“Of course, it had long been manifest that De Beauvoir’s own account of her life had been ruthlessly censored, pruned and sanitized to present the public facade she deemed fitting.” – Introduction to Simone De Beauvoir’s letters to John-Paul Sartre by Quintin Hoare, 1991
If you’ve read the letters, you know they are raw, sappy (my dear little being!) and reveal jealousies, passions and insecurities De Beauvoir never intended to be public. What’s interesting as I’m re-reading the letters is thinking about our modern correspondence – carefully considered tweets, status updates and instagram photos. When our histories are written, and all our children and grandchildren have are our social media streams, how much of us–the real us–will they reveal? Will they look at our digital words as our public lives (sanitized) or our private lives (raw, honest)? Or some other semi-private, third space?