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Showing posts from March 23, 2014

La force de l'âge

I have a memoir by Simone de Beauvoir by that name. It traces her journey as a young woman before the Second World War. She starts by describing what she feels is absolute freedom- having her own apartment, making her own decisions, exploring Paris. As the memoir progresses and France is occupied by Nazi forces, she realizes that her individual freedom is completely conditioned and circumscribed by her environment. In her case, 'la force de l'âge' is a pun- it means both her physical age, as she grows older and wiser, and the era, its Zeitgeist. Both of these affect the way she understands 'freedom' (liberté).

I find myself in a similar position as Simone (I think we're on first-name terms!) at the beginning of her oeuvre. I, too, am starting out in my working life, living on my own, exploring the city of Lausanne which I now call home. And I find I am also discovering the force of age in two senses. The first is the real history of the constructions and the cit…