Patrick Farrell

Simone de Beauvoir’s description of Jean-Paul Sartre’s encounter with mescaline in 1935 is a striking account of a psychedelic experience gone wrong. The episode appears in the second volume of her memoirs, The Prime of Life (1960), and describes a time in their lives long before their rise as two of France’s most famous philosophers. By mid-century, they achieved global fame: even independent of her landmark feminist work The Second Sex (1949), Beauvoir was an accomplished novelist (her 1954 novel The Mandarins won France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt prize), and a founding editor of the influential periodical Les Temps Modernes. Together with Sartre, Beauvoir became a leading figure not only of French existentialism, but also prominently engaged in post-war political activism… continue reading.

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