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1. She Came to Stay
2. All Said and Done
3. All Men Are Mortal
4. A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters
5. Tete-a-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir
6. Memoires D'une Jeune Fille Rangee
7. Woman Destroyed (Pantheon Modern
8. The Coming of Age
9. The Second Sex
10. Must We Burn De Sade?
11. The Mandarins
12. The Ethics Of Ambiguity
13. The Second Sex
14. Letters to Sartre
15. America Day by Day
16. Une Mort Tres Douce (French Edition)
17. Segundo sexo (Spanish Edition)
18. Simone de Beauvoir: The Making
19. The Second Sex
20. Simone de Beauvoir (Life &

1. She Came to Stay
by Simone de Beauvoir, Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 408 Pages (1999-07-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393318842
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Set in Paris on the eve of World War II and sizzling with love, anger, and revenge, She Came to Stay explores the changes wrought in the soul of a woman and a city soon to fall. Although Franoise considers her relationship with Pierre an open one, she falls prey to jealousy when the gamine Xavire catches his attention. The moody young woman from the countryside pries her way between Franoise and Pierre, playing up to each one and deviously pulling them apart, until the only way out of the triangle is destruction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Semi-Autobiographical Account of Beauvoir's Life
"She Came to Stay" is mostly a non-fictional account of a menage-a-trois between Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Olga Kosakievicz (who the book is dedicated to).Kosakievicz was a student of Beauvoir's and later developed a relationship with Beauvoir and Sartre.They were the dominate members of the trio and Kosakievicz was more of a submissive tag-along.Even after the trio split up Kosakivicz would remain financially dependent on Sartre and remain close friends with Beauvoir.

Beauvoir, much like Sartre, uses fiction as a way to explain philosophical concepts such as freedom and bad faith."She Came to Stay" was published in 1943 and written at the same time Sartre was working on "Being and Nothingness."Beauvoir actively helped Sartre in his writing and the philosophical undertone of "Being and Nothingness" is apparent in "She Came to Stay."

Beauvoir's first novel does have two possible flaws.First, the writing is not pulp fiction.Like Sartre's writing it sometimes sacrifices the story for philosophical reasoning.This is not necessarily a flaw but it does make some sections of the novel rather dry.Second, Beauvoir's account of her emotions and actions are sometimes rather restricted.The novel was published in 1943 and she was still in contact with nearly everyone she wrote about.Her posthumously released "Letters to Sartre" give a much more detailed account of her affair with Olga.

"She Came to Stay" is a good novel to read for anyone interested in Beauvoir, the French intellectual elite of the late 1930's, or taboo relationships.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Book about pretentious Parisian snobs which somehow works out to be a most enjoyable and engaging read! Highly recommend. Loved the ending.

5-0 out of 5 stars So Real!
This book made me sad, happy, angry, interested...pretty much everything. I was going from ''kick her out'' to ''kick him out'', to ''get real'' even if aware of existentialist ideas behind it and what I am 'supposed' to think about it.

A great read even if some were disappointed by De Beauvoir for preaching one thing an living the other. Hey, we are all just human and this book is so honest it is almost painful!

5-0 out of 5 stars Intense love, hate, jealousy, despair, revenge!
Based on the real life trio of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sarte, and Olga Kosakievicz--a student of de Beauvoir, She Came To Stay is a tale of the complications thatarise when a young, precocious woman is brought into a long-standing, deep, and intellectual relationship between two older, "open" lovers. "Open" meaning that they were ideally free to love and have affairs with others.

This novel brims with emotions vacillating from love to hate, jealousy to despair, self-controlled calmness to revenge! De Beauvoir gets inside her characters' thoughts and feelings with an intensity reminiscent of novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

The character of Xaviere stands out as the ultimate manipulative, volatile, and self-centered, young woman who doesn't care or think about the consequences of her actions and words upon others, and who also elicts the best and worst emotions out of everyone around her:

"Impulsively, she took Francoise's face between her hands and began to kiss her with fanatical devotion. They were sacred kisses, purifying Xaviere for all her defilement and restoring her self-respect. With these soft lips on her face, Francoise felt so noble, so ethereal, so sublime,that it sickened her heart; she longed for a human friendship, and not this fanatical and imperious worship of which she was forced to be the docile idol." (pg. 318)

My favorite character is Francoise, who valiantly struggles with her internal battles of reason, love, suspicion, and jealousy throughout the novel. She spends most of the novel trying so hard to be civil and responsible toward Xaviere, but then you find a refreshing turn in her change of heart:

"She drank a little wine. Her palms were moist. She had always made a point of disregarding her own dreams and desires, but this self-effacing wisdom now revolted her. Why didn't she make up her mind to go after what she wanted?" (pg. 360)

The ending surprised me, even though I had read from other reviews that Xaviere's demise would happen...I just didn't know HOW it would happen!

She Came to Stay is an engaging, emotional, rollercoaster of a ride tempered with some reason. Read it and discover how one woman finally decided she had had enough!

4-0 out of 5 stars Existential relationships are never easy.
Relationships are never easy, even for intellectuals like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.Set in pre-World War II Paris, de Beauvoir's first novel, SHE CAME TO STAY (1954) provides a fictional portrait of her unconventional relationship with her lifelong partner, Sartre, and her protege, Bianca Bienenfeld.Their menage a trois began in 1938, when de Beauvoir introduced Bienenfeld (aka Bianca Lamblin) to her partner/lover, Sartre, who was thirty-three, and ended in 1940 when, at de Beauvoir's encouragement, Sartre abandoned Lamblin on the eve of WWII.Although SHE CAME TO STAY may be read as a love story examining the complex dilemmas posed by love (demonstrating existential relationships are perhaps easier in theory than in reality) and the destructive powers of relationships, it also succeeds on a more philosphical level.

SHE CAME TO STAY tells the story of Francoise, her lover, Pierre, and Xaviere, an emotionally unstable young woman from Rouen who comes between them.The novel demonstrates that a relationship can lead not only to ecstasy, but also to a personal, life-changing crisis. The romantic threesome de Beauvoir creates for Francoise sears her protagonist "like a sharp burn" (p. 207).Francoise becomes angry, insanely jealous, and then disillusioned with her dream of "one life, one work, one love" (p. 233) with Pierre.Eventually, her relationship leads her to experience life without meaning:an existential "abyss of nothingness" (p. 291)."It was like death," de Beauvior writes, "a total negation, an eternal absence . . . the entire universe was was engulfed in it, and Francoise, forever excluded from the world, was herself dissolved in this void" (p. 291). By the end of the novel, Xaviere is destroyed by an act of revenge, and Francoise is alone and estranged from Pierre.

While SHE CAME TO STAY may not measure up to the writing standards de Beauvoir later set with THE MANDARINS and THE SECOND SEX, it is nevertheless a powerful novel. Readers interested in reading more about de Beauvoir's real-life triangle with Sartre and Lamblin may consider reading Lamblin's memoir, A DISGRACEFUL AFFAIR, in which Lamblin offers her first-hand account of her unconventional relationship with the two French existentialists.

G. Merritt ... Read more

2. All Said and Done
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 476 Pages (1993-03)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$39.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1569249814
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars At the end, another fine biography
�All Said and Done� by Simone de Beauvoir is the final of five volumes of de Beauvoir�s autobiography, and is different from those that precede it, which basically progress on a chronological basis. This book is arranged thematically, and de Beauvoir picks up a theme or area of her life, addresses it for the 10 years that the book focuses on, 1962 to 1972. Early in the volume, she addresses books she�s read, movies, theater productions, etc. A particularly interesting chapter focuses on the deaths of some of the people she has known, including Sartre�s mother and de Beauvoir�s close friend, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. While these sections have interesting moments, the brief time she spends on each book, movie, or production and the shortness of the sections isn�t a very engaging read. The discussion is really a gloss, and feels a little obligatory on de Beauvoir�s part.
The book really picks up in pace and interest when de Beauvoir moves on to address the travels she�s taken in these ten years toward the end of her life (she died in 1986). She first goes through trips she made for fun, with Sartre or onher own. Then she addresses trips they took for primarily political reasons, to Egypt, to Israel, to Russia, Estonia, etc. She�s always a very engaging travel writer as she has a deep knowledge of the places she�s traveling, and, often � especially on the political trips � she and Sartre are given guides and access to things one might not be able to see on one�s own.
Toward the end of the book, she writes about her feelings about the Vietnam War, going into some detail about two tribunals that worldwide intelligentsia held to try the United States for war crimes in Vietnam, particularly for genocide (the United States was found guilty). De Beauvoir was very against France�s actions in Algeria, and she now turned her attention toward what she felt was a violation of the rights of the Vietnamese for self-determination to make a statement with her colleagues on their political situation.
This book was illuminating of de Beauvoir�s character in a rather new way. Toward the end, she emerged to me as something of an ideologue, rather than a woman who was committed to certain principles that she addressed issue by issue. When the students took over the Sorbonne in the late 1960s, she supported their actions because it was to overthrow the status quo; the students wanted more control of their studies, they wanted to abolish the class system between students and faculty and they didn�t want to have to accept professors� edicts. She seems, from this book, to believe that any system that is very long held should be overthrown on that point alone. She was disappointed when she and other editors at Les Temps moderne offered the rebellious students an opportunity to write for their political review and the student leaders turned them down because their publication had become an institution (it was too long standing). She does not comment on this.
Also in the late 1960s, de Beauvoir and Sartre officially broke with the Soviet Union, which they had supported as part of the noncommunist left for some time, because of its actions in Czechoslovakia. While de Beauvoir constantly ridiculed the United States for its imperialism, up until this time, even after visiting Estonia and Lithuania after they were controlled by the U.S.S.R., she did not criticize the Soviet government. But after the Prague Spring was crushed, she and Sartre had to admit that they were not pleased with the �thought-police� actions of the Soviets and their interpretation of the communist party. She also laments that Marx is so disregarded in the U.S.S.R. by the time of this volume, that there is no longer any one there who can speak with authority on Marxist theory or philosophy.
I really enjoyed this volume, for its differences with its sister volumes, and for what it reveals about de Beauvoir. I recommend it, and think it could certainly stand on its own. ... Read more

3. All Men Are Mortal
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 352 Pages (1992-05-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393308456
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Probably de Beauvoir's strangest and most compelling novel, this is the captivating story of a beautiful young actress who revives a downcast stranger at a French resort. He becomes thoroughly attached to her and confides a terrifying truth: he is immortal. But having been resuscitated into enjoying life again, he soon starts breaking free from her grasp and all notions of mortality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars The price of the elixir of immortality
There's never enough time in a day to accomplish all that you would like to do...unless, perhaps, you knew had eternity to do whatever floats your boat. Imagine a wizened beggar offering you a dusty old bottle filled with cloudy green liquid and telling you it's the "elixir of immortality" (p.84)...do you dare drink it?

