Simone de Beauvoir

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Simone de Beauvoir
Beauvoir in 1967
Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

(1908-01-09)9 January 1908
Paris, France
Died14 April 1986(1986-04-14) (aged 78)
Paris, France
Resting placeMontparnasse Cemetery, Paris
EducationUniversity of Paris (BA, MA)
  • Philosopher
  • writer
  • social theorist
  • activist
Notable workThe Second Sex (1949)

Philosophy career
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas

Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir[a] (UK: /də ˈbvwɑːr/, US: /də bˈvwɑːr/;[2][3] French: [simɔn bovwaʁ] ; 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French existentialist philosopher, writer, social theorist, and feminist activist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, nor was she considered one at the time of her death,[4][5][6] she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory.[7]

Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiographies, and monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues. She was best known for her "trailblazing work in feminist philosophy",[8] The Second Sex (1949), a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism. She was also known for her novels, the most famous of which were She Came to Stay (1943) and The Mandarins (1954). Her most enduring contribution to literature are her memoirs, notably the first volume, Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée[9] (1958), which has warmth and descriptive power.[10] She was also highly awarded, some of the most notable prizes being the 1954 Prix Goncourt, the 1975 Jerusalem Prize, and the 1978 Austrian State Prize for European Literature. She was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961, 1969 and 1973.[11] Her life was not without controversy: she briefly lost her teaching job after being accused of sexually abusing some of her students. She and her long-time lover, Jean-Paul Sartre, along with numerous other French intellectuals, campaigned for the release of people convicted of child sex offenses and signed a petition which advocated the abolition of age of consent laws in France.[12]

Personal life


Early years


Beauvoir was born on 9 January 1908,[13] into a bourgeois Parisian family in the 6th arrondissement.[14][15][16] Her parents were Georges Bertrand de Beauvoir, a lawyer who once aspired to be an actor,[17] and Françoise Beauvoir (née Brasseur), a wealthy banker's daughter and devout Catholic. Simone had a sister, Hélène, who was born two years later, on June 6, 1910. The family struggled to maintain their bourgeois status after losing much of their fortune shortly after World War I, and Françoise insisted the two daughters be sent to a prestigious convent school.

Beauvoir was intellectually precocious, fueled by her father's encouragement; he reportedly would boast, "Simone thinks like a man!"[18] Because of her family's straitened circumstances, she could no longer rely on her dowry, and like other middle-class girls of her age, her marriage opportunities were put at risk. She took this opportunity to take steps towards earning a living for herself.[19]

She first worked with Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss, when all three completed their practice teaching requirements at the same secondary school. Although not officially enrolled, she sat in on courses at the École Normale Supérieure in preparation for the agrégation in philosophy, a highly competitive postgraduate examination that serves as a national ranking of students. It was while studying for it that she met École Normale students Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Nizan, and René Maheu (who gave her the lasting nickname "Castor", or "beaver").[17] The jury for the agrégation narrowly awarded Sartre first place instead of Beauvoir, who placed second and, at age 21, was the youngest person ever to pass the exam.[20] Additionally, Beauvoir finished an exam for the certificate of "General Philosophy and Logic" second to Simone Weil. Her success as the eighth woman to pass the agrégation solidified her economic independence and furthered her feminist ideology.[8]

Writing of her youth in Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, she said: " father's individualism and pagan ethical standards were in complete contrast to the rigidly moral conventionalism of my mother's teaching. This disequilibrium, which made my life a kind of endless disputation, is the main reason why I became an intellectual."[21]



Beauvoir pursued post-secondary education after completing her high school years at Cours Desir [fr].[22] After passing baccalaureate exams in mathematics and philosophy at the age of seventeen in 1925, she studied mathematics at the Institut Catholique de Paris and literature/languages at the Institut Sainte-Marie [fr]. She then studied philosophy at the Sorbonne and after completing her degree in 1928, wrote her Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées [fr] (roughly equivalent to an M.A. thesis) on Leibniz for Léon Brunschvicg (the topic was "Le concept chez Leibniz" ["The Concept in Leibniz"]).[23] Her studies of political philosophy through university influenced her to start thinking of societal concerns.[citation needed]

