One diligent reader of this manuscript said of chapter 7 that my depiction of
feminist friendship—between Violette Leduc and Simone de Beauvoir, Han-
nah Arendt and Rahel Varnhagen, Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt—all,
in the end, seemed a “bit too rosy.” As I revised the manuscript, particu-
larly that chapter, this worry lodged in me and hung on. I looked for ways
to complicate my picture. Was I making Beauvoir too rosy? What about all
my encounters? As I looked back on the different sections of the book, now
with this question in mind, I noticed I always close with a happy ending. I do
not mean the orgasm ending the massage, although keeping the body center
stage has been something this book has done all along. I also do not mean
the Hollywood or fairy tale happy ending. I agree with Sara Ahmed (2010),
who condemns versions of happiness that orient us on the “right” path or
seek to guarantee a certain outcome. These redemptive happy endings close
down the politics of the encounter that I have sought to open up for scrutiny.
My happy ending embraces the hap in happiness that Ahmed points to: the
chance, the contingency, the opportunity to grasp joy in a moment or free-
dom in the encounter.
My book starts with war trials (Brasillach’s and Eichmann’s) and moves
to Antichrist (no one would call this a “happy” movie, but somehow I take a
reparative message from it) in part I; from pathology (Fanon) to solidarity
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