In All Men Are Mortal, Simone de Beauvoir weaves philosophy and history within a fantastic tale of one man's journey into immortality. First you meet Regina, a petty, vain, self-centered, young actress, who desires immortality. When she meets the odd stranger Raymond Fosca in Rouen, she decides to bring him home with her to Paris to "bring him back to his senses," as her boyfriend Roger tells another friend. (p. 18) When Fosca reveals to her he is immortal, she wants to cling to him, hoping to somehow benefit from his immortality.

She alone wants to exist for Fosca, despite Roger's admonition that "it's better to be loved by someone who's mortal, but who only loves you." (p. 39). Fosca knows better; he has already loved--more than once. He leaves her and Paris, but Regina finds him again. Why won't he return, she asks? She entreats him to tell his story to her to help her understand his "curse", and thus she (and you!) is propelled backwards and forwards into Fosca's immortal life.

There is so much history in this story that I was compelled to look up certain historical figures such as Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Martin Luther, whom I'm only vaguely familiar with from jr. high history. It was then that I realized de Beauvoir had to have meticulously researched A LOT of history in order to seamlessly weave Fosca into medieval times through the 20th century...amazing!

Through Fosca, you see how others view him as an immortal, and yet you see how his character becomes numb, having accomplished just about everything a man can do in life--knowing he doesn't have a deadline to meet. He makes seemingly rash (selfish) decisions as well as thoughtful ones (thinking of others), through the centuries.For sure, he has a very adventurous life--but at what cost?

Only late night hours forced me to stop reading--otherwise, this was hard to put down. It kept me engaged with Fosca's thoughts and emotions...I thoroughly enjoyed it!

5-0 out of 5 stars the Realm of Existentialism...
the Realm of Existentialism...

In the middle of a drought?
If it's yellow, let it mellow.
If it's brown, flush it down.

but, if it's a murky green and comes in a dusty old bottle from ancient Egypt, whose keeper is a crusty old street beggar being marched off to his death (to decrease the population of the city of Coroma because there is not enough to feed women, children and the old -- all are sacrificed in this book) -- well, that's the "Immortality Potion" in Simone de Beauvoir's All Men are Mortal -- and, there is only enough for One!

Would you drink it?

Fosca does!

The book begins in the present day, with Regina, an actress (blond, generous, ambitious, scared of death) who is not going to live forever (being a mere mortal, et al), but would like to be remembered...and, thus, live forever.early in the book, Regina discovers Fosca, who convinces her (by slitting his throat from ear-to-ear -- and then magically healing before she can faint) that he is immortal.hmmm, I guess that would work for me.

What can one do with so much time?

a) become a conquer -- crush everything, take all the booty

b) become a political conquer -- crush some things, take some booty"I decided to change my methods.Renouncing military parades, pitched battles and useless campaigns, I put all my efforts into weakening the enemy republics by practicing cunning politics."When you have "forever" on your side, most republics are enemy republics.

c) ho-hum (bored after so many years of fighting and collecting the same old booty)-- lead your armies up to the intended target and potential booty, and then just walk away without striking?Why?because suddenly, one is faced with the absurdity of it all, and enveloped with nausea.

d) Have a son; give him everything; protect him from all things harmful -- only to have him exercise his free-will and die in battle...doing what he most wanted to do -- see "a)" above.

e) Wait a minute...if one is immortal and there are obviously no gods, all things are possible -- How about one ruler for the entire planet, forever -- but through the use of mere mortals?

...and, this is only the first half of Simone de Beauvoir's (exquisitely crafted existential tale) All Men Are Mortal!

Never a dull moment!Beautifully translated.Historically, well researched and finely tuned.One scenario seamlessly fades into the next as one traverses Fosca's adventures of Immortality.This book reeks with basic existential themes. --Katharena Eiermann, 2007, the Realm of Existentialism -- Presidential Hopeful

All Men Are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir

4-0 out of 5 stars All Men Are Mortal
This is an interesting book.It's a good mix for the existentialist history fan.Simone de Beauvoir did a great job of capturing the moods of the various time periods she wrote about.I'm looking forward to reading some of her other books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful for courses in Existentialism
In teaching undergraduates Existentialism, I found this book to be a wonderful addition to Sartre's _Being and Nothingness_, Buber's _I and Thou_ and Marcuse's _One-Dimensional Man._In the novel, especially in the Prologue, De Beauvoir hits all the right chords and themes--the uneasy duality and unity of being-for-self and being-for Others; the necessity and contingency of facticity; the surpassing power of transcendence.Students seem to 'rest their eyes' from the abstract power of dialectic in Sartre and Marcuse on the very concrete descriptions that de Beauvoir offers.Following the novel with her _Ethics of Ambiguity_ only served to ground students further in the character of existentialism and its necessary outpouring into a finite, meaningful, ethical life.A good companion to this piece would be John Russon's _Human Experience_, especially the chapter he has on Memory and how we deposit our memories into the things of our experience.With that in mind, even ordinary passages of the novel, like the one in the Prologue where Annie makes Fosca pancakes and Regina wants them too, despite herself, take on much more meaning.For whom is the absolute?For the one who eats pancakes, the one for whom pancakes matter even when she doesn't want to want them.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed me.Powerful.
An amazing book.It tells the tale of Fosca who is cursed with immortality.Only in reading his tale do you fully understand and appreciate that because life is fleeting it is perfect.To outlive all those you've ever loved, as Fosca does, would be torture.
A must read.
... Read more

4. A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren
by Simone de Beauvoir, Nelson Algren, Sylvie Le Bon De Beauvoir, Ellen Gordon Reeves, Vanessa Kling, Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 560 Pages (1999-09-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$6.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565845609
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Now in paperback, the "amazing" (Los Angeles Times) and "engrossing" (Publishers Weekly) love letters of Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algren. Called "intimate, intelligent, and sincere" by The New Yorker, the more than three hundred love letters written by Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algren after their love-at-first-sight meeting in 1947 are collected for the first time in A Transatlantic Love Affair. A unique cross between a personal memoir and an insider's intellectual history of Left Bank life in post-war Paris, this "tender and intimate" (Booklist) collection chronicles their passionate affair, spanning twenty years and four continents. Penned as she was writing The Mandarins, America Day by Day, and The Second Sex, the letters provide a new backdrop for those now classic works. Frank, tender, and often humorous, they are praised by The Nation as "fascinating" and by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as "reveal[ing] a lighter, funnier, and more physically sensuous de Beauvoir than we are used to."Amazon.com Review
Simone de Beauvoir met Nelson Algren in Chicago in February1947, when a mutual friend arranged for him to serve as her tour guidefor two days. The attraction was immediate, and within two months theywere in love. Because Algren was so alien to de Beauvoir's world, shespent time describing events and people to him she might otherwisehave taken for granted. The result is that de Beauvoir's 300 survivingletters to Algren are unusually rich in detail--love letters with aconscious undercurrent of French social history. Translated andannotated by Kate Leblanc, they offer amusing insights into postwarParisian life and characters, delivered with the charm of thenonnative writer.

In one letter, de Beauvoir sums up Albert Camus as "aninteresting but difficult guy. When he was not pleased with the bookhe was writing, he was very arrogant; now, he has got a rather greatsuccess and he has become very modest and sincere." She coollydescribes a dinner party where she witnessed the separation of theapexes of mind and body: "Sartre was alone in a corner, eatingsadly some corned-beef, and I sat in front of Rita Hayworth, trying tospeak to her, and looking at her beautiful shoulders and breasts whichcould have made so many men crazy but which were so useless forme." This is essential reading for devotees of the Paris literaryscene and other literary romantics. --Regina Marler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book with insights into de Beauvoir's character
To correct the reader from Brookline, this book is exactly the same as "Beloved Chicago Man"- it's the same book with different titles in the US and the UK.As the reviewers below state, this is a great window into the relationship between Algren & de Beauvoir, and shows the truth feelings of de Beauvoir.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tiresome, Repetitive, Naive
Having read all of De Beauvoir's autobiographies, this book was disappointing. The content can only be described as a mere extension of 'Beloved Chicago Man' (again relating to her relationship with Nelson Algren). In the latter, the letters to Algren are immediatly captivating, but quickly become repetitive rather than developed and by the end seem embarrassingly girlish and naive leaving a strong feeling of voyeuristic intrusion. This latest publication is an unnecessary extension of Beloved Chicago Man.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Characters, Universal Human Conditions
This tome unites fascinating, ethereal elements of time and place with the more mundane features of long-distance love.

First, the unique bits of which only Simone de Beauvoir can honestly write:The intellectual sceneof post-WWII Paris, firsthand knowledge of Camus and Sartre, a complexnetwork of friendships mixing the communities of European intelligentsia,fascists, existentialists, writers, and actors.Then, of course, there isthe head-over-heels love in which she found herself with Nelson Algren,noted American author, immediately upon making his acquaintance.All ofthese interesting facets add spice to this book.