Religious upbringing


Beauvoir was raised in a Catholic household. In her youth, she was sent to convent schools. She was deeply religious as a child, at one point intending to become a nun. At age 14, Beauvoir questioned her faith as she saw many changes in the world after witnessing tragedies throughout her life.[24] Consequently, she abandoned her faith in her early teens and remained an atheist for the rest of her life.[25] To explain her atheist beliefs, Beauvoir stated, "Faith allows an evasion of those difficulties which the atheist confronts honestly. And to crown all, the believer derives a sense of great superiority from this very cowardice itself."[26]

Middle years

Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at the Balzac Memorial

From 1929 through 1943, Beauvoir taught at the lycée level until she could support herself solely on the earnings of her writings. She taught at the Lycée Montgrand [fr] (Marseille), the Lycée Jeanne-d'Arc (Rouen) [fr], and the Lycée Molière (Paris) [fr] (1936–39).[27]

Jean-Paul Sartre


Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre met during her college years. Intrigued by her determination as an educator, he intended to make their relationship romantic. However, she had no interest in doing so.[24] Her resistance to Sartre failed, and in October 1929, Jean-Paul Sartre and Beauvoir became a couple for the next 51 years, until his death in 1980.[28] After they were confronted by her father, Sartre asked her to marry him on a provisional basis. One day while they were sitting on a bench outside the Louvre, he said, "Let's sign a two-year lease".[29] Though Beauvoir wrote, "Marriage was impossible. I had no dowry", scholars point out that her ideal relationships described in The Second Sex and elsewhere bore little resemblance to the marriage standards of the day.[30]

I think marriage is a very alienating institution, for men as well as for women. I think it's a very dangerous institution—dangerous for men, who find themselves trapped, saddled with a wife and children to support; dangerous for women, who aren't financially independent and end up by depending on men who can throw them out when they are 40; and very dangerous for children, because their parents vent all their frustrations and mutual hatred on them. The very words 'conjugal rights' are dreadful. Any institution which solders one person to another, obliging people to sleep together who no longer want to is a bad one.[31]

Instead, she and Sartre entered into a lifelong "soul partnership", which was sexual but not exclusive, nor did it involve living together.[32] She chose never to marry and never had children. This gave her the time to advance her education and engage in political causes, write and teach, and take lovers.[33] Unfortunately, Beauvoir's prominent open relationships at times overshadowed her substantial academic reputation. A scholar who was lecturing with her[34] chastised their "distinguished [Harvard] audience [because] every question asked about Sartre concerned his work, while all those asked about Beauvoir concerned her personal life."[35]

Sartre and Beauvoir always read each other's work. Debate continues about the extent to which they influenced each other in their existentialist works, such as Sartre's Being and Nothingness and Beauvoir's She Came to Stay and "Phenomenology and Intent".[36] However, recent studies of Beauvoir's work focus on influences other than Sartre, including Hegel and Leibniz.[7] The Neo-Hegelian revival led by Alexandre Kojève and Jean Hyppolite in the 1930s inspired a whole generation of French thinkers, including Sartre, to discover Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.[37][38] However, Beauvoir, reading Hegel in German during the war, produced an original critique of his dialectic of consciousness.

Allegations of sexual abuse


Beauvoir was bisexual, and her relationships with young women were controversial.[39] French author Bianca Lamblin (originally Bianca Bienenfeld) wrote in her book Mémoires d'une jeune fille dérangée (Memoirs of a deranged girl, published in English under the title A Disgraceful Affair) that, while a student at Lycée Molière, she was sexually exploited by her teacher Beauvoir, who was in her 30s.[40] Sartre and Beauvoir both groomed and sexually abused Lamblin.[41] Bianca wrote her Mémoires in response to the posthumous 1990 publication of Jean-Paul Sartre's Lettres au Castor et à quelques autres: 1926-1963 (Letters to Castor and other friends), in which she noted that she was referred to by the pseudonym Louise Védrine.[42]

In 1943, Beauvoir was suspended again from her teaching position when she was accused of seducing her 17-year-old lycée pupil Natalie Sorokine in 1939.[43] Sorokine's parents laid formal charges against Beauvoir for debauching a minor (the age of consent in France at the time was 13 until 1945, when it became 15)[44][45] and Beauvoir's licence to teach in France was revoked, although it was subsequently reinstated.[46]

Beauvoir described in La Force de l'âge (The Prime of Life) a relationship of simple friendship with Nathalie Sorokine[47] (in the book referred to as "Lise Oblanoff").[48]

Natalie Sorokine, along with Bianca Lamblin and Olga Kosakiewicz, later stated that their relationships with de Beauvoir damaged them psychologically.[39]

Later years

Antonio Núñez Jiménez, Beauvoir, Sartre and Che Guevara in Cuba, 1960.
Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Beauvoir, Sartre in Cairo, 1967.

