His friendship with Cabanis still resonated in Fauriel's life long after both Cabanis and Sophie's deaths. Cabanis’s widow, who was also Sophie’s sister, Charlotte, in her correspondence with Fauriel refers to a person they both loved and lost, for whom they felt ‘a huge, and unshakeable tenderness, which must be very deep and sweet until your last day’. She meant her husband, not her sister.And when she claims his time and affection, it is as the ‘companion of the man you loved so’, and not as the sister of his life partner.
The posthumous publication of the Letter on First Causes, which happened towards the end of Charlotte Cabanis’s life, was a cause for much concern for both Fauriel and Charlotte. Charlotte had allowed the Letterto be published, but she had had no control over the process, and only read the introduction once it was in print. She found it full of mistakes and bad interpretations, and reflected that the author of the introduction was more interested in promoting his own dualism than making Cabanis’s view clear. The last few letters exchanged between Fauriel and Charlotte Cabanis concern the publication of a bibliographical notice on Cabanis, a project that Daunou had offered to take on before he died. There is much discussion as to whom might be a good person to edit Cabanis’ s paper, and once the choice is made, about how much control his widow might be able to exercise over the process. At no point during the correspondence is Sophie mentioned, even though she died 14 years after Cabanis, and had thus been part of Fauriel’s life much longer. The biographical notice, based on a text drafted by Cabanis himself, was written by Peisse, and published alongside an edition of the Rapports du Physique et du Moral and the Lettre sur les Causes Premieres by Destutt de Tracy in 1844.
That same year, perhaps even before the book was out, Claude Fauriel and Charlotte Cabanis died, both in their seventies.
This is where I live blog about my new book project, an intellectual biography of three French Revolutionary women philosophers.