Surprisingly, what trulymakes this book unforgettable, impossible to put down, at timesembarrassing in its candor and recognizable to the reader are its themes ofcommonality to everyone else on the planet.Anyone who has ever fallen inlove, suffered instant infatuation for another, missed the touch of afar-away lover, or slogged through a long-distance relationship willrelate/commiserate/understand/anticipate both the words and the feelingsbehind them.

Simone de Beauvoir wrote all of these letters to NelsonAlgren in English (not her native French); happily, the misspellings andgrammatical errors are preserved without correction.The reader will noteprogressive improvement in her English abilities as the correspondencelengthens and her relationship matures.

I believe all readers will findthese pages touching, satisfying, and intriguing.Those of you who haveexperienced long-distance passion will enjoy the letters as well, but withthe distinct pain of knowing the inevitable conclusion in advance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing insights in de Beauvoir
This book gives a real insight into de Beauvoir's character- after reading these letters, one will never again look upon her as a cold intellectual.If anything, they show that the passion she felt with Algren could notcompare to whatever sort of relationship she had with Sartre.Reveals deBeauvoir's true self more than any of her autobiographies. ... Read more

5. Tete-a-Tete: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
by Hazel Rowley
Hardcover: 432 Pages (2005-10-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060520590
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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They are one of the world's legendary couples. We can't think of one without thinking of the other. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre -- those passionate, freethinking existentialist philosopher-writers -- had a committed but notoriously open union that generated no end of controversy. With Tete-a-Tete, distinguished biographer Hazel Rowley offers the first dual portrait of these two colossal figures and their intense, often embattled relationship. Through original interviews and access to new primary sources, Rowley portrays them up close, in their most intimate moments.

We witness Beauvoir and Sartre with their circle, holding court in Paris cafes. We learn the details of their infamous romantic entanglements with the young Olga Kosakiewicz and others; of their efforts to protest the wars in Algeria and Vietnam; and of Beauvoir's tempestuous love affair with Nelson Algren. We follow along on their many travels, involving meetings with dignitaries such as Roosevelt, Khrushchev, and Castro. We listen in on the couple's conversations about Sartre's Nausea, Being and Nothingness, and Words, and Beauvoir's The Second Sex, The Mandarins, and her memoirs. And we hear the anguished discussions that led Sartre to refuse the Nobel Prize.

The impact of their writings on modern thought cannot be overestimated, but Beauvoir and Sartre are remembered just as much for the lives they led. They were brilliant, courageous, profoundly innovative individuals, and Tete-a-Tete shows the passion, energy, daring, humor, and contradictions of their remarkable, unorthodox relationship. Theirs is a great story -- and a great story is precisely what Beauvoir and Sartre most wanted their lives to be.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tete a Tete is the love story of philosophers Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
The father of modern existentialism along with his sometime friend Albert Camus was Jean Paul Satre (1905-85). Hazel Rowley has done herself proud in delineating the love affair between Sartre and the equally brilliant feminist author Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986).
Anyone interested in the finer points of Satrian existentialistic thought will not find it in the steamy pages of Rowley's tome. Her book focuses on the personal lives of Satre and Beauvoir. It is a fascinating tale of the French beauty (de Beauvoir) and the beast (Sartre). Sartre and Beauvoir led complex love lives; never lived together and Beauvoir never had a child. She was the daughter of George de Beauvoir one time lawyer and amateur actor and Francois Brasseur a native of Verdun. Beauvoir and Satre were both brilliant students who studied at the Sorbonne winning prizes for their academic achievements. The two never married and usually spent nights apart. They did travel widely in Europe, America and the Far East.
Sartre loved women. Many ladies were sexually attracted to Sartre who was wall-eyed, short and ugly.Sartre was a little man whose face was covered with blackheadsable to talk non-stop about his ideas. Sartre and Beauvoir both taught for many years. Sartre served in the French military and was captured by the Nazis having to serve as a POW for several months. Both authors lived in occupied Paris and worked with the underground. Neither was Jewish. Following World War II Sartre was a fellow traveler and enamored of Communism. He and Beauvoir traveled to Russia and Cuba. They were among the leading Western intellectuals who were snookered by communistic propoganda. Sartre refused to accept the Nobel Prize. Sartre edited a magazine with the assistance of Beuvoir. He and she enjoyed a tight knit familial life including several of their lovers. Jealousy and sexual betrayal were rife in this menage of many!
His works include several plays including "No Exit" and long philosophical explanations of existentialism such as "Being and Nothingness". Beauvoir is most famous for "The Second Sex" a classic of feministic literature and such novels as "The Mandarins" and "She Came to Stay." Both authors were famous especially so among young intellectual. They were atheists and rebels against bourgeoisie society.
The authors sometimes shared lovers. Beauvoir had affairs with American novelist Nelson Algren and French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann best known for his film "Shoah" a nine hour examination of the holocaust as told by those who had lived through the hellish experience.Sartre was sexually insatiable with a very active libido.Sartre continued to have many mistresses until his death. He needed to be nourished and loved by female admirers. Beavoir had both male and female lovers, He and Beauvoir werekind people with brilliant minds. The two lovers and longtime friends are buried next to each other at the Cimeterie du Montparnasse in the Paris neighborhood of their apartments and coffee shops they loved to frequent.
Rowley has done an excellent job of researching the lives of this famous and influentual couple in the worlds of literature and modern philosophy. The book is well illustrated with photos and contains an excellent bibliography.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rich Productive Lives, or Serial Middle age Sexual Debauchery?
It is a given that Mme Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre lived full rich productive lives according to their own existential philosophy and according to their own (to use their words) "temporary moral codes." Thus, this book begs an interesting question: Why waste 400 pages recounting and putting all of the emphasis on the voyeuristic details of their six-decades of sexual encounters? After about four chapters of middle (and old) age sexual debauchery, treachery, double (and triple)-crosses -- all interspersed between a lot of hiking, driving, suicides and all night drinking and "hanging out" in sleazy Left Bank hotels and bars, I think we finally get the picture of the letters. This existentialist "cult of personality," with de Beauvoir and Sartre at the epicenter of a group of young (mostly) virgins and "hangers-ons," was a fad that "came-and-went" and then, began to outlive its aura and its time.

At the end of the book I was still patiently waiting to finally get squarely into the "heavy stuff:" their existentialist philosophy, the couple's political activities, their attitudes towards the U.S.; their lectures and speeches, their books and plays, etc. I only realized as an afterthought and at the bitter end of the book that the numerous tidbits, which had been unceremoniously skimmed over and interspersed between the lines (and literally indeed between the sheets), as asides, en passant comments, or revelations from pillow talk, was all there was! It took a rereading of the entire book to isolate, collate and finally organize the nuggets of worthwhile substance for myself so as to be able to retain a fuller more balanced picture of this iconic couple's contributions to the world.

How could the author in good conscience hide in between irrelevant sexual trysts the fact that Sartre began and wrote most of his magnum opus "Being and Nothingness" while in a German concentration camp, after receiving a copy of Heidegger's "Being in Time" from a German officer (no less)! How much more important (than hearing about his serial sexual seductions of virgins) it would have been to know Sartre's exact state of mind during those trying days as he was grappling and struggling with this foremost intellectual beast?

The text begged (literally screamed) for more details about his long running dispute and feud with Camus and Arthur Koestler on the issue of Communism. In fact, I found it the height of tawdriness that many of the references to the couple's association with other famous political and literary figures such as the Koestlers, Albert Camus, Raymond Aron, Andre Malreaux, Merleau-Ponty, and Pablo Picasso, seemed to also have been "mined" as much for their salacious and prurient, as for their intellectual, content. It seemed that only Richard Wright and his wife escaped the gossipy muck.

Although the historical milestones, of both of these philosophical giants and trailblazers were artfully used to frame the chapters, these letters required being placed in context, otherwise they are allowed to overshadow and clobber everything else. Unfortunately, it seems that everything important about this couple has here been compressed into the spicy aspects of their sex lives. And while I cannot say that it did not interest me at all that Mme Beauvoir was dismissed from her teaching job because of her Lesbian activities, I was infinitely more interested in the fact that in her magnum opus, the "Second Sex" she explains that: the world is a masculine world nourished by myths forged by men. And that in all cultures, (even those said to be matriarchal) man is regarded as the subject, and woman as "the Other." Otherness, according to Mme Beauvoir, apparently is a fundamental category of human thought. No group can set itself up as the "One," without also setting up another as the "Other." How much more important it would have been to focus on Beauvoir's most profound thesis that: We think through a man's ideal, through his myths and hero system; that women's lack of freedom can either be inflicted, in which case it constitutes oppression; or it can be chosen, in which case it represents a moral failure. And that: no matter how it occurs, sexual discrimination, like racial discrimination is an absolute evil.

Beyond her Lesbianism, and above her sexual trysts, de Beauvoir in her letters, seems to have broken the code of American culture for, even though it was like pulling teeth, from the eighth chapter on, we learn (reading between the lines of her sexual conquests) that we organize our lives through "men directed values" and "men directed morals." Breaking away from this deeply embedded and built in framework requires not just determination, but also a great deal of moral courage. American society is not unique in that it makes it easy to forego one's liberty and become a thing (in a man's world) (or in the case of Blacks, in a white dominated world).

Since there are advantages to be gained by playing up to men (or to whites and their racist values), living through them, being supported by them, etc. As a result, many women (or Blacks in the case of racism) chose to take this easier route. On this easier route, one avoids the strain involved in undertaking an authentic existence. The central problem of the sexes (or the races) is that man's (or white's) advantages lie in the fact that their vocation as men (or as a white tribe) in no way runs counter to their destiny as human beings. Their respective social and spiritual successes in both cases endow them with a virile prestige and power. The male and the white tribe thus, are not divided in the pursuit of their self-esteem. Whereas it is required of women and blacks that in order to realize their human worth they must make inhumane sacrifices against their own natures. They must give up their subjectivity and become objects. In the case of women, they must become the prey to the stronger forces of a male dominated society. For blacks, they must bow to a bankrupt set of racist values and customs. Which is to say, in either case, they must renounce their claims to their own dignity and sovereignty as free human beings and subjects.

