Simone de Beauvoir

Beauvoir, Simone de (sēmônˈ də bōvwärˈ) [key], 1908–86, French author. A leading exponent of existentialism, she is closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom she had a life-long relationship. Beauvoir taught philosophy at several colleges until 1943, after which she devoted herself to writing. Her novels All Men Are Mortal (1946, tr. 1955), The Blood of Others (1946, tr. 1948), and The Mandarins (1955, tr. 1956) are interpretations of the existential dilemma. Among her most celebrated works is the profound analysis of the status of women, The Second Sex (1949–50, tr. 1953). This pivotal text was cut by some 15 percent when first translated; an unabridged English translation was finally published in 2010. Beauvoir's study The Marquis de Sade (tr. 1953) is a brilliant, perceptive portrait. Her monumental treatise The Coming of Age (1970, tr. 1972) is an exhaustive historical consideration of the social treatment of the aged in many cultures. Beauvoir's autobiographical writings include Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958, tr. 1959), The Prime of Life (tr. 1962), Force of Circumstance (1963, tr. 1964), A Very Easy Death (1964, tr. 1966), and All Said and Done (tr. 1974). She also edited Sartre's letters to her (tr. 1994).

See biography by D. Bair (1990); S. de Beauvoir, ed., Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir, 1940–1963 (1994); studies by E. Marks (1973), L. Appignanesi (1988), R. Winegarten (1988), K. and E. Fullbrook (1994), and H. Rowley (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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