Adieux (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre (published in France in 1981 as La Cérémonie des adieux) is an account of the last years and death of Jean-Paul Sartre (19051980) by his lifelong companion, the writer Simone de Beauvoir. She does not spare the reader the most intimate clinical details of Sartre’s last illnesses but dwells on his symptoms and his increasing debility much as she had done when describing the final illness of her mother in Une Mort très douce (1964; A Very Easy Death, 1966). Sartre began to lose his faculties, experiencing periods of forgetfulness and failing to recognize people he knew very well. He had high blood pressure, dizzy spells, difficulty in walking, episodes of incontinence, and, worst of all, for an intellectual whose life was his books, he became virtually blind and could no longer work. One may or may not relish this frank account of Sartre’s deterioration—a condition which de Beauvoir attributes partly to his having taken large doses of the drug Corydrane while writing his major philosophical work, Critique de la raison dialectique (1960). One has to appreciate, however, her courage, her honesty, and her fidelity to her convictions. True to the Existentialist atheism she and Sartre shared, she refuses to entertain any falsely comforting notion of immortality. After his death on April 15, 1980, she says, bleakly, “His death does separate us. My death will not bring us together again. That...
(The entire section is 2570 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
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(The entire section is 53 words.)