There are other bright spots in the book too.

For instance in chapter seven, in one of his first post war public lectures Sartre summarizes the meaning of Existentialism as being neither a pessimistic nor a negative philosophy, but one whose basic doctrine is that since God is dead, there is only liberty and contingency: man must thus make himself. There is no such thing as a priori human nature or essence; existence precedes essence. Each individual has to assume his freedom and create his own life. And in the classic Ayn Rand sense, with sufficient willpower, we can transcend all emotions, discomforts, and obstacles; and then we can choose, and without excuses, take full responsibility for ourselves. Sartre's existentialist philosophy could not be more aptly summarized than in his proclamation that it is frightening to be free. We hold our destinies in our own hands. It is up to us to determine the substance of our lives, including the way we choose to love. We are not born cowardly or lazy (or even debauched); we choose to be these things. Man is responsible for what he is condemned to be: free. Existentialism is not about possibilities or intentions for the future, or about mere words, but about concrete projects, about deeds in the present. No one is a genius unless it is expressed in his works. In fact, anything less is considered "bad faith:" a failure to achieve the authentic self. Bad faith is a failure of one to face up to, and properly orientate oneself towards, and then act to promote, his own freedom.

And finally, on his views on America, we discover that when Sartre visited the U.S. for the first time in 1945, he was astonished at the level of discrimination against blacks. "In this land of freedom and equality there live thirteen million untouchables," he wrote. "They wait on your table, they polish your shoes, they operate the elevator, they carry your suitcases into your compartment, but they have nothing to do with you, nor you with them.In 1946 after returning to France, he wrote a novel called "The Respectful Prostitute," inspired by the famous Scottsboro, Alabama case, in which nine black youths were falsely accused of raping two white prostitutes. As a result of the book he was accused of being anti-American, to which he replied: "I don't even know what the words mean. The writer's duty is to denounce injustice everywhere, and all the more so when he loves the country, which lets this injustice happen."

In conclusion, one can argue that all the pieces are here, the letters attest to this fact. But it takes a heroic effort on the part of the reader to reassemble them into a coherent and respectful whole. This is what I expected the author to do. How much better it would have been, had the author foregone so much of the nihilistic debauchery, and just focused on the world class contributions of this, one of history's most important couples as reflected in the letters? It would have made it so much easier for the reader. Four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A love storie
between two of the most famouse philosopher of our time; Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. A must read! Roda Lerpold

5-0 out of 5 stars Simone and Sartre
All I can say about this book is that is was so hard to put it down ! It made you feel as if you were European sitting alongside Sartre and "The Beaver" sharing your most secret thoughts and being open minded sitting in your favorite cafe in Paris! You really do open your mind after reading this book ................it is something everyone should read. I will say that you must be a little open minded to even begin reading this because of some of the content but it lets you in on their most personal lives.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Book that Eventually Had to be Written
I'm surprised that it took so long, almost 20 years since the subjects' passing, for someone to assemble the record of their relationship.Perhaps it's been assumed that those who care about Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir know the story, as I thought I did.There is a tendency to keep relationships off limits, but this relationship is central to understanding the body of work of these two intellectuals.I found this book particularly relevant to understanding Simone de Beauvoir.

Rowley summarizes what is known of the various triangles, rectangles and complex situations resulting from Jean Paul Sartre's incredible need to be loved and surrounded by women... a passion he pays for both literally and figuratively.Sartre seems to see women as "prey" and to keep them he makes them in some way dependent on him (i.e. he takes their freedom away). This is the epitome of Beauvoir's thesis in The Second Sex. Beauvoir also has an active romantic life, but hers seems, more often than not, to be a reaction to Sartre's.While this content could easily be exploited, the writer avoids prurient language and the eroticism is only implied.

This book provokes old and new questions about their relationship and their views.Could the two have been so productive had they never met?How could Sartre condone/promote what was going on in Russia, particularly after visiting and experiencing his own and Zonina's lack of freedom? How could Beauvoir condone/promote Sartre when his liaisons were so sexist in nature?Did Beauvoir, despite the rhetoric, want Sartre exclusively?Did her vicarious romantic life stem from her unmet need for his secure and singular love?
... Read more

6. Memoires D'une Jeune Fille Rangee (Folio)
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 473 Pages (2008-01)
-- used & new: US$12.13
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Asin: 2070355527
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7. Woman Destroyed (Pantheon Modern Writers)
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 256 Pages (1987-08-12)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.59
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Asin: 0394711033
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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These three long stories draw us into the lives of three women, all past their first youth, all facing unexpected crises. In the title story, the heroine's serenity is shattered when she learns that her husband is having an affair. In "The Age of Discretion," a successful, happily married professor finds herself increasingly distressed by her son's absorption in his young wife and her worldly values. In "The Monologue," a rich, spoiled woman, home alone on New Year's Eve, pours out a lifetime's rage and frustration in a harrowing diatribe. Enthralling as fiction, suffused with de Beauvoir's remarkable insights into women, The Woman Destroyed gives us a legendary writer at her best. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still so True!
The title story teaches us: Nothing can destroy a woman but a man, or even better, a woman can destroy herself only because of a man!

There is no woman who will not identify with most of the story. I was clearly thinking - only a woman can write such a story, becuse a man would never get it. Getting so desparate as to do the handwriting analysis, reading the horosocpes, seeking advice from anyone, and NOT LETTING GO, becuse she lost herself in this marriage and she can't bear the thought of finding herself back. I felt for both women in the story and both were so real.

A woman who ever denies feeling even parts of what Monique is feeling is lying to herself and others.

This is so painfully realistic!

3-0 out of 5 stars Title story is compelling; all three are depressing.
This book contains three short stories, each of them about a "Woman Destroyed."Two are utterly depressing, and one is incoherent.The middle story was stream of consciousness babbling by a mad woman character, and I couldn't even finish it.The first story was depressing, and compelling enough to finish.The third story, the title story, was very compelling, defintely a page-turner, but also depressing.

This third story, A Woman Destroyed," tells the tale of a woman whose children have left home, and she experiences empty nest syndrome, only to find out her husband has been having an affair for years, while discouraging her from seeking emplyment and encouraging her to put all her focus into the children and home.He is a real rat, but yet you can see that he is truly torn, taht he thinks he is somehow protecting his wife, while he is ultimately destroying her.The most compelling aspect is the wife her self, watching her slow demise.

5-0 out of 5 stars women of age
This are three short stories potraying three middle class women who are past their prime and face crisis in their lives. Simone de Beauvoir - existentialistphilosopherand feminist reflected the conditiion of her contemporaries with genuineinsight and understanding. Written almost 40 years ago the book did not loose its actuality, to the contrary , it's very moving.
I would recommend this small masterpiece to anyone, butI think that mature women's audience is going to appreciate and understand it the most.

4-0 out of 5 stars the Realm of Existentialism
Three different stories in one book:

Basically, The Monologue: is the confusing diatribe of a spoiled rich woman on-the-edge -- with a lot of mental-baggage that needs unpacking -- alone [by design] in her apartment on New Year's Eve -- the holiday is irrelevant, it could be any evening --while everyone else is out having fun.Her past, present and future are all fair game in this twisted ride with many turns and dead ends -- complete stops and bazaar imaginings.She blames everyone and no one for her current situation.Her daughter has committed suicide, her young son has been taken from her via divorce. It's filthy, it's clean.--Katharena Eiermann, 2006

A Woman Destroyed: How dumb (or in denial) can a woman be?Her husband has been having affairs with other women, on and off, for the past 10 years -- putting in all that overtime at work.All her friends know, her grown daughters know, the people her (highly-successful) husband works with know.The woman's husband finally tells her that he stopped loving her 10 years prior, but still likes her, wants her to have [his] dinner on the table in the evening, wants his laundry done -- that is why he kept living with her.He starts to tear the world she built around him (the only world she has allowed herself to know) down...feeding her imagination with well-placed destructive seeds.All his poisonous barbs on her fragile ego are calculated and exact.He knows what he wants, he wants her to give it to him -- her to do the dirty work -- her to cause their break-up.Huh?This is a very good story. Exquisitely written, realistic, existential, stays on track. --Katharena Eiermann, 2006

The Age of Discretion:Classic "but, that's not the way your Father and I raised you..." story, or, "a little too much time on my hands...so, let me dissect your life and all the reasons why".Heart warming, but not brilliant.--Katharena Eiermann, 2006, the Realm of Existentialism -- Presidential Hopeful

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and very sad
Good gods, how French women needed the feminism De Beauvoir sought to bring them.I wish I didn't sometimes think they still did....

When Monique in the title story reflects that she should have known her marriage was on the skids when her husband told her she should buy a one-piece bathing suit, she immediatley reflects guiltily that she has let her thighs get fat, that her stomach is no longer completely flat... If I were Monique, I might reflect that it was a missed chance to craquer cher Maurice on the head with a deckchair.

Instead, Moniqueimmediately stops eating (quelle surpise) and the first thing her estranged daughter says to her is that her resulting weight loss suits her.It's no wonder that after fifteen years of this, Monique is gimpless when Maurice starts an affair with a younger woman.

Sans doute, de Beauvoir was attempting a critique of such overmastering dependency, but it's also very, very raw-feeling.The price paid by those chic women for thier polish and beauty is this overpowering, constant self-scrutiny; no wonder existentialism, no wonder a modern book like Thornytorinx (in case you think the problem is solved).

