The Marriage of True Minds, Part 2

Can marriage be a source of inspiration, creativity, mutual influence, and intellectual support? From the admittedly painful history of Abelard and Heloise, to the complex modern relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, a picture emerges of married men and women who inspire one another in both life and love.
Detail from "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, 1907–1908. (Wikimedia Commons/CC)
Listen to the full episode53:59

Can marriage be a source of inspiration, creativity, mutual influence, and intellectual support? From the admittedly painful history of Abelard and Heloise, to the complex modern relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, a picture emerges of married men and women who inspire one another in both life and love. Within such relationships, the sum of the parts often seems to be much greater than the whole.  But the course of true love never did run smooth. There will always be complications. And the very real achievements of famous lovers who struggled to make things work can often be obscured by reductionist assumptions about romantic love. **This episode originally aired February 15, 2017.

Varda Burstyn explains the historical context for romantic love, and describes how things have changed in recent times 1:05

 

In the 20th century, marriages between two minds confront new and different historical realities. Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe were separated by 24 years and more than half a continent, but their mutual support resulted in profoundly creative developments for both careers. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir literally lived a radical relationship that lasted for more than fifty-years, and was watched by almost everyone in the world.

Varda Burstynis a feminist activist and author, and former IDEAS contributor. She has spent a great deal of time and energy thinking about the nature of creative relationships.



Guests in this episode:

  • Carol Ascher is the author of Simone de Beauvoir: A Life of Freedom.
     
  • Konrad Bieber is the author of Twayne's World Author Series book about Simone de Beauvoir.
     
  • Laurie Lisle is the author of Portrait of an Artist: A life of Georgia O'Keeffe.
     
  • Robert  V. Stone is the author of Sartre and the Problem of Morality.



Listen to episodes in the original series broadcast in 1982:

Episode 1 from the 1983 IDEAS series celebrating famous intellectual marriages. These relationships were consummated at various times, from the early Middle Ages to the late-twentieth century. 58:13
The Marriage of True Minds, Part 2 - Mary & Percy Shelley/George Sand & Frederic Chopin (1982 original broadcast) 58:13
The Marriage of True Minds, Part 3 - Georgia O'Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz/Elizabeth Hardwick & Robert Lowell (1982 orig. broadcast) 55:28
The Marriage of True Minds, Part 4 - Jean-Paul Sarte & Simone de Beauvoir (1982 original broadcast) 1:00:03

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