Beauvoir wrote popular travel diaries about time spent in the United States[49] and China and published essays and fiction rigorously, especially throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Her 1955 travels in China were the basis of her 1957 travelogue The Long March, in which she praised the efforts of the Chinese communists to emancipate women.[50]

She published several volumes of short stories, including The Woman Destroyed, which, like some of her other later work, deals with aging. She lived with Claude Lanzmann from 1952 to 1959,[51] but perhaps her most famous lover was American author Nelson Algren. Beauvoir met Algren in Chicago in 1947, while she was on a four-month "exploration" trip of the United States using various means of transport: automobile, train, and Greyhound. She kept a detailed diary of the trip, which was published in France in 1948 with the title America Day by Day.[52] She wrote to him across the Atlantic as "my beloved husband."[53] Algren won the National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm in 1950, and in 1954, Beauvoir won France's most prestigious literary prize for The Mandarins, in which Algren is the character Lewis Brogan. Algren vociferously objected to their intimacy becoming public. Years after they separated, she was buried wearing his gift of a silver ring.[54]

Waist high portrait of middle aged man reading
Algren in 1956

When Beauvoir visited Algren in Chicago, Art Shay took well-known nude and portrait photos of Beauvoir. Shay also wrote a play based on Algren, Beauvoir, and Sartre's triangular relationship. The play was stage read in 1999 in Chicago.

Beauvoir also wrote a four-volume autobiography, consisting of Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, The Prime of Life, Force of Circumstance (sometimes published in two volumes in English translation: After the War and Hard Times), and All Said and Done.[55] In 1964 Beauvoir published a novella-length autobiography, A Very Easy Death, covering the time she spent visiting her aging mother, who was dying of cancer. The novella brings up questions of ethical concerns with truth-telling in doctor-patient relationships.[56]

Her 1970 long essay La Vieillesse (The Coming of Age) is a rare instance of an intellectual meditation on the decline and solitude all humans experience if they do not die before about the age of 60.[57]

In the 1970s Beauvoir became active in France's women's liberation movement. She wrote and signed the Manifesto of the 343 in 1971, a manifesto that included a list of famous women who claimed to have had an abortion, then illegal in France. Signatories were diverse[clarification needed] as Catherine Deneuve, Delphine Seyrig, and Beauvoir's sister Hélène. In 1974, abortion was legalized in France.

When asked in an 1975 interview with Betty Friedan if she would support a minimum wage for women who do housework, Beauvoir answered: "No, we don’t believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction", further stating that motherhood "should be a choice, and not a result of conditioning”.[58][59]

In about 1976, Beauvoir and Sylvie Le Bon made a trip to New York City in the United States to visit Kate Millett on her farm.[60][clarification needed]

In 1977, Beauvoir signed a petition along with other French intellectuals that supported the freeing of three arrested paedophiles.[61][12] The petition explicitly addresses the 'Affaire de Versailles', where three adult men, Dejager (age 45), Gallien (age 43), and Burckhardt (age 39) had sexual relations with minors from both genders aged 12–13.[62][63]

When Things of the Spirit Come First, a set of short stories Beauvoir had written decades previously but had not considered worth publishing, was released in 1980.[55]

Beauvoir's and Sartre's grave at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.

In 1981 she wrote La Cérémonie des adieux (A Farewell to Sartre), a painful account of Sartre's last years. In the opening of Adieux, Beauvoir notes that it is the only major published work of hers which Sartre did not read before its publication.[citation needed]|

She contributed the piece "Feminism - Alive, Well, and in Constant Danger" to the 1984 anthology Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women's Movement Anthology, edited by Robin Morgan.[64]

After Sartre died in 1980, Beauvoir published his letters to her with edits to spare the feelings of people in their circle who were still living. After Beauvoir's death, Sartre's adopted daughter and literary heir Arlette Elkaïm would not let many of Sartre's letters be published in unedited form. Most of Sartre's letters available today have Beauvoir's edits, which include a few omissions but mostly the use of pseudonyms. Beauvoir's adopted daughter and literary heir Sylvie Le Bon, unlike Elkaïm, published Beauvoir's unedited letters to both Sartre and Algren.