This is powerful, true stuff, then, which reminded me of some of Dorothy Parker's best stories (without the humour) but I also felt irrtated with the spineless protagonists of all three stories.Don't be so needy, I wanted to scream.Go to a bar.Go to a jardin.Go to a boulanger.Live a little, before you finally die.In other words, the book feels not so much dated as in need of contestation.I would have enjoyed it more if another character had voiced the limitations of the protagonists' viewpoints. ... Read more

8. The Coming of Age
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 592 Pages (1996-06-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.37
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Asin: 039331443X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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As the definitive study of the universal problemof growing old, The Coming of Age is "a brilliant achievement" (MarcSlonin, New York Times).What do the words elderly, old, and aged reallymean? How are they used by society, and how inturn do they define the generation that we aretaught to respect and love but instead castigate and avoid? Most importantly, how is our treatment of this generation a reflection of our society's values and priorities?

In The Coming of Age,Simone de Beauvoir seeks greater understandingof our perception of elders. With bravery,tenacity, and forceful honesty, she guides us on a study spanning a thousand years and a varietyof different nations and cultures to provide aclear and alarming picture of "Society'ssecret shame"--the separation and distancefrom our communities that the old must sufferand endure. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Of all realities, old age is perhaps that of which we retain a purely abstract notion the longest in our lives"...
Simone de Beauvoir places the subject quote, from the "searcher for lost time, himself," Marcel Proust, most fittingly, at the beginning of this seminal work. De Beauvoir was one of the most outstanding French intellectuals of the 20th Century, famous for her novels, "The Mandarins," and "She Came to Stay", as well as one of the longest autobiographies ever, a total of four volumes. She was also, for better or worse, the lifetime companion of Jean-Paul Sartre.Rare is the person who writes one seminal (double-entendres are not intentional, and would hopefully be forgiven) work on a field, and she is most famous for "The Second Sex," originally published in 1949, an extraordinary examination of the role of women in the world's society; a work which was a precursor to the feminist movements in the `60's. Rarer still is the person who can write two seminal works, and despite the fact it never has gained as much "traction" with the reading public, I consider "The Coming of Age," published in 1970, when De Beauvoir was just over 60, to be the equal of "The Second Sex" in terms of its comprehensive, and original examination of a subject that society, as well as many individuals, prefer to, well, as Proust said, retain as an abstract notion. Speaking of an abstract notion, I first read this work when I was under 30, in part since that is what I did; work with the elderly. I decided to re-read it now, since it is far less abstract, being around the age De Beauvoir was when the book was published.It has lost none of its power; now I understand, and have read more of her references.

In the introduction De Beauvoir says that she intends to "break the conspiracy of silence" on what she has been told is a "dismal subject." And indeed she does. As she did in "The Second Sex," she used her phenomenal erudition to cover how old age is perceived in different societies, for example, the Koryak, a northern Siberian people. She also examines the historical record of how societies dealt with aging, from the ancient Greek, Chinese and Jewish societies. Her observation about the power of the elderly in these societies remains fresh. Consider: "Sometimes they had real power, sometime they played the part that, in certain mathematical operations, is played by imaginary numbers-they are necessary for the working out of the problem, but once the answer has been reached, they are eliminated." Concerning the present day, she notes the seeming paradox of how society shuffles the handicapped and the orphans to the sidelines, not to be thought of much, but the same is done to the elderly, though that is the most likely fate for all of us, unlike the other sub-categories. From her voluminous reading she relates the experiences of numerous individuals to aging, and I found the trials and tribulations of Juliette Drouet, who tolerated the infidelities of Victor Hugo, as well as Sophia Tolstoy, who experienced the same with her husband, illuminating.

There is melancholy, and its antidote. She quotes the poet Mallarmé:"This scent of melancholy that the realizing of a dream for who has realized it, even when there is neither failure nor regret." The antidote, she quotes from the ethnologist Georges Condaminas, author of "We Have Eaten the Forest," about the Montagnards in the highland of Vietnam: "It must be understood that when a day is spent traveling is transposed to memory it takes up a far greater "space" than one spent at home.... The play-back time is a magnification of real time."

There is much in the book that is a cause for optimism, and among others, she cites Goya's masterpieces on "The Disasters of War," which he began at 66, and reports in an appendix on numerous centenarians, living fulfilling lives in Brittany.

De Beauvoir concludes though with the rather unrealistic statement that: "Once we have understood what the state of the aged really is, we cannot satisfy ourselves with calling for a more generous `old age' policy, higher pensions, decent housing and organized leisure. It is the whole system that is at issue and our claim cannot be otherwise than radical--change life itself." Well, not much progress has been made on that front over the last 30 years. Whether you're 30, and the notion is still quite abstract, or 60, and the "coming" part is less theoretical, or even 90, this is an essential work on the inevitable process of life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very economical and simple to operate utility oriented product
As phones go, this is one of the best for the family to enjoy operating, cut tel costs, and simplify your communications network.Its clarity is outstanding and its simple to operate for the entire family.

5-0 out of 5 stars are old people real people? that is de Beauvoir's question.
are old people real people? that is de Beauvoir's question.
When I first read this book 30 years ago, I thought it was so great I assigned it to my students in a course on gerontology. Now that I am older than the author was when she wrote it, I realize how little she really knew about old people.
de Beauvoir is not a sociologist or a gerontologist, but a professor of philosophy and leftist French writer. She (and her partner Jean Paul Sartre) often took official positions on certain topics as a matter of principle, but with little understanding coming from the heart. She has a clear philosopher's gaze and is utterly pitiless. She doesn't cut people any slack.
Her great contribution here is that she brings a wider attention to what it's like being old in terms of how societies conceptualize old age and in terms of old age as a subjective experience by quoting from the lives and works of famous authors and artists who lived to a ripe old age, defined as anything over 60!How times have changed.Currently the average life expectancy in the US is over 75! (It's over 83 in Kansas).
I now live in a town of 15000 whose founding mayor was elected over the age of 80 (he died in office, suddenly, at 86 in the middle of a development planning project).
Many of my neighbors are pushing 90 or 100 (and over) and keep active walking for miles and swimming for hours daily.Are they real people? You bet!Are some of my neighbors with canes, walkers, hearing aids, cataract surgery and nurse's aides or companions real people? You bet!
The amazing thing about old age is people just want to keep on doing what they are used to doing for as long as they can.
Many of the peculiarities of age that de Beauvoir describes are nowknown to be due to physical medical problems which are treatable.However, her work is still valid for those last few weeks or months of severe impairment before death.
You just won't feel good after reading this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding our older loved ones
I read this book by when my grandmother was living her last days in a nursing home. There was so much I didn't know about older people -- what is important to them, how they think, what their needs are, how they approach death. Simone de Beauvoir, the celebrated French thinker and writer offers an in-depth study of older people as individuals and older people in society. She also looks at the treatment and psychology of older people across time in western civilization. Anyone who is a caretaker of an older family member or friend, or cares about understanding older people will find this book remarkable and thoughtful. ... Read more

9. The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Hardcover: 832 Pages (2010-04-13)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$23.96
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Asin: 0307265560
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, and brilliantly introduced by Judith Thurman, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterpiece weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to analyze the Western notion of “woman” and to explore the power of sexuality.

Sixty years after its initial publication, The Second Sex is still as eye-opening and pertinent as ever. This triumphant and genuinely revolutionary book began as an exceptional woman’s attempt to find out who and what she was. Drawing on extensive interviews with women of every age and station of life, masterfully synthesizing research about women’s bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles, The Second Sex is an encyclopedic and cogently argued document about inequality and enforced “otherness.”

This long-awaited new translation pays particular attention to the existentialist terms and French nuances that may have been misconstrued in the first English edition; restores Beauvoir’s phrasing, rhythms, and tone; and reinstates significant portions of the “Myths” and “History” chapters that were originally cut due to length, including accounts of more than seventy female figures.

A vital and life-changing work that has dramatically revised the way women talk and think about themselves, Beauvoir’s magisterial treatise continues to provoke and inspire. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Quelle horreur!
Toril Moi alerted us to the tragedy of this first unabridged English version of Beauvoir's magnum opus (in LRB 32.3 of 2 Feb 2010); she was shamefully (I would even say viciously) attacked for her pains. Beauvoir can be quite a slog even in English, which therefore needs to be as smooth as possible (compatible with accuracy, ca va sans dire!) Apparently the translators strove for a literal translation. What?!! A literal translation (ie word for word, where feasible) is NO TRANSLATION - something this ungainly beast bears out;it passes the bad translation test (in that it not only reads poorly but the original shows through) in spades. As someone who reads widely in translation (I figure if a book is so honoured, someone thinks it's worth reading) I can assure the good folk at Gallimard that there's all the difference in the world between a sensitive version which highlights both the original's AND the interpreter's skill (as a fine wine reflects both cultivator and blender) and the frankly impotable. Ugh!
Le 2e Sexe? A great book, naturlich - though you may have to learn French to read it (and don't neglect Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, this one accessible in English, as the well-chosen title suggests; the literal French would be well-behaved/subdued (literally 'in order') girl/young woman - yes, even 'girl' would have been wrong, so to get round the age ambiguity the translator plumped for 'daughter' - the euphony is an uncalled-for bonus). As for the bunch of incompetents responsible for commissioning, vetting, greenlighting and finally defending this sorry exercise (you know who you are) they should be held to account; in fact I'm surprised the French government isn't up in arms, as the projection of French culture in the anglophone world must be a priority of theirs - unless they've already given up on us. Somebody better nationalise Gallimard, or rebuild the Bastille (or both) ... Read more

10. Must We Burn De Sade?
by Simone de Beauvoir
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-07-01)
list price: US$1.00
Asin: B003XREMG0
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The famous essay that really kicked off the Marquis' restoration. First translated in '53. With numerous selections from his writings. ... Read more

