mlle. De Beauvoir's agents in France." Wald producing a film version of The Mandarins and negotiating a deal with de Beauvoir was mentioned again in an article in the Sep. 3, 1956 New York Times, but the deal reportedly had not been concluded at that time. News of a possible film version resurfaced again in the New York Times on April 8, 1962 in the "By Way of Report" by A.H. Weiler. According to the article, the Compagnie Francaise Cinematographique had the screen rights to The Mandarins, and representative from the company Jean-Paul Delamotte stated they were in talks with American moviemakers to produce a film with an American star and a French actress, but also stated "we do not think we will do anything about filming for at least a year." "Simone's Guessing Game" by A.H. Weiler in the May 19, 1968 New York Times says that de Beauvoir, who has been giving the cold shoulder to filmmakers for two decades, has finally relented and that The Mandarins will now be made into a film by produce David Foster and Voltaire Films. The article claims that the characters mirroring real life intellectuals will be taken out, and the romantic relationship will be the film's focus. He said the leads will be Anouk Aimee and James Coburn, but that no one had signed on to write the screenplay. None of these films were ever made.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
[German] Die Mandarins von Paris. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1956. Translated by Fritz Montfort and Ruth Ucker-Lutz [Japanese] Re mandaran. Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1956. Translated by Sankichi Asabuki [Polish] Mandaryni. Warsaw: Instytut Wydawniczy, 1957. Translated by Aleksandra Frybesowa and Ewa Krasnowolska [Danish] Mandarinerne. Copenhagen: Vinten, 1966. Translated by Karen Mathiasen [Slovak] Mandarini. Bratislava: Slovensky spisovatel, 1966. Translated by Hana Ponicka [Czech] Mandarini. Praha: Odeon, 1967. Translated by Eva Musilova and Vaclav Zykmund [Slovenian] Mandarini. V Ljublijani: Cankarjeva zalozba, 1971. Translated by Tomaz Salamun [Italian] I mandarini. Turin: Einaudi, 1979. Translated by Franco Lucentini. [Spanish] Los Mandarines. Buenos Aires: Editorial Subamericana, 1958. Translated by Silvina Bullrich [Korean] Le mangdareng. Seoul: Samsang Ch'ulp'ansa, 1982. Translated by Myun Song [Modern Greek] Oi Mandarinoi. Publisher: Glaros. Translated by George Sarris and Sarah Georges. [Finnish] Mandariinit. Helsinki: Kirjayhtym, 1982. Translated by Mirja Bolgarâ [Dutch] De mandarijnen. Weesp: Agathon, 1983. Translated by Ernst van Altena [Turkish] Marndarinler. Istanbul: AFA, 1991. Translated by Lizi Behmoaras and Ilkay Kundakâ [Norwegian] Mandarinene. Oslo: Pax Forag, 1993. [Chinese] Ming shi feng liu. Beijing: Zhongguo shu ji chu ban she, 2000. Translated by Ximengna De Bofuwa zhu and Xu Jun yi [Hebrew] ha-Mandarinim. Tel Aviv: Sifriyat po'alim, 2001. Translated by Tsevi Arad [Persian] Mandaranâ'ha. Tehran: Nashr-i Dunaa-yi Naw, 2003. Translated by tarjumah Parvaz-i Shahada [Portuguese] Os mandarins. Sau Paolo: Difusao Europeia do Livro, 1966. Translated by Helio de Souza [Arabic] al-muthaqqafun. riwayah Beirut: Dār al-adab, 2009. Translated by tarjamat Mara áawq
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
There is no sequel or prequel to The Mandarins, although there are some editions in French published in different volumes, as Les Mandarins I and II. Some other translations also seem to have done this, but there are no split editions in English.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, as quoted in de Beauvoir's New York Times obituary from April 15, 1986, said upon her death that "her unquestionable talent made her a writer who deserves her place in French literature." In the same article, Betty Friedan is quoted as calling her "an authentic heroine in the history of womanhood." Simone de Beauvoir is best remembered as a feminist and writer, as show by the numerous obituaries published after her death citing her importance in these areas. Mary Evans wrote "Simone de Beauvoir was born, if not a woman then certainly a female" (14) on January 9, 1908 in Paris, France, alluding to de Beauvoir's famous statement that woman are made, not born. Her parents, Francoise and Georges de Beauvoir, were from solid bourgeois backgrounds, but met with economic troubles, causing the family (including de Beauvoir's younger sister Helene) to move to a smaller apartment when de Beauvoir was a child. At this time it also became clear that the family would not be able to provide dowries to the girls, but de Beauvoir already had an interest in education at this point. Following success at lower level schools, de Beauvoir began at the Sorbonne in 1927 where she studied philosophy, and met many of the people that would form her intellectual circle, including philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. She became the youngest person to pass the difficult philosophy agregation exam, coming in second only to Sartre. Sartre and de Beauvoir began a relationship later that same year, in 1929. Following this, de Beauvoir was appointed a teacher in Marseille in 1931. Through Nazi occupation, she would be dismissed from