Sylvie Le Bon-de Beauvoir


Sylvie Le Bon-de Beauvoir and Simone de Beauvoir met in the 1960s, when Beauvoir was in her fifties and Sylvie was a teenager. In 1980, Beauvoir, 72, legally adopted Sylvie, who was in her late thirties, by which point they had already been in an intimate relationship for decades. Although Beauvoir rejected the institution of marriage her entire life, this adoption was like a marriage for her. Some scholars argue that this adoption was not to secure a literary heir for Beauvoir, but as a form of resistance to the bio-heteronormative family unit.[65]



Beauvoir died of pneumonia on 14 April 1986 in Paris, aged 78.[66] She is buried next to Sartre at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.[67] She was honored as a figure at the forefront of the struggle for women's rights around the time of her passing.[68]

The Second Sex

The Second Sex

The Second Sex, first published in 1949 in French as Le Deuxième Sexe, turns the existentialist mantra that existence precedes essence into a feminist one: "One is not born but becomes a woman" (French: "On ne naît pas femme, on le devient").[69] With this famous phrase, Beauvoir first articulated what has come to be known as the sex-gender distinction, that is, the distinction between biological sex and the social and historical construction of gender and its attendant stereotypes.[70] Beauvoir argues that "the fundamental source of women's oppression is its [femininity's] historical and social construction as the quintessential" Other.[71]

Beauvoir defines women as the "second sex" because women are defined as inferior to men. She pointed out that Aristotle argued women are "female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities", while Thomas Aquinas referred to women as "imperfect men" and the "incidental" being.[72] She quotes "In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation."[73]

Beauvoir asserted that women are as capable of choice as men, and thus can choose to elevate themselves, moving beyond the "immanence" to which they were previously resigned and reaching "transcendence", a position in which one takes responsibility for oneself and the world, where one chooses one's freedom.[74]

Chapters of The Second Sex were originally published in Les Temps modernes,[75] in June 1949. The second volume came a few months after the first in France.[76] It was published soon after in America due to the quick translation by Howard Parshley, as prompted by Blanche Knopf, wife of publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Because Parshley had only a basic familiarity with the French language, and a minimal understanding of philosophy (he was a professor of biology at Smith College), much of Beauvoir's book was mistranslated or inappropriately cut, distorting her intended message.[77] For years, Knopf prevented the introduction of a more accurate retranslation of Beauvoir's work, declining all proposals despite the efforts of existentialist scholars.[77]

Only in 2009 was there a second translation, to mark the 60th anniversary of the original publication. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier produced the first integral translation in 2010, reinstating a third of the original work.[78]

In the chapter "Woman: Myth and Reality" of The Second Sex,[79] Beauvoir argued that men had made women the "Other" in society by the application of a false aura of "mystery" around them. She argued that men used this as an excuse not to understand women or their problems and not to help them, and that this stereotyping was always done in societies by the group higher in the hierarchy to the group lower in the hierarchy. She wrote that a similar kind of oppression by hierarchy also happened in other categories of identity, such as race, class, and religion, but she claimed that it was nowhere more true than with gender in which men stereotyped women and used it as an excuse to organize society into a patriarchy.[citation needed]

Despite her contributions to the feminist movement, especially the French women's liberation movement, and her beliefs in women's economic independence and equal education, Beauvoir was initially reluctant to call herself a feminist.[19] However, after observing the resurgence of the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Beauvoir stated she no longer believed a socialist revolution to be enough to bring about women's liberation. She publicly declared herself a feminist in 1972 in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur.[80]

In 2018, the manuscript pages of Le Deuxième Sexe were published. At the time her adopted daughter, Sylvie Le Bon-Beauvoir, a philosophy professor, described her mother's writing process: Beauvoir wrote every page of her books longhand first and only after that would hire typists.[81]