11. The Mandarins
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 608 Pages (1999-07-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.00
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Asin: 0393318834
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In her most famous novel, The Mandarins, Simone de Beauvoir takes an unflinching look at Parisian intellectual society at the end of World War II. In fictionally relating the stories of those around her --Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Arthur Koestler, Nelson Algren --de Beauvoir dissects the emotional and philosophical currents of her time. At once an engrossing drama and an intriguing political tale, The Mandarins is the emotional odyssey of a woman torn between her inner desires and her public life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars Simone reports from an intellectual men's world
I have read a part of The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir. The version I am reading is in 3 parts, and I read the first part which has the subtitle: Anne. The Mandarins is a roman-à-clef which describes the intellectual left-wing millieu in post WW2 Paris. The central character of the account is "Henri" which is considered to be Albert Camus. It's interesting to see the left-wing movement at this place and time. All the people in the millieu continously suffer bad conscience because many of their political friends died in the resistance and in concentration camps inflicted by the Nazis and Fascists during WW2, so they feel somehow guilty about still being alive. Henri is the editor of a small newspaper L'espoir (The Hope), but it's difficult for him to stay independent, he needs money for the newspaper to survive. They are several parties who are willing to support him, like the communists or SRL (a liberal, non-Communist political group), but they all want to suppress the independance of L'espoir. Also American agents contact Henri offering him support, but on the condition that he must not write critical about the Portuguese dictator Salazar, because the Americans are negotiating army bases on the Azores with Portugal. Henri is a person asking questions and as he says himself in the novel: That if you continue asking questions the meaningnessless of life eventually stares you in the head. So the great void is lurking all the time in Henri's life. The book somewhat describes a male chauvinsistic millieau. The womans in the book mostly play the role of lovers to often infidel men. Often a young womans insight into the political intellectual affairs of the men goes through the bed. One gets a sense of a young Simone de Beauvoir sitting on the lap of these older intellectual men taking notes for her novel. It's quite interesting to witness the intellectual left-wing at this place and time. The people are quite earnest about their political aims, they see it as a struggle for life and death about the future of the world. The men also feel insulted in their France national pride. During WW2 they had envisioned themselves in a postwar world forming the new world, but then they come to learn that France is just a little part of Europe having little to say to the greater powers of the world like USA and USSR. It's intesting to see the development of movements in history. The socialism somewhat started with philosophers like Marx in the mid 19th century. In the mid 20th century people are still very earnest about their cause. And then you look at left-wing today in Europe, which is a middle-class phenomena, using some of the same phraseology but actually only feeling contempt towards the lower classes of society.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bad Faith about feminism?
My reactions to Simone's massive novel about life with J.P. Sartre, Albert Camus, and Nelson Algren are violently mixed. It's fascinating to read about an era where prize-winning novelists were resistance fighters and political organizers, and though they're continually bemoaning their powerlessness, I'm amazed by how much what they do and say matters in their vanished world. On the other hand, it's discouraging the way Simone turns Sartre into a plaster saint, and Camus into a heroic godlike creature every woman desires. The big revelation this novel delivers is how focused on men the author, a feminist icon, was, and how hostile she is to all women other than herself. It wasn't just the era she lived in, because Colette, born a generation before Simone, wrote many warm and appreciative portraits of women, and didn't delude herself about the flaws in the characters of the men she loved.

One of the philosophical preoccupations of the novel is Sartre's idea of "Bad Faith", which as I interpret it, is the creation of a morality or an ideology that protects us from the anxiety of having to make choices about our life. The Camus character in the novel is continually struggling with one anguished choice after the next about freedom, betrayal, life and death, but the choices of the women are limited to choices between one man and another. And even then, the choices about when to end the love affairs are almost always made by the men. Perhaps Simone's bad faith about the inability of women to be happy without being the acolytes of men is what makes her style pedantic and turgid, resembling James Michener far more than her literary predecessor, the clear-eyed and elegant Colette, so that the novel is slow going, relying on the basic vitality of the times and the characters to pull you along.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mandarins
Simone de Beauvoir's The Mandarins is the best book I have read in years.
The Saturday Review; "There is no doubt about the brilliance of the mind behind the writing of The Mandarins" Do not miss it!
Roda Lerpold

5-0 out of 5 stars Making a Statement with Nothing but Statements
I will allow the reader an oppurtunity to read through some quotes within The Mandarins, so that s/he will decide whether the book is worthwhile or not...

" [...] to be no one, all things considered, is sthg of a privilege [...]"

" No I shan't meet death today. Not today or any other day. I'll be dead for others and yet I'll never have known death "

" If you think you're nothing, that you can do nothing, that you have rights to nothing, what can you expect to make of yourself ? "

"... its unhealthy to insist on living in the past, but you can't be very proud of yourself when you realize you've more or less disowned it. That's why they invented that dreadful compromise: commemoration"

" To survive is, after all, perpetually to begin to live again "

"... is it that I really believe in a dream, or is it stubborness due to pride, defiance or a sense of self-satisfaction ? "

"... a habit is never bad, despite what they say..."

"... it's strange to lose yourself absolutely in another. But, how rewarding it is when you find the other in yourself..."

"... the right moment is immediately..."

"... to live is to die a little..."

"... becoming aware of my skin is the act of sex..."

4-0 out of 5 stars A discussion stimulator by Ms.de Beauvoir
The Mandarins was the book of the month for an expat book club based in Moscow, Russia.We chose the book for the following reasons:life and values in post-war France, politics torn between Soviet Russia and communism on the left and the US and capitalism on the right, feminism, intellectualism.What we got was a lively discussion about idealism, returning to life after a war, trying to make sense of values and priorities.Most of us felt a sense of accomplishment by actually finishing the book.It is a formidable read, but worth the effort, less as a novel, but more as a snapshot of a time in which we did not live, but with elements of our current life in post-Soviet Russia still as relevant today as they were 60 years ago. ... Read more

12. The Ethics Of Ambiguity
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 162 Pages (2000-06-01)
list price: US$10.95 -- used & new: US$4.00
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Asin: 080650160X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love her work!
A short book and as usual of her writing, challenging, entertaining and written to the masses.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book - an outline for an ethics rooted in radical freedom
The Ethics of Ambiguity is a first rate philosophical study, and important contribution to ethics, that demonstrates the radical freedom proclaimed by existentialists to carry with it ethical responsibilities.The insight that the essence of human being is freedom, or that we are just what we make of ourselves and there are no absolutes does not lead to nihilism, but rather to the recognition that we are answerable to the others with whom we must collaborate in the construction of human existence.

The core of the book is in the second chapter, where Beauvoir outlines a progressively more adequate series of responses to the awareness of freedom.The child can remain ignorant of the ways in which her choices reflect back upon her, and begin imperceptibly to define who she is and determine a destiny; but in adolescence we all grasp, in varying degrees, that if who we are has been shaped by the free and somewhat arbitrary choices of our parents and guardians, who we will become is up to us.It's easy, at that point, to deny or reject our freedom and fall into complacency or routine, but to do so is to be not fully human, a "sub-man" who rejects responsibility and lives just to live and according to habit.Such are easily manipulated by trends and marketing and political slogans of whatever content.

The first stage along the way of accepting freedom, according to Beauvoir, more pernicious perhaps but still an advance on the "sub-man," is what she calls the "serious man": the one who subordinates freedom to a cause - a war, an ideal, a gang, a program or a religion - whatever it is, and embraces that cause as if it were the one and only thing worth choosing, as if choice itself were not what matters and as if any and all freedoms that stand in the way of the cause are to be suppressed.

Beauvoir outlines a series of "ways of being" - the adventurer, the passionate person, the lover, the artist and intellectual - each of which can be understood as overcoming the deficiencies of the prior, in living up to the demands of freedom.Ultimately, she argues, to be free involves dedicating oneself to the cause of freedom, realizing some good that allows others also to discover that good.Teaching could fit this pattern, but so could revolutionary activity; she argues that in some situations that may be what is called for, and in such situations the ambiguous nature of free activity would be evident: that in order to achieve freedom I must struggle against the choices and activities of those who suppress freedom.

Beauvoir's argument in this book is provocative and compelling, and leaves one with much to reflect on.While some of the works once considered pivotal for the existentialist "movement" may appear to be directly bound to a particular time and place (e.g. the cafes and lounges of postwar Paris), Simone de Beauvoir's excellent little treatise on existentialist ethics has lost none of its relevance or urgency.Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to existentialism
I first read this book forty years ago for an undergraduate class in social philosophy.I've re-read it five or six times since, and benefitted from each re-reading.Though it was not DeBeauvoir's intention to write an introduction to existentialism, this is the best one available.

What is the meaning of life?It has none save that which we give it, an inescapable process which the author terms "disclosure of being in the world."This view is strongly relativistic, to be sure, providing no basis for preferring a painfully abscessed molar to good sex.

Unlike the early Sartre, moreover, DeBeauvoir recognizes that we disclose being in the world -- learn what it means to be -- in very specific ways, in socially determined contexts.The meanings we discern are bounded by the social worlds of which we are the ongoing creations and which we help to create.

DeBeauvoir's answer to what-is-the-meaning-of-life kinds of questions is not spiritually uplifting, but it's an answer, given without equivocation or hollow appeals to faith.As such, I think it's the right answer.She makes a compelling case.

Can we organize our lives around "disclosure of being in the world?"I don't think so.Its much too abstract, fraught with anomie, positing a sort of Durkheimian nightmare.Still, at least we know where we stand:right in the middle of a universe that anticipates by two or three decades post-modern rejection of any sort of natural and durable foundation.

