Simone and Nelson in Love (In English & French)

February 13, 2013

AF/file
Nelson Algren and Simone de Beauvoir.

Art Shay grew up in the Bronx and has lived and worked around Chicago since 1948. He was as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Forces during WWII, during which he flew more than 52 missions and was awarded a Croix de Guerre by the French governement for his service. A former Life staff reporter, he became a full-time photojournalist in the early '50s, shooting regularly for Time, Life, Fortune, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. Shay has established a world-wide reputation for his unusual portraits. His pictures of Marlon Brando, Nelson Algren, Liz Taylor, Simone de Beauvoir, J.F.K., and hundreds of others depict people off-guard, memorable for their humanity rather than their celebrity. Shay's photography is sold at art galleries and is in permanent collections of major museums, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Simone de Beauvoir was a feminist writer, existentialist philosopher, and public intellectual. She is closely associated with her life-long polyamorous relationship with fellow philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In Chicago, she fell in love with Nelson Algren. She wrote about their love story in Les Mandarins, which she dedicated to Nelson. Nelson Algren was an American writer. He may be best known for The Man with the Golden Arm, a 1949 novel that won the National Book Award and was adapted as a 1955 film of the same name. According to Harold Augenbraum, in the late 1940s and early 1950s he was one of the best known literary writers in America, lover of Simone de Beauvoir, "hero" of her novel The Mandarins, and so on. He's still a sort of bard of the down-and-out because of this book and the novel A Walk on the Wild Side (made even more famous by the Lou Reed song).
 
Le Salon du Livre is made possible thanks to MEP/Europa Books. Arno Bertina's U.S. tour is possible thanks to the Service du Livre of the French Embassy. Le Festival de la Francophonie is sponsored by Dish and TV5MONDE.

Recorded Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at Alliance Française de Chicago.