Yuxin Wen

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20192020 Forum on Kinship

Yuxin Wen

Comparative Literature and Art History

CAS, 2020

Yuxin (affectionately known as Viv/Vivi/Vivian) is a senior from Jiangsu, China. She majors in comparative literature and minors in creative writing and art history. As the senior editor of DoubleSpeak translation magazine and the ex-president of Penn Manuscript Collective, she spends most of her free time burying herself in words. She just came back from Spring Semester Abroad at University of Cambridge and spent the summer working on the WUHF project and a translation project on Eileen Chang. As an aspiring poet, she loves exploring the intersections between languages, between the literary and the visual, between the creative and the critical. Her translation of the novel, Fang Si-chi’s First Love Paradise, by the Taiwanese writer, Lin Yi-han, has been purchased to advertise to potential English publishers. She named herself “Vivian” because her seventeen-year-old self loved the Vivian in the film Pretty Woman. In Romance languages, “viv” means “to be alive.”

Of Two Minds: A Critical Study of the Existential Kinship through the Correspondences between Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

The proposed intellectual history project examines various forms of “kinship” between two eminent thinkers of the twentieth-century: Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. To de-mystify the romanticized story created by public and popular imaginations, the research critically studies the courtship, familial rapport, and intellectual ties between the couple, through the lens of existential philosophy. With a focus on the newly published letters from de Beauvoir to Sartre and existent letters from Sartre to de Beauvoir, the research further delves into the letters between de Beauvoir and other lovers, including Claude Lanzmann. With a combination of literary, philosophical, biographical and manuscript study approaches, the project investigates the complexity of the relationships between the couple and proposes a critical model of modern love that transcends traditional categories.