her teaching post, but she was finally banned from teaching in 1943 for accusations of improper behavior with students. This type of relationship may have been partly documented by her first novel 'She Came to Stay,' which was published that same year. The novel was based on the relationship between herself, Sartre, and her student Olga Kosakievicz, with whom Sartre had an affair. It was at this point that de Beauvoir became fully committed to writing. Sartre would become her lifelong companion. Although the couple never married or lived together, and each had numerous affairs, they remained committed to each other. In 1945 they both began and worked on the political journal Les Temps Modernes, which de Beauvoir would edit until her death. While de Beauvoir wrote several novels, philosophical works, a play, and even a four volume autobiography, her most famous written work is the treatise 'The Second Sex,' published in France in 1949. It deals with society's treatment of women, and contains de Beauvoir's claim that women are made by society, not born. De Beauvoir was often involved with and wrote about political beliefs as well as philosophical ones. She famously signed the Manifesto of the 343, a declaration signed by 343 women in 1971 claiming to have had an abortion, which was illegal in France at the time. She was also a critic of the United States' role in the Vietnam War. De Beauvoir continued to publish throughout her life, with her final fictional works being collections of short stories. Following Sartre’s death in 1980, she published edited versions of his letters. De Beauvoir’s edits remain on the published letters as of 2014. De Beauvoir died of pneumonia in Paris on April 14, 1986, one day before the six-year anniversary of Sartre’s death. She is buried next to Sartre in the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. Sources: "Simone de Beauvoir, Author and Intellectual, Dies in Paris at 78" New York Times (1923-Current file); Apr 15, 1986; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2009) pg. B9. Evans, Mary. Simone de Beauvoir. London: SAGE Publications, 1996. Cottrell, Robert D. Simone de Beauvoir. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, Co., 1975. Francis, Claude. Simone de Beauvoir: a life, a love story. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987. Mussett, Shannon. "Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. http://www.iep.utm.edu/beauvoir/
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The novel’s 1956 American release was greatly anticipated following 'The Mandarins' release and acclaim in France in 1954; several newspaper articles were written announcing that it had won the Prix Goncourt and detailing its upcoming English translation at that time. The novel was also placed on the list of books banned by the Catholic Church, because of “immoral behavior of the characters” (Bennett 6). Several reviewers, both French and American, also criticized it as undeserving of the Prix Goncourt, while other reviewers came to its defense. Once the novel came out in America, reviewers in general referenced its intellectual nature and long length. Many reviewers also remark upon de Beauvoir’s humor and journalistic style. Most reviews mentioned the novel’s roman a clef style and discussed the intellectual figures that stand behind the novel’s characters. Many reviewers also attempt to address the question of if the lives of elite Parisian intellectuals will be interesting to Americans, particularly in light of the book’s display of anti-American attitudes. Paul Engle of the Chicago Tribune wrote that de Beauvoir looked to answer philosophical questions in the novel, and that anti-American sentiment in the novel is ironic because this freedom to criticize inevitably depends upon America’s support of France. New York Times reviewer Elizabeth Janeway poses the question of if this book will be interesting to Americans, writing “In France it was certainly read not only as a novel...but also as a document, a battle report from the front of the war of ideas by a well-informed correspondent. All very well, in France--but will it interest that somewhat-less-than-passionate combatant in the philosophic war, the average American book-buy?” Janeway answers that yes, it will, but other reviewers disagree. A book overview in the Boston Globe, titled “Three That Are Exotic” again suggests the book has a quality of “otherness.” This review says the novel will only interest intellectuals, and will “seem perverse to the normal reader in America.” Lionel Abel wrote in the Partisan Review, in an article title “Intellectuals: No Ideas,” that though the ideas behind 'The Mandarins' are solid, the themes are unreal and too abstract. He also wrote that for a novel about intellectuals, the characters are lacking in intellect (Bennet 270). Many reviewers discussed de Beauvoir’s almost journalistic style of writing in regard to the chronicle she creates of post-War Parisian life. Stuart H. Hughes wrote in Commentary in July 1956 that though the novel is flat, it is exceptional journalism (Bennett 282), while Riley Hughes wrote in the June 1956 Catholic World that the novel does not succeed because it is too