3-0 out of 5 stars Words sharp as knives, lacking wisdom?
In ethics you find two sorts of reasoning:
1) One that wants to 'delimit' ethics;
allow them to do what they want.
2) One that wants to add further limits to your moral
Ethics has been argued from a social point of view:
that anthropologically speaking some restrictions
like those on incest and child abuse are universal.
The mid-ground seems to be in marriage laws
and sexual conduct: with the south sea islands on
one side and Boston Ladies of society on the other?
Historically it appears that break down in the values
of family and moral conduct go hand in hand with
decline in the culture. The fall of the Soviet Union
and Communism seems to be tied not with the ideals
of that cultural set, but the adherence to a moral conduct
where the ends justify the means.
Innocents with political and religious ideals died in Siberian camps.
There is no "Ambiguity" in clear wrongs to innocents
to promote a political set of ideas or a leader
like Stalin. Philosophically one can't say
that feminism should be tied to an existentialist doctrine
or that the natural world's lack of ethics means that
we are left to chose our own logical solution
to the decision problems. Harming others in your own selfish self interest isn't in the area of "ambiguity".
Social responsibility is a force that alters history
and is self-organizing: giving up ethical constraints
for your own ends will be the fall.
These are my own sharp words to answer Simone de Beauvior's words.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ethics of Ambiguity
Existence.. it's meaning is never fixed, it must constantly be won. This book examines Existence and it's meaning in a humans life. French Philosopher Simone De Beauvoir talks of Nihilism, Surrealism, Existentialism, Objectivity, and a persons ethics and values in life.Beauvoir also tries to resolve some problems Sartre had with trying to work out Existentialist Ethics. Also discusses recognizing your own freedom and taking charge of your life.

Despite being shorter than most Philosophy books this is by no means an easy read. Its a challenging book but it will force you to think. It is brilliant. This is Philosophy at its finest.
... Read more

13. The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 800 Pages (1989-12-17)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$8.20
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Asin: 0679724516
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The classic manifesto of the liberated woman, this book explores every facet of a woman's life.Amazon.com Review
In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir posed questionsmany men, and women, had yet to ponder when the book was released in1953."One wonders if women still exist, if they will alwaysexist, whether or not it is desirable that they should ...," shesays in this comprehensive treatise on women. She weaves togetherhistory, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of otherdisciplines to show women's place in the world and to postulate on thepower of sexuality. This is a powerful piece of writing in a timebefore "feminism" was even a phrase, much less a movement. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

3-0 out of 5 stars Reading with Tequila
Delving into every aspect of female history, biology, psychology and sexuality, The Second Sex must have made quite a stir when it was first released over 50 years ago. Over the course of those years, many theories proposed in the book have either become verified fact or have been completely disproven.

To a reader discovering this book for the first time today, it is nothing more than a mix of common sense and misleading data. The words, though, get into your psyche. While reading I could feel myself getting worked up, wanting to stand up, be counted, rebel against, well, men.

Simone de Beauvoir seemed to be fighting for absolute sameness between men and women and that's where she lost me. While she admits that men and women differ biologically, she rather convincingly tried to reason that someone was to blame for that difference. That men were stealing womens power because women were forced to carry and raise the children they had. It doesn't even make sense as I write it here, so maybe I lost the true meaning in the never-ending cry of it's-not-our-fault-that-we've-been-held-down.

She pointed out that women are forced to bow down to men because they have been raised that way. Inversely, shouldn't she also accept that men take control of women because that is the way they were raised to behave? The message to rise against biology and psychology and to change the system is a very important one, but blaming the entire male gender for womens fear of standing up for herself is prejudice. If I was a man, I would be horrendously offended.

As a women, I see the value of the kind of passion about our gender. The Second Sex is powerful and compelling and often times inaccurate. It's to be expected based on the multitude of changes garnered by the feminist movement over the last 50 years. The book makes you think and that is always a good thing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version is a rip-off
Obviously de Beauvoir's book is essential reading, and this was the first time I thought I would read a long book on kindle for iphone, buying this before a book group discussion of The Second Sex.But as other reviewers (whom I should have looked at before!) have noted, you only get a fraction of the book.Pretty basic problem for the Kindle, and not as advertised.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
I'm only in the Author's Introduction, but I'm rating this as 5 stars because I think the intro is fantastic, and in scanning ahead I don't see any diminishment in quality. Some of reviewers here mention that they can only read a chapter at a time. I've been going about 3 sheets (6 pages) before I have to stop. There's just too much new information for me to grapple with by that point. This business with woman as The Other is a major mind blower. My initial reaction was that Beauvoir is out of her mind. To think that women in general believe that the meaning of their existence is a construction forced upon them by men, if they really believe this, simply astounds me. Yet I realize that Beauvoir isn't just some hack that fell off the turnip truck. She actually spoke for many women of her day, I gather. Well, that was the early 20th century. What about now? I've got the Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, but won't be reading it until I'm done with The Second Sex, which will take me a while. Are women today still largely The Other? Defining themselves according to male expectations, and aiding and abetting the process by remaining complicit? Or are huge numbers of women redefining themselves on their own terms? There is the pro-life woman, there is the pro-choice woman, there is the stay at home woman, there is the career woman, etc. I'm guessing that women are making these choices, perhaps within a male framework. Hasn't this lead to a fracturing of solidarity? Was there ever a real solidarity of women, or just more vocal or publicized groups than others? Ultimately, is the woman of today happier than the woman of yesteryear? I sure don't know, but these are some of the questions that I have. Anyway, this is a very good book, and I'm enjoying it a lot.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHICH TRANSLATION?
As you read reviews of this book, be aware that there are two translations into English, and Amazon (as I write this) displays reviews of the old (H.M. Parshley) translation on the page for the new (Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier) translation.Some of these reviews echo a common opinion that the Parshley translation is bad.

The new translation won't be released until April 2010, and you can see the date of each review just after the review title.

I've suggested in feedback to Amazon that it treat translations as more different than editions, for instance saying something like, "This review is about a different translation," and putting "[new translation]" in the title of the "edition."

That said, I give the book, even in the old translation, five stars.Some people project this book onto the mere-equality end of the modern spectrum of equality feminism vs. specialness feminism, but it doesn't fit there.The problem of being a woman goes beyond solving by political equality, and it comes from a problematic specialness.

_The Second Sex_is one of those rare basic books.Here is an important point that doesn't fit previous (or later) categories, but it's too coherent to be rejected; the mind has to expand to try to fit it.This is also one of those books that relit for me that sense that being a human is worthwhile and grand, since, here is one of us, look at Simone de Beauvoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars Woman Explained
As your typical middle class white middle aged man, this book is like source code to the woman.Every woman I've ever known in my life, crazy, irresponsible, shallow, shrew, or not, can be explained by this book.I wish I had read it during my teens & I wish it were required reading for every young male on earth. ... Read more

14. Letters to Sartre
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 531 Pages (1993-05-03)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$52.41
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Asin: 1559702125
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Recently published for the first time in France, letters written by Simone de Beauvoir to one of the world's most acclaimed philosophers shed light on their relationship and her obsessive need to communicate with him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Letters ... the Book Not So Much ...
I am giving this book three stars because I don't recall ever being so frustrated while reading a book of letters. I've read a lot of books of letters by women I know little or nothing about and was able to read the letters without feeling completely in the dark. The first time I picked up this book, I gave up 100 pages in so I could read Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography in the hopes of not being so confused and to get a better feel for Simone's life. The footnotes offer very minimal biographical information - they detail people mentioned, directors of movies mentioned, and more often than not refer the reader to Simone's memoirs (which I have not read) rather than synopsize what the editor/translator, Quinton Hoare, has deigned to cut out. Even after reading the biography, I found myself getting irritated because of the near complete lack of biographical information. The letters end abruptly with one letter from 1963 with no explanation; even a simple "No letters were found after this date" would have sufficed.

I was also irritated because in the introduction, Quintin Hoare states that this translation "represents some two thirds of the French edition" because it "seemed preferable to leave out material overlapping with De Beauvoir's autobiographical volumes or, in particular, her book on the United States." Obviously the original editor of the French edition didn't feel the need to edit the letters in such a way so I'm curious to know why he took it upon himself to make so many cuts.

So - I really disliked the book itself, but I really enjoyed reading the letters. The letters are split up into six sections. The bulk of these letters - 274 pages - takes place between September 1939 and March 1941, when Sartre was mobilized for WWII and subsequently a prisoner of war. These read more like a journal than anything else because she wrote to Sartre daily and told him pretty much everything about what happened in her life on a sometimes hourly basis. The length of these letters and the details are phenomenal - it's as if nothing was too minute to mention. The next largest section - 84 pages - are the letters she wrote while she was in the America. I particularly enjoyed this section because I had previously read A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren and was curious to know what happened during her trips to America and the time she spent with Nelson Algren - these letters filled in the gaps.

Having said all of that, I would strongly suggest reading a biography and/or her memoirs before reading these letters, otherwise you most likely not be able to appreciate them fully.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intimate and Beautifully Written
As a life-long student of philosophy, the relationship between Simone De Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre, the most famous of the French existentialists', was a love affair of the heart, body and soul; one of the most infamous relationships of the 20th century.

These letters reveal a caring, loving Simone and her intellectual concerns between 1930 and 1963. What make these letters interesting are the many characters one meets in her novels are mentioned by their real names rather than their novelistic pseudonyms.

De Beauvoir is known more as one of the first driving forces for the ideals of Feminism, however, she was also a prize-wining novelist, political activist, philosopher and diarist. She also loved Sartre beyond measure.

The relationship between them, as written in the Introduction by De Beauvoir's daughter, was a "...notorious `morganatic union' allowing contingent loves." They had an `open relationship', one where other lovers were permitted yet they remained lifetime companions and lover's until Sartre's death in 1963.

What the letters also reveal, aside from her contemporaries actual names, was the couple's intellectual and relationship jealousies. As to there `self-created myth' of open relationship bliss, nothing could be farther from the truth...these jealousies existed.

As a professional writer, De Beauvoir wrote everyday. In one of her letters she mentions that one day during the week, she didn't have time to put pen to paper, she writes, "A day without writing tastes of ashes." She was an incessant scribbler, as her large body of work reveal.

