Associate Professor of French Catherine Poisson recently participated in a radio series on the French writer and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir. The series aired the week of August 17-21 on the France Culture network; it can be heard online here.
Taped in Paris, New York and Chicago, the Grande Traversée (the “great crossover”) show sought to reveal another Simone de Beauvoir, considering every stage of her life–from the dutiful daughter to the independent and engaged woman to, finally, breaking the taboo of old age. It showed her as passionate and multi-voiced—intimate and political, unleashed in her youth diaries and love letters, audacious in her novels, rigorous in her autobiography.
Appearing in multiple episodes in the series, Poisson discussed the personal and literary companionship of Beauvoir with Jean-Paul Sartre and Nelson Algren. She also talked about Beauvoir’s complex relationship with America, and read excerpts from America Day by Day, Beauvoir’s book recounting the four-month journey she took from coast to coast in the U.S., immersing herself in the country’s culture, customs, people and landscape.