A Dangerous Liaison

A Dangerous Liaison

A Revalatory New Biography of Simone DeBeauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781590204474
  • 592 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


A Dangerous Liaison tells the intense, passionate, and sometimes painful story of how two brilliant free-thinkers, lovers, and rivals came to share a relationship that lasted more than fifty years.

Moving from the corridors of the Sorbonne to the cafés of Paris’s Left Bank, we discover how the strikingly beautiful and gifted young Simone DeBeauvoir came to fall in love with the squinting, arrogant, hard- drinking Jean-Paul Sartre. We learn about that first summer of 1929, filled with heated debates that went on long into the night, sexual rivalry and betrayal, and the dangerous ideas that led people to experiment with new ways of behaving. We hear how Sartre compromised with the Nazis and fell into a Soviet honey-trap. And, thanks to recently discovered letters written by the avowed feminist DeBeauvoir, Seymour-Jones reveals the darker, more dangerous side to the couple’s philosophy of free love, including Simone’s lesbianism and her pimping of younger girls for Jean-Paul in order to keep his love.

Finally available in the U.S., this is a compelling and fascinating account of what lay behind the legend that this brilliant, tempestuous couple created.


“Seymour-Jones’s narrative crackles and pops with engrossing anecdotes.” – The Observer

“Filled with delicious detail… eminently readable. Seymour-Jones’s book is as page-turning as it is scholarly. The end result is quite dazzling.” -The Guardian

“A fascinating new book.” -The Daily Mail

“Extremely detailed, well researched, and completely absorbing.” – Booklist (STARRED review)

“Appearing in what might be called a ‘sexography,’ Sartre, the Nobel-winning existentialist philosopher, and Beauvoir, existentialist and pioneering feminist, cavort with a dizzying panoply of partners…A spiraling double-helix of a relationship whose sordid beauty fascinates even as it repels.” – Kirkus

“An important contribution to the study of de Beauvoir and Sartre that will be appreciated both by general readers and by scholars of French literature and culture and women’s studies.” – Library Journal