The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir, HISTORY PAPER
Simone de Beauvoir, The Mandarins.
Concentrate on the historical aspect.
This is a roman à clef, so most of the main characters are very closely based on readily identifiable figures —in this case two of the leading French post-war intellectuals, Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre (indeed, someone very like de Beauvoir herself can be found in the novel.) Two themes are central to the novel. One is the role of Communism in France of the late 1940’s; the other is the (related) problem of the legacy of Vichy and collaboration. What points was de Beauvoir making by writing the book; what point does it have for historians? Justify your answers by using examples and quotes from the novel.