journalistic, and lacks artistry (Bennett 283). V.R. Yanitelli wrote in Best Sellers in June 1956 that The Mandarins is the best existential novel written yet and that de Beauvoir uses themes such as love and politics brilliantly (Bennett 296). Yanitelli is impressed by content that others called too intricate or boring for a novel, showing the mixed reviews it received. Regardless on their views if an average American would enjoy the novel, reviewers considered the intellectual nature of the novel, as well as its Parisian setting and character stand-ins for real people. Even those critical of the novel would often praise de Beauvoir for her depiction of the post-War time and social setting, giving the novel an overall positive contemporary reception. Sources: Bennett, Joy and Gabriella Hochmann. Simone de Beauvoir: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1988. Engle, Paul. “Long, Furious Novel Explains Post-War Paris Intellectuals.” Chicago Daily Tribune [Chicago]. May 27, 1956. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Janeway, Elizabeth. “A French Window on Today’s World” The Crisis Among Post-War Intellectuals is the Theme of Mlle. de Beauvoir’s Novel.” The New Yorks Times [New York] 27 May 1956. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. “Three That Are Exotic: A Single Pebble, by John Hersey: Knopf, $3. A Walk on the Wild Side, by Nelson Algren: Farrar, Straus &Cudahy, $4.50. The Mandarins, by Simone de Beauvoir: World, $6.” Daily Boston Globe [Boston] 10 June 1956: pag. C 11. Proquest Historical Newspapers.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The novel’s 1956 American release was greatly anticipated following 'The Mandarins' release and acclaim in France in 1954; several newspaper articles were written announcing that it had won the Prix Goncourt and detailing its upcoming English translation at that time. The novel was also placed on the list of books banned by the Catholic Church, because of “immoral behavior of the characters” (Bennett 6). Several reviewers, both French and American, also criticized it as undeserving of the Prix Goncourt, while other reviewers came to its defense. Once the novel came out in America, reviewers in general referenced its intellectual nature and long length. Many reviewers also remark upon de Beauvoir’s humor and journalistic style. Most reviews mentioned the novel’s roman a clef style and discussed the intellectual figures that stand behind the novel’s characters. Many reviewers also attempt to address the question of if the lives of elite Parisian intellectuals will be interesting to Americans, particularly in light of the book’s display of anti-American attitudes. Paul Engle of the Chicago Tribune wrote that de Beauvoir looked to answer philosophical questions in the novel, and that anti-American sentiment in the novel is ironic because this freedom to criticize inevitably depends upon America’s support of France. New York Times reviewer Elizabeth Janeway poses the question of if this book will be interesting to Americans, writing “In France it was certainly read not only as a novel...but also as a document, a battle report from the front of the war of ideas by a well-informed correspondent. All very well, in France--but will it interest that somewhat-less-than-passionate combatant in the philosophic war, the average American book-buy?” Janeway answers that yes, it will, but other reviewers disagree. A book overview in the Boston Globe, titled “Three That Are Exotic” again suggests the book has a quality of “otherness.” This review says the novel will only interest intellectuals, and will “seem perverse to the normal reader in America.” Lionel Abel wrote in the Partisan Review, in an article title “Intellectuals: No Ideas,” that though the ideas behind 'The Mandarins' are solid, the themes are unreal and too abstract. He also wrote that for a novel about intellectuals, the characters are lacking in intellect (Bennet 270). Many reviewers discussed de Beauvoir’s almost journalistic style of writing in regard to the chronicle she creates of post-War Parisian life. Stuart H. Hughes wrote in Commentary in July 1956 that though the novel is flat, it is exceptional journalism (Bennett 282), while Riley Hughes wrote in the June 1956 Catholic World that the novel does not succeed because it is too journalistic, and lacks artistry (Bennett 283). V.R. Yanitelli wrote in Best Sellers in June 1956 that The Mandarins is the best existential novel written yet and that de Beauvoir uses themes such as love and politics brilliantly (Bennett 296). Yanitelli is impressed by content that others called too intricate or boring for a novel, showing the mixed reviews it received. Regardless on their views if an average American would enjoy the novel, reviewers considered the intellectual nature of the novel, as well as its Parisian setting and character stand-ins for real people. Even those critical of the novel would often praise de Beauvoir for her depiction of the post-War time and social setting, giving the novel an overall positive contemporary reception. Sources: Bennett, Joy and Gabriella Hochmann. Simone de Beauvoir: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1988. Engle, Paul. “Long, Furious Novel Explains Post-War Paris Intellectuals.” Chicago Daily Tribune [Chicago]. May 27, 1956. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Janeway, Elizabeth. “A French Window on Today’s World” The Crisis Among Post-War Intellectuals is the Theme of Mlle. de Beauvoir’s Novel.” The New Yorks Times [New York] 27 May 1956. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. “Three That Are Exotic: A Single Pebble, by John Hersey: Knopf, $3. A Walk on the Wild Side, by Nelson Algren: Farrar, Straus &Cudahy, $4.50. The Mandarins, by Simone de Beauvoir: World, $6.” Daily Boston Globe [Boston] 10 June 1956: pag. C 11. Proquest Historical Newspapers.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Though Simone de Beauvoir denied her novel The Mandarins was a roman a clef, there is sufficient evidence to correlate her novel's characters to real life individuals. A roman a clef, French for "novel with a key," is a novel that portrays well-known people as fictional characters. This practice dates back to 17th-century France, when members of literary circles included famous members of King Louis XIV's court in their historical romances. Britannica lists The Mandarins, along with Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point, as examples of a more common use of roman a clef, in which the hidden characters are "immediately recognizable only to a small circle of insiders." As a literary device, Britannica goes on to say that the success of a roman a clef depends upon the accessibility of the plot without the key. The Mandarins found success because for those in the know, its allusions to the French intellectual elite are considered to be a true document of the times, as numerous reviews of the novel noted at the time, while those who are not aware of the real life figures, or those who do not wish to consider them, may still find meaning in the novel. The novel's scandalous nature, both in light of the reflections of real life figures and in its portrayal of politics and sex, gave it its popularity. In addition, the intellectual acclaim has added to its continued visitation in a scholarly setting. At its base, the novel is about the relationships, both romantic and platonic, among a circle of intellectual friends. It begins on Christmas Eve 1945, as these friends celebrate the end of WWII. The novel tells their stories through a third-person narration of the life of Henri Perron, a writer and journalist, and through the first-person narration of Anne Dubreuilh, a middle-aged psychiatrist married to the writer Robert Dubreuilh. The intellectuals, particularly Henri and Robert, grapple with their personal freedom following the end of the war, as well as what the political role of France should be in the new world. Robert wishes to start a leftist movement independent of both the rising American and Soviet powers, but even though Henri also wants there to be a similar political movement, he refuses to compromise the integrity of his own paper, resulting in tension as the friends divide. In addition, Henri wishes for freedom from his girlfriend Paula, as their love affair has soured after ten years. He begins an affair with Nadine, the sullen, young daughter of the Dubreuilhs, who, following the death of her love in the war, seeks solace in casual sex with many men. She takes a particular interest in Henri, and what is supposed to be a casual affair becomes much more serious by the end of the novel. Meanwhile, Anne finds herself in an affair with American writer Lewis Brogan which brings more passion back to her life, which she felt had stalled as she reached an older age. Amid love affairs and politics, The Mandarins depicts the confusing years in Paris following the end of World War II. A roman a clef about the intellectual elite, written by "one of its most glittering citizens," (de Beauvoir 8) most likely aided in the popularity of the novel by the time it reached an English publication. In her introduction to the Harper Perennial edition of The Mandarins, Doris Lessing writes, "Even before The Mandarins arrived in this country it was being discussed with the lubricious excitement used for fashionable gossip." Lessing claims that it was well known that the novel was about de Beauvoir, Sartre, and their friends. Indeed, it is generally thought that the Dubreuilhs are Sartre and de Beauvoir, while Henri is their writer and philosopher friend Albert Camus. The novel reflects the changing landscape in their friendship, from when "in 1948 [the two] joined in launching a new political movement. The two later became political enemies, waging war in open letters, for as Sartre moved further towards Communism, Camus edged away, disillusioned by what he saw as a Russian betrayal of the Revolution" (Amos 404). While here William Amos is describing the real life account, it also generally reflects the political debates and events of The Mandarins. Brogan is the American cult novel writer Nelson Algren, with whom de Beauvoir famously had an affair. In numerous interviews, Algren later discussed the affair, saying "She gave me a disguise, another name, in The Mandarins" and "I've been in whorehouses all over the world and the woman there