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Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary AM A FLURRY of sadness; a flurry of nostalgia for the halcyon fifties and sixties; for those manning the barricade for the women's cause, an occasion to take the pledge afresh. But, beyond these rituals, what else? Simorie de Beauvoir passed away, formally, at the mid-point of this month, almost to the day six years after Jean-Paul Sartre's passing. But, can one flinch from acknowledging the harsh reality; did she not in fact die the day Sartre died? These past six years were irrelevant, she might as well not have been. Apart from in the narrowest physical sense, she had ceased to exist, she was defunct as of April 15, 1980. During these half a dozen years, her only creative work, if you would permit to call it that was the one chronicling her farewell to Sartre, It makes grisly reading, the blow-by-blow account of the gradual decay of the physical and mental faculties of one of twentieth century's most remarkable men. But Les Cerernonie des Adieux is grisly reading for another reason too: as it describes Sartre's fading away, it also describes the collapse of Simone de Beauvoir's own persona. The facade of a clinical approach to what was happening to Sartre does not quite succeed in concealing the enormity of the other tragedy taking place at the same time: Sartre's death stripped de Beauvoir of her contexture; without Sartre, her being was threatened with nothingness.

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