Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
In honor of Bastille Day this past Sunday, The Paris Review is returning to its expatriate roots by highlighting some of the many French authors whose work resides within the archive. Read on for Simone de Beauvoir’s Art of Fiction interview, as well as Baudelaire’s poem “Parisian Dream” and Andre de Mandiargues’s brief story “The Bath of Madame Mauriac.”
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Simone de Beauvoir, The Art of Fiction No. 35
Issue no. 34 (Spring–Summer 1965)
When one has an existentialist view of the world, like mine, the paradox of human life is precisely that one tries to be and, in the long run, merely exists. It’s because of this discrepancy that when you’ve laid your stake on being—and, in a way you always do when you make plans, even if you actually know that you can’t succeed in being—when you turn around and look back on your life, you see that you’ve simply existed.