always closes the door...But this woman flung the door open and called in the public and the Press" (Amos 70). Algren's anger only added to the fame of the novel as a roman a clef, and his presence in the novel adds to much of the scandal because of the frank depiction of their love life and affair. Even Scriassine, the fatalistic refugee writer, reflects writer Arthur Koestler, "whose Darkness at Noon becomes The Red Paradise in The Mandarins. A perfectionist to the end, he made four drafts of his suicide note" (Amos 461). In light of Scriassine's depressed behavior in The Mandarins, this insight into Koestler's life is not surprising. He shows his vulnerability when he has his tryst with Anne, and later Anne describes him: "For him, the third world war was just starting. Cheerfully, I said to him, 'Now don't start playing Cassandra again tonight. On Christmas Eve you were predicting all kinds of horrible disasters,'" in reference to his previous certainty that a third world war would begin (de Beauvoir 244). Scriassine is convinced that the world will erupt in war again, and suffers from extreme guilt for having survived the previous war. This fear gives him the most insight into "the future" as of the late 1940s because he fears the growing Soviet and American powers, yet unlike his French friends, would prefer an American victory. At the Christmas party, Scriassine describes the conflict French intellectuals are about to undergo, claiming that they will reach an "impasse" to continue creating art, or to be the ones to save the right to create and view art. Throughout the novel, the characters face this impasse in their lives as the political climate changes. Initially, Anne worries that Robert will give up writing for politics and lose his life's work and focus, but later she chooses his new political goals over her affair. In contrast, Henri sees himself as a writer, and has difficulties in seeing himself in a political role. This impasse reaches its height as Henri faces attacks from former friends in a rival political newspaper, from the very people whose views he did not want to include in his paper. Since this novel came out amid the Cold War, this viewpoint is particularly radical, considering the implications of being Communist-friendly--never mind the characters here that completely favor working with Communism over America. At one point, Samazelle advises Henri on the best course of action to both save his paper's readership and in forming his politics. Samazelle tells Henri, "Scriassine is right in thinking that Europe couldn't exist without the help of the United States. Our role should be the coalescence, to the profit of an authentic socialism, of all the forces opposed to the Sovietization of the Occident. We should accept American aid in so far as it comes from the American people...as they can be oriented towards a leftist policy" (de Beauvoir 494). Henri flat out rejects this notion, saying he will fight American politics with everything he has. On the other side, his viewpoints have gotten his paper labeled as anti-Communist, which Samazelle says cuts their readership off by half, and he continues by telling Henri that the only way to gain back readers is by becoming a full anti-Communist paper. Henri dislikes this too, saying, "If we have to go bankrupt, we'll go bankrupt, but we'll maintain our line to the very end" (de Beauvoir 494). Here, the idealist, independent movement that Henri and the others had so hoped to create has begun to break down, as each side struggles to find support, and faces the choice of joining with either side of the issue. Robert's paper supports Communism, if only because it is closer to his ideals, and the paper even writes a personal attack against Henri. In the realm of politics, the world following WWII has changed, without the significant assistance of these French intellectuals who so much were worried about shaping the political world following the war. Instead, they met with the impasse Scriassine described as they tried to fit themselves into this new world. In addition to being scandalous in the political sphere, it also is scandalous in the social setting. The bestseller lists are never strangers to controversial or scandalous novels. Peyton Place, the number three bestseller of 1956, the year of The Mandarins' American release, and the number two bestseller of 1957, also deals with themes of social class, affairs, and the role of women; it is set in a small New England town, however, and so this shock value probably added to its more lasting contemporary popularity, while the foreign intrigue value of de Beauvoir's novel gave it its popularity. Lessing claims that while the French intellectuals involvement with the political sphere and the French Resistance added to the book's appeal, it was also a chance for an insight into their personal lives that intrigued most readers. Lessing writes that in particular, people were interested in getting insight into Sartre and de Beauvoir's interesting relationship. Lessing wrote, "There was another reason why The Mandarins was expected to read like a primer to better living, and that was the relationship between Sartre and de Beauvoir, presented by