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                        The Gisèle Freund Photographs of James Joyce

Display Case 1, part 4


Je me fais un plaisir de vous remettre, en toute propriété, cette petite préface à votre album de photos

– Simone de Beauvoir

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Simone de Beauvoir, Rue de la Bucherie

Simone de Beauvoir


After the London exhibition of Freund's photographs, the famous English writer and critic, Cyril Connolly, agreed to write the introduction to James Joyce in Paris. But as the publication date approached, and after many unanswered letters, it became clear that Connolly was not going to come through on his promise. Fortunately, Simone de Beauvoir, Freund's friend and fellow Parisian, wrote a bittersweet introduction to the 1930s, before the outbreak of war. 


Beauvoir writes in the introduction:  

So often of late, while walking through this new Paris of freshly whitened facades where a stream of traffic flows along the road between hedges of parked cars, I find myself pausing to ask: What did all this look like in the days when I was young? How I longed to bring back from memory a picture . . . This desire of mine was suddenly fulfilled when the photographs of Gisèle Freund made during the thirties were placed in my hands. Deserted highways, peaceful riverbanks; an almost provincial silence emanates from these images in black and white.


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Letter from Simone de Beauvoir, 1965

Ma Chère Gisèle


Ma Chère Gisèle,

Je me fais un plaisir de vous remettre, en toute propriété, cette petite préface à votre album de photos. Vous pouvez en disposer comme il vous plait, 

Très amicalement, 

Simone de Beauvoir


[My Dear Gisèle, 

I'm happy to give to you, with full ownership, this little preface for your photographic album. You can do with it as you see fit. 

With kind regards,

Simone de Beauvoir]



Display Case 1, part 3
Display Case 2: Sylvia Beach & Adrienne Monnier