Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Benoite Groult, and she was – Liberation

The day of his birth, it was hoped a boy. It was not planned to female name. That day, so it became necessary to add an “e” to Benedict: thus was born on 31 January 1920, Benoite Groult in Paris. But what is the antithesis of “tomboy”? “Successful Girl”? Anyway, here it is: writer, journalist and feminist, she died at 96, in his home in Hyères, the Var remains populated books and memories of his crossing of the century. Paintings of Marie Laurencin, his godmother; Art Deco furniture stingray Andre Groult, his father decorator; photos of her and her third husband, the writer Paul Guimard, the lobster: he, sea bass and Breton cap, it still pants, hair flying and barefoot

she was born in the Parisian bourgeoisie of the Roaring Twenties, where she lived a wise and studious childhood. then nicknamed Rosie, because it’s “female” that Benoite. She is the daughter of the flamboyant Nicole Groult, talented stylist, designer Paul Poiret’s sister, lover of Marie Laurencin. Like his father, the sports and erased André Groult, Rosie loves books, fishing in Concarneau and winter sports. Sport until the end, nonagenarian chic sneakers, brushing always impeccable, it will have biked to his 91 years – and rode merrily the steep staircase which led to its offices Var

“It was that or not make love”

But until women’s emancipation and the brave old age, demoiselle here entangled in the 30s, facing a mother ” beautiful, “ and ” aberrant “ which came to get very stuck in Sainte-Clotilde Institute, boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris, veiled hat and monkey fur coat. In return, Rosie dressed preferred to Latin toilets, while bending – it was necessary – to kindergartens requirements: During rumba and port binding heels, with which she writhed on foot. There was then a sexist term to describe these girls literate: they said “bluestocking” – a term still masculine. “By making bluestocking, head of woman, she displease men in general; or it will humiliate her husband, her lover, by too dazzling success, “ Simone de Beauvoir described in The Second Sex . Later, much later, Benoite Groult drink his words. But at 16, she is still a girl dreamily time attending a convent in England and falls “a little love” a sister; anyhow, she later said with his usual natural: “I’ve never been good at being a lesbian.”

Soon it will be the Sorbonne and professorship and a marriage, in 1944, with internal medicine, Pierre Heuyer. In this brief union – the husband died of tuberculosis eight months later – it will keep fond memories, an engagement ring she wore all his life, and some medical knowledge – she learns very instructive things about abortion. She will practice curettage on itself many times, at a time when these things were seen as a “women’s issue” and where angels dressmakers prospered, often to relieve wives depleted by serial gestations. All well involved risks for the aborted as for the abortionist – in 1943, we had guillotined in the prison of the Roquette-maker Marie-Louise Giraud angels. At the time, Benoite Groult did not practice abortion activism. It was above all with an undeniable practicality she spoke of her curettage. With disarming frankness, which would probably convulse many anti-abortion activists, she said, interviewed by Clémentine Autain for France Culture: “After three abortions, I understood how it was done. And as I am a fisherwoman, in addition to being a sinner, I realized that the midwife finally the angels dressmakers, used rubber probes. I said, “The place in line to catch place at sea, it’s the same thing, it is a rubber tube.” It had all the courage, including brave death. So I bought knitting needles – it was 2 – because it puts it in the beginning of the line, and the line is slid and it is the fact itself. We enter the probe within the uterus, and she ends up doing damage: miscarriage occurs. I did that twice. I even did it once to my sister. [...] But it was that or not making love. “

Making love. We are at the Liberation, and it must be that the body exults. She discovers the English coats and celibacy. It mainly meets a bomber pilot, Kurt, who would become his American lover. But love story will not cross the Atlantic: no desire to become a war bride, she later recalled – a French trophy wife <. / em> Kurt become a character in one of his novels, the vessels of the heart (1988), sensual novel that was very successful in France and Germany.

sorority born of the common struggle

by the end of the war, she joined the Journal of Broadcasting, and Georges de Caunes meeting, attractive and boastful journalist, whom she married in 1946. soon comes their daughter Blandine. Caunes told him, annoyed: “. We start again, going” His second daughter, Lison, born in 1948, when Georges de Caunes accompanies Paul-Emile Victor during an expedition to Greenland – before leaving, he let him warm, two male names, just in case. Result: “It has been called” the baby “for three months, until the return of Georges.”

This marriage-there will not last long. It soon divorce. . Followed by a new union in 1951 with writer Paul Guimard (The Things of Life) She said of him: “We formed a crew in fishing as in life “ She, author of novels duet with her sister Flora. him successful writer, close to Mitterrand, he was briefly in 1981. Mitterrand adviser, she knew him well too – between fishing trips in Ireland and large tables, he was a loyal friend and a passenger lover. She told him, delighted but not fooled: “I found him attractive, and at the same time a little silly because it deceived the old way.” It mostly lived fifty-four years of marriage Guimard, until his death in 2004; together they had a daughter, Constance. There was contingent loves, too. “When we married, Paul said:” Marriage is not the convent I am fickle, I love to please well, I will not give up on life, to beauty. to the surprise. ” I replied: “Strongly agree.” “ This situation sometimes leads to frustration – she will tell his disappointments in love in his books as reporters. And thus follow other texts, which always evoke a little more the cause of women.

She came to feminism later on. When The Second Sex appears, in 1949, she has almost 30 years. She judge while it is “too late to be a feminist girl.” Reader Virginia Woolf, she said upset by A Room of One’s Own. ” Yes, women, it’s the kitchen, their room. All women cry on leeks they peel. “ She liked to say ” Between the women, “ to evoke this strange relationship that girls together, this sorority born of their common struggle. She wrote a feminist essay in 1975, So be it , which condemned, among others, the practice of female circumcision. She’ll talk about that in 1978, during a report to Djibouti, while she directs, with Claude Servan-Schreiber, a feminist magazine, F Magazine. From 1984 to 1986, she chaired the Commission terminology for the feminization of trade names, grades and functions, founded by Yvette Roudy, Minister of Women’s Rights. Can we say “a” doctor? Yes. “An author”? Also. Benoite Groult was born “bluestocking”, she became a writer.

Old age is taboo. It is yet driveway frankly, she liked to tell her mother the day of his 60th birthday, had welcomed his daughters a thundering: “Well my girls, I love today ‘ hui! “ She then fight for the legalization of euthanasia, becomes honorary committee member of the Association for the right to die with dignity, ADMD. She claimed there outcrops in the words of Alice, the heroine of his novel the Star key (2006): “Claiming the right to choose my death as I had once claimed that or not to give life, that I found myself in the same position of beggar in the same nomenklatura! “ and this is how, in the last chapter of the novel, Alice concludes, addressing family: “I would rather you not know anything specific. You can say that after all I might have died a natural death. “ Imagine this as an ideal end of Benoite Groult, in Hyères, among lemon trees in his garden with wide, the sea.

Johanna Luyssen


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