Book//mark - L' Invitée / She Came to Stay | Simone de Beauvoir, 1943

Simone de Beauvoir, L' Invité, 1943, backover Lucien Fontanarosa                                             Simone de Beauvoir in her room at the Hotel Louisiana 



"Xaviere was watching Pierre with a kind of voluptuous docility."

"Gerbert wondered why people usually thought Francoise looked stern and intimidating; she did not try to act girlishly, but her face was full of gaiety, life and healthy zest; she seemed so completely at ease that it made you feel perfectly at ease when you were near her."

“All she had to do was make the simplest of gestures - open her hands and let go her hold. She lifted one hand and moved the fingers of it; they responded, in surprise and obedience, and this obedience of a thousand little unsuspected muscles was in itself a miracle. Why ask for more?”

"Her fresh lips slowly plucked off each syllable of the word: vol..up..tu..ous." 

“Have you ever felt in your inmost being, the conscience of others?' again she was trembling, the words were not releasing her. 'It's intolerable you know” 

"It's not my fault if the thoughts you inspire are filthy."

"It can't spoil anything vital, but the fact is that when I'm worried because of her, I neglect you. When I look at her I don't look at you. I wonder if it wouldn't be better to call a halt to this affair. It's not love that I feel for her: it savours more of superstition. If she resists, I become obstinate, but as soon as I'm sure of her, I become indifferent about her."

"You and Francoise have a way of pooling everything."

"Xaviere's cheeks were flushed with anger. Her face was extremely attractive, with such subtly variable shadings that it seemed not to be composed of flesh, but rather of ecstasy, of bitterness, of sorrow, to which the eye became magically sensitive. Yet, despite this ethereal transparency, the outlines of her nose and mouth were extremely sensual.”

“You know I'm no sensualist. All I ask is to be able at any time to see an expression like the one I saw last night, and moments when I alone in this world exist for her.”

'I no longer enjoy these affaires,' said Pierre. 'It's not as if I were a great sensualist, I don't even have that excuse!...The truth is that I enjoy the early stages.'

"I wanted to give you more than you were prepared to accept. And, if one is sincere, to give is a way of insisting on some return."

"Pierre still repeated: 'We are one,' but now she had discovered that he lived only for himself. Without losing its perfect form, their love, their life, was slowly losing its substance, like those huge, apparently invulnerable cocoons, whose soft integument yet conceals microscopic worms that painstakingly consume them...

”What exactly did want of Xaviere? Polite  on the hotel staircase? An affaire? Love? Friendship?”

”Xaviere's existence had always threatened her, even beyond the very limits of her life, and it was this old anguish that she recognised with terror.”

”she really makes me uncomfortable, that creature, with her philosophy which makes us less than dust. It seems to me that if she loved me I'd be as sure of myself as I was before. I would feel that I'd compelled her approval. To make her love me is to dominate her, to enter into her world and there conquer in accordance with her own values. You know this is the kind of victory for which I have an insane need."

”Xaviere existed and was not to be refuted, all the risks involved in her existence had to be accepted.”

”I've no ardent desire to see much of people, that's quite true.”

”The fact remains that I love you. Do you really think that freedom consists in questioning things at every turn? We've often said, apropos of Xaviere, that this way was the way to become the slaves of our slightest moods.”

”At last the circle of violent emotion and anxiety, in which Xaviere's sorcery imprisoned them, had been broken, and they found themselves once more at one at the central point of the vast world. Behind them stretched the limitless past. Continents and oceans were spread like huge sheets over the surface of the globe, and the miraculous certainty of existing amid this incalculable wealth overran even the too narrow bounds of space and time.”


Simone de Beauvoir, L' Invitée / She Came to Stay, 1943


Set in Paris on the eve of and during World War II, the novel revolves around Françoise, whose open relationship with her partner Pierre becomes strained when they form a ménage à trois with her younger friend Xaviere. The novel explores many existentialist concepts such as freedom, angst, and the other.

Olga Kosakiewicz (1915-83) was a student of Simone de Beauvoir who joined the circle of de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in 1935, aged 19. She and her sister, Wanda, were fused together to make one central character in de Beauvoir's first novel L'Invitée, which was dedicated to Olga. 

Françoise – considered to be Simone de Beauvoir    Pierre – considered to be Jean-Paul Sartre
Xaviere – considered to be a character combining elements of both Olga and Wanda Kosakiewicz


L' Invitée, 1943 cover Lucien Fontanarosa
She Came to Stay, 1949 cover Victor Reinganumy


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