Then again, it was horror and fear on the part of the publishers which kept this work, first written as the opening section of Leduc's novel Ravages (1955), unpublished in its original form until 2000 – and in French, at that. Leduc, a friend of Simone de Beauvoir (who also had a crush on her), had spent three years writing Thérèse and Isabelle – and it shows, in a good way. So when Gallimard said, in effect, "no way" in 1954 ("impossible to publish openly," said Raymond Queneau, of all people), Leduc nearly had a breakdown. The publishers had, in De Beauvoir's words, "cut her tongue out," and although the work was reshaped and inserted, piecemeal, into subsequent books (and circulated in a private edition among friends), it hasn't appeared in English before this edition (more...)
Nicholas Lezard on Thérèse and Isabelle by Violette Leduc.