Interestingly, as I've written somewhere before, reading letters, especially love letters, makes me feel like a violator or voyeur. That said, these letters are an important contribution to philosophical history, therefore, from an historical standpoint, that feeling of voyeurism is irrelevant.

If you are interested in the philosophy of existentialism and beautifully written love letters, (a vanishing art form) this text is highly recommended.

... Read more

15. America Day by Day
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 408 Pages (2000-03-30)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$24.70
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Asin: 0520210670
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Here is the ultimate American road book, one with a perspective unlike that of any other. In January 1947 Simone de Beauvoir landed at La Guardia airport and began a four-month journey that took her from one coast of the United States to the other, and back again. Embraced by the Cond Nast set in a swirl of cocktail parties in New York, where she was hailed as the "prettiest existentialist" by Janet Flanner in The New Yorker, de Beauvoir traveled west by car, train, and Greyhound, immersing herself in the nation's culture, customs, people, and landscape. The detailed diary she kept of her trip became America Day by Day, published in France in 1948 and offered here in a completely new translation. It is one of the most intimate, warm, and compulsively readable texts from the great writer's pen.

Fascinating passages are devoted to Hollywood, the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and San Antonio. We see de Beauvoir gambling in a Reno casino, smoking her first marijuana cigarette in the Plaza Hotel, donning raingear to view Niagara Falls, lecturing at Vassar College, and learning firsthand about the Chicago underworld of morphine addicts and petty thieves with her lover Nelson Algren as her guide. This fresh, faithful translation superbly captures the essence of Simone de Beauvoir's distinctive voice. It demonstrates once again why she is one of the most profound, original, and influential writers and thinkers of the twentieth century.

On New York:"I walk between the steep cliffs at the bottom of a canyon where no sun penetrates: it's permeated by a salt smell. Human history is not inscribed on these carefully calibrated buildings: They are closer to prehistoric caves than to the houses of Paris or Rome."

On Los Angeles:"I watch the Mexican dances and eat chili con carne, which takes the roof off my mouth, I drink the tequila and I'm utterly dazed with pleasure." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

3-0 out of 5 stars L'Amerique, as seen by une snob
Publisher's Weekly notes that this engrossing travel account is "facile and condescending" in parts, and that's an understatement.I cringed when I read her hackneyed views of race relations, black dancing (so free! so unhindered by puritanical white uptightness! aren't "they" so very "primitif!" But in a good way! Ooh-la-lah!).

My buddy S and I were taking turns reading this book out loud to one another as we replicated part of de Beauvoir's journey through the Southwest.After a while we couldn't stop ourselves from commenting on various sites in the voice of Simone...
"While the majestic red rocks near Santa Fe present a dazzling profile against a cerulean sky, I cannot help but note that the American Working Man leads a life of quiet deslolation, inured to the tragic injustices perpetrated against that little lizard we see lifting its barbaric yet courageous head to better view us, its oppressors!Now we shall drink whiskey with some bums in the Bowery! Zout allors!"

There's much to like in this book, and much that's maddeningly trite.I bought the book in the UK and since many Brits love to hate the US, it was kind of fun to read the slobberingly positive pull quotes on the front pages.Still, I recommend this book to readers of good travel literature.

Warning: you will want to drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes while reading this book. I'm just sayin'.

4-0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective on America
"America Day by Day" written by Simone de Beauvoir is a first hand view of America during post-World War II times by one of France's intellectuals of the time. She travels around the United States, first landing in New York City and ending back in Paris only to become disappointed by the look Paris has after touring America. This book was written after her visit but creatively written in journal format, dating from January 25 to May 20, 1947. On the contrary to public opinion, Beauvoir is not anti-American in this reading. Although she is very critical of the way of life people have in the United States, she seems throughly interested throughout her stay. One can note recurring themes that Beauvoir focuses on throughout the book, ranging from female rights to racism to the architecture and fellow intellectuals from America. This book is recommended for help on discovering different perspectives about the United States.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beauvoir a fair critic
"America Day by Day" is an insightful literary and analytical piece of American culture in the 1940s. Simone de Beauvoir looks at the United States through very critical and apprehensive eyes. She notes the virtues of American society: the food, jazz, the buildings and the warmth of the American people. She also notes the vices: racism, the poor state of plantation workers, American consumerism and the political apathy of the American youth. Beauvoir's opinions of America are particularly poignant because she already an established French intellectual before she travels to America. The fact that she is a French woman arriving in the United States after the end of the Second World War also gives a new dimension to her perception of America. Her past experiences have heightened her perception of all the things around her; this reflects in her sensitivity to sounds, smells and temperature changes. Simone de Beauvoir can be seen as a fair critic of the United States and its culture as she tries to describe her experiences in America holistically; and does not focus on the negative aspects of American culture as would be expected from a French critic.

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting and relevant perspective on America
Simone de Beauvoir's account of her travels in America in the winter and spring of 1947 is both entertaining and insightful.Though Beauvoir only stayed in America for a few months her scope was far from limited; well connected, she traveled through much of the east coast, west coast, and south, and a bit of the mid-west.Beauvoir comments on everything from the American jazz scene to the individual character of towns to American cordiality.She both marvels at America and is critical of some of the phenomena she encounters there; particularly insightful are her examinations of racial discrimination and the double-sided aspect of American optimism.Also, more than just a picture of post-war America, many of her observations are incredibly relevant today, especially her descriptions of American political apathy - particularly among young people - and American conformism.America Day by Day offers a unique, intelligent perspective on America and American life from which one can learn about both America's past and present.

4-0 out of 5 stars L'Amerique
America Day by Day by Simone de Beauvoir is an easy and interesting read. Beauvoir, a French author, takes the reader through her travels by diary like entry, where she calls things as she sees them. From New York to California, Beauvoir stops to speak at major colleges and hits many "tourist" attractions. She seems to follow the saying "when in Rome, do as the Roman's do" by eating hamburgers and speaking English as much as possible. She tries to make her entire trip as "American" as possible. And just when she though she could never adjust to America, she does and has to re-adjust to France in the end. ... Read more

16. Une Mort Tres Douce (French Edition)
by Simone de Beauvoir
Mass Market Paperback: 151 Pages (1999-05)
-- used & new: US$6.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2070361373
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17. Segundo sexo (Spanish Edition)
by Simone De Beauvoir
Paperback: 728 Pages (2002-02-19)
list price: US$36.95 -- used & new: US$22.81
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Asin: 1400000602
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book!
I'm very pleased with my new book!!!!. Everything turned out to be as I expected. Thank you to everyone involved in this project. Mercy! Thank you!
Elena. ... Read more

18. Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman
by Toril Moi
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-09-14)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$23.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199238723
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Product Description
In Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman, Toril Moi shows how Simone de Beauvoir became the leading feminist thinker and emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century. Blending biography with literary criticism, feminist theory, and historical and social analysis, this book provides a completely original analysis of Beauvoir's education and formation as an intellectual.

In The Second Sex, Beauvoir shows that we constantly make something of what the world tries to make of us. By reconstructing the social and political world in which Beauvoir became the author of The Second Sex, and by showing how Beauvoir reacted to the pressures of that world, Moi applies Beauvoir's ideas to Beauvoir's own life.

Ranging from an investigation of French educational institutions to reflections on the relationship between freedom and flirtation, this book uncovers the conflicts and difficulties of an intellectual woman in the middle of the twentieth century. Through her analysis of Beauvoir's life and work Moi shows how difficult it was - and still is - for women to be taken seriously as intellectuals. Two major chapters on The Second Sex provide a theoretical and a political analysis of that epochal text. The last chapter turns to Beauvoir's love life, her depressions and her fear of ageing.

In a major new introduction, Moi discusses Beauvoir's letters to her lovers Jacques-Laurent Bost and Nelson Algren, as well as her recently published student diaries from 1926/27. ... Read more

19. The Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Paperback: 786 Pages (1997-08-07)
list price: US$20.65 -- used & new: US$11.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 009974421X
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, which stands - almost five decades after its first appearance - as the first landmark in the modern feminist upsurge that has transformed perceptions of the social relationship of man and womankind in our time. ... Read more

20. Simone de Beauvoir (Life & Times S.)
by Lisa Appignanesi
Paperback: 182 Pages (2005-10)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1904950094
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Born in 1908, Simone de Beauvoir was a brilliant scholar and novelist, leading member of the existentialist movement and a committed socialist and feminist. Raised in a stiflingly respectable environment, as a young woman she totally rejected her parents’ values and embarked on her literary career. With Jean-Paul Sartre she formed a unique relationship, which she described as ‘The one undoubted success in my life’. Later in life she was committed to achieving radical social and political change, but it was writing that gave meaning to her life; above everything, she valued her own intellectual audience. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars biography focusing on the writings and the feminism of this important French literary figure
This author with wide interests and published fiction and nonfiction concentrates on Simon de Beauvoir's writings for a comprehension of the purposes she defined for herself and the commitments she made. Or as Appighanesi puts it in her own words, "I have tried to render the flavour of Simone de Beauvois's singular life, her judiciousness, the vitality of her intellect, as well as highlight certain aspects of her most important books." The author gives special attention to de Beauvoir's influence through her books and her actions as a latter-day feminist; while her social ideas and activities, along with those of her lover Sartre, and her literary accomplishments are also given adequate and informative attention. Appignanesi writes with the stylistic innovation of including relatively lengthy passages from de Beauvois's writings within paragraphs; rather than setting off the quotes in separate blocks of text as is the common style. This has the effect of drawing writer and subject closer, allowing the writer to be particularly revealing about her subject. A little different from a conventional biography, this work presents de Beauvoir as a feeling, thinking, activist individual while also being an introspective one; and it's a good supplement to other works on this leading French philosophical and literary figure of the post-War decades who continues to offer insights and guidance on social, gender, and political questions. ... Read more

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