them, or at least by Sartre, as exemplary." Their relationship was unmarried and open, but committed, and held the appeal for a future in which men and women would not be unhappily chained to each other. In the novel, this is more exemplified by the unmarried couple Paula and Henri, while the Anne and Robert relationship is actually rather mundane. While Anne and Robert are married with a child in the novel, de Beauvoir and Sartre never married nor lived together, and had no children. Nadine, their young daughter in the novel, is actually a composite of different mistresses of Sartre. Their open relationship was quite radical for the time, and though people looked at it with curiosity, the novel presents a very domestic relationship, though it is still open to affairs. Anne does not often have affairs, and really just feels herself old. At various times she describes her trouble with interacting with others because of the "kid gloves" she still wears, or because she looks at everyone with "doctor's eyes," i.e., as a psychiatrist, she diagnoses people outside of work, making her interactions with them self-fulfilling. This comes up in particular when she denies a woman's sexual advances on her, simply because she could diagnose her. Anne laments "If I turned down her invitation, it wasn't that the situation frightened me, but rather that I foresaw its inevitable outcome too clearly to be able to enjoy it" (de Beauvoir 243). Anne's musings are more introspective and reflective rather than dwelling on the details of her open marriage, which may have drew in readers. She repeatedly worries about Robert's political activities and his older age, saying, "In the old days, it never bothered me to be away from him for a while: our love, like our life, extended through eternity. But now I had come to realize that we only have only one life, a life already seriously encroached upon, and threatened, by the future" (de Beauvoir 226). There is a tenderness in their relationship that she clearly does not possess for other people, even though they lack the physical intimacy that she also misses. Her affair with Brogan simply replaces this, with whom she has similar affections, but which have more to do with physicality. Anne and Brogan feel lost, except when together. It is physical proximity that is important to this couple, something which Anne feels others take for granted. While Nadine and Lambert fight, Anne does not understand why they do not grab their easy chance at happiness, and on the difficulties of long distance, she reflects, "Because we're separated, everything separates us, even our efforts to join each other" (de Beauvoir 446). They often feel alienated by their double lives, and even though she says, "the peace, the joy we found in each other's arms would overcome everything," (de Beauvoir 550). They feel lost without each other's immediate physical presence; in contrast to Anne and Robert's relationship, Anne and Brogan must be around each other to function as a couple, and this adds to their downfall. The Mandarins scandal and use as a "primer for better living" are also used in the characters' sometimes extravagant actions. For example, Anne and Brogan have an almost larger-than-life affair, which, even excluding the extreme trans-continental aspect, includes an excursion to the Mexican jungles around Chichen Itza. Nadine at eighteen has already lost her young love, and therefore seeks out sexual situations with various men. In order to get Henri to take her on his month-long trip to Portugal, Nadine drugs his drink and then has sex with the unknowing Henri. Henri decides to bring her with him on his trip after this, and they return with a wealth of luxury goods. The characters in The Mandarins are in the position to lead more extravagant lifestyles, and this adds to the novel's draw. The Mandarins is an all-encompassing novel about post-War life in Paris, an almost exotic locale for many Americans who bought this book, both in location and in the cast of characters. As they strive to set the political stage for the world, they also navigate complicated lives and relationships that make for a thought-provoking and readable story. Simone de Beauvoir considered this her best work, and said "I wanted to contain all of me: myself in relation to life, to death, to my times, to writing, to love, to friendship, to travel; I also wanted to depict other people, and above all to tell the feverish and disappointing story of what happened after the war," as quoted in the "about the book" section of the Harper edition. She clearly wanted to include many aspects of life, and did so, resulting in long novel that tells of the intricacies and complications of her time. This fullness of story, along with the extreme aspects of it, drew in praise for the novel, and therefore drew in readers Sources: Amos, William. The Originals: Who’s Really Who in Fiction. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1985. De Beauvoir, Simone. The Mandarins. London: Harper Perennial, 2005. "novel." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. "roman à clef." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014.
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