Other notable works


She Came to Stay


Beauvoir published her first novel She Came to Stay in 1943.[82] It has been assumed that it is inspired by her and Sartre's sexual relationship with Olga Kosakiewicz and Wanda Kosakiewicz. Olga was one of her students in the Rouen secondary school where Beauvoir taught during the early 1930s. She grew fond of Olga. Sartre tried to pursue Olga but she rejected him, so he began a relationship with her sister Wanda. Upon his death, Sartre was still supporting Wanda. He also supported Olga for years, until she met and married Jacques-Laurent Bost, a lover of Beauvoir. However, the main thrust of the novel is philosophical, a scene in which to situate Beauvoir's abiding philosophical pre-occupation – the relationship between the self and the other.[citation needed]

In the novel, set just before the outbreak of World War II, Beauvoir creates one character from the complex relationships of Olga and Wanda. The fictionalised versions of Beauvoir and Sartre have a ménage à trois with the young woman. The novel also delves into Beauvoir and Sartre's complex relationship and how it was affected by the ménage à trois.[citation needed]

She Came to Stay was followed by many others, including The Blood of Others, which explores the nature of individual responsibility, telling a love story between two young French students participating in the Resistance in World War II.[55]

Existentialist ethics

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in Beijing, 1955

In 1944, Beauvoir wrote her first philosophical essay, Pyrrhus et Cinéas, a discussion on existentialist ethics. She continued her exploration of existentialism through her second essay The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947); it is perhaps the most accessible entry into French existentialism. In the essay, Beauvoir clears up some inconsistencies that many, Sartre included, have found in major existentialist works such as Being and Nothingness. In The Ethics of Ambiguity, Beauvoir confronts the existentialist dilemma of absolute freedom vs. the constraints of circumstance.[7]

Les Temps Modernes


At the end of World War II, Beauvoir and Sartre edited Les Temps Modernes, a political journal that Sartre founded along with Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others.[83] Beauvoir used Les Temps Modernes to promote her own work and explore her ideas on a small scale before fashioning essays and books. Beauvoir remained an editor until her death. However, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty had a longstanding feud, which led Merleau-Ponty to leave Les Temps modernes. Beauvoir sided with Sartre and ceased to associate with Merleau-Ponty. In Beauvoir's later years, she hosted the journal's editorial meetings in her flat and contributed more than Sartre, whom she often had to force[clarification needed] to offer his opinions.[citation needed]

The Mandarins

Dunes cottage where Algren and Beauvoir summered in Miller Beach, Indiana

Published in 1954, The Mandarins won France's highest literary prize, the Prix Goncourt.[84] It is a roman à clef set after the end of World War II and follows the personal lives of philosophers and friends among Sartre's and Beauvoir's intimate circle, including her relationship with American writer Nelson Algren, to whom the book is dedicated.[85]

Algren was outraged by the frank way Beauvoir described their sexual experiences in both The Mandarins and her autobiographies.[85] Algren vented his outrage when reviewing American translations of Beauvoir's work. Much material bearing on this episode in Beauvoir's life, including her love letters to Algren, entered the public domain only after her death.[86]

Les Inséparables


Beauvoir's early novel Les Inséparables, long suppressed, was published in French in 2020 and two different English translations in 2021, by Sandra Smith in the US and Lauren Elkin in the UK.[87] Written in 1954, the book describes her first love, a classmate named Elisabeth Lacoin ("Zaza") who died before age 22 of viral encephalitis, and had as a teenager a "passionate and tragic" relationship with Beauvoir and Merleau-Ponty, then teaching at the same school. According to Sylvie Le Bon-de Beauvoir, Beauvoir never forgave Madame Lacoin for what happened, believing that Elisabeth-Zaza was murdered by the oppressive socio-cultural environment in which she had been raised.[88] Disapproved by Sartre, the novel was deemed "too intimate" to be published during Beauvoir's lifetime.



Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex is considered a foundational work in the history of feminism. Beauvoir had denied being feminist multiple times but ultimately admitted that she was one after The Second Sex became crucial in the world of feminism.[68] The work has had a profound influence, opening the way for second-wave feminism in the United States, Canada, Australia, and around the world.[7] Although Beauvoir has been quoted as saying "There is a certain unreasonable demand that I find a little stupid because it would enclose me, immobilize me completely in a sort of feminist concrete block," her works on feminism have paved the way for all future feminists.[89] The founders of the second-wave read The Second Sex in translation, including Kate Millett, Shulamith Firestone, Juliet Mitchell, Ann Oakley and Germaine Greer. All acknowledged their profound debt to Beauvoir, including visiting her in France, consulting with her at crucial moments, and dedicating works to her.[90] Betty Friedan, whose 1963 book The Feminine Mystique is often regarded as the opening salvo of second-wave feminism in the United States, later said that reading The Second Sex in the early 1950s[90] "led me to whatever original analysis of women's existence I have been able to contribute to the Women's movement and its unique politics. I looked to Simone de Beauvoir for a philosophical and intellectual authority."[91]

At one point in the early 1970s, Beauvoir also aligned herself with the French League for Women's Rights as a means to campaign and fight against sexism in French society.[89] Beauvoir's influence goes beyond just her impact on second-wave founders, and extends to numerous aspects of feminism, including literary criticism, history, philosophy, theology, criticism of scientific discourse, and psychotherapy.[7] When Beauvoir first became involved with the feminism movement, one of her objectives was legalizing abortion.[89] Donna Haraway wrote that, "despite important differences, all the modern feminist meanings of gender have roots in Simone de Beauvoir's claim that 'one is not born a woman [one becomes one].'"[7] This "most famous feminist sentence ever written"[92] is echoed in the title of Monique Wittig's 1981 essay One Is Not Born a Woman.[90][93][94] Judith Butler took the concept a step further, arguing that Beauvoir's choice of the verb to become suggests that gender is a process, constantly being renewed in an ongoing interaction between the surrounding culture and individual choice.[90][95]

In Paris, Place Jean-Paul-Sartre-et-Simone-de-Beauvoir is a square where Beauvoir's legacy lives on. It is one of the few squares in Paris to be officially named after a couple. The pair lived close to the square at 42 rue Bonaparte.





List of publications (non-exhaustive)

  • L'Invitée (1943) (English – She Came to Stay) [novel]
  • Pyrrhus et Cinéas (1944) [nonfiction]
  • Le Sang des autres (1945) (English – The Blood of Others) [novel]
  • Les Bouches inutiles (1945) (English - Who Shall Die?) [drama]
  • Tous les hommes sont mortels (1946) (English: All Men Are Mortal) [novel]
  • Pour une morale de l'ambiguïté (1947) (English: The Ethics of Ambiguity) [nonfiction]
  • America Day by Day (1948) (English, 1999): Carol Cosman (Translator) and Douglas Brinkley (Foreword) [nonfiction]
  • Le Deuxième Sexe (1949) (English: The Second Sex) [nonfiction]
  • L'Amérique au jour le jour (1954) (English: America Day by Day)
  • Les Mandarins (1954) (English: The Mandarins) [novel]
  • Must We Burn Sade? (1955)
  • The Long March (1957) [nonfiction]
  • Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958)
  • The Prime of Life (1960)
  • Force of Circumstance (1963)
  • A Very Easy Death (1964) (French: Une Mort Tres Douce)
  • Misunderstanding in Moscow (1966) [novel]
  • Les Belles Images (1966) [novel]
  • The Woman Destroyed (1967) [short stories] (French: La Femme Rompue)
  • The Coming of Age (1970) [nonfiction]
  • All Said and Done (1972)
  • Old Age (1972) [nonfiction]
  • When Things of the Spirit Come First (1979) [novel]
  • Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre (1981)
  • Letters to Sartre (1990)
  • A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren (1998)
  • Philosophical Writings (2004)
  • Journal de guerre, Sept 1939 – Jan 1941 (1990); English – Wartime Diary (2009)
  • Diary of a Philosophy Student, 1926–27 (2006)
  • Cahiers de jeunesse, 1926–1930 (2008)
  • Inseparable (2020)

Biographies/Other works

  • Beauvoir and Sartre by Christine Daigle (Editor); Jacob Golomb (Editor)
  • Becoming Beauvoir by Kate Kirkpatrick
  • The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir by Claudia Card (Editor)
  • Découvrir Beauvoir by Alexandre Feron
  • Differences by Emily Anne Parker (Editor); Anne van Leeuwen (Editor)
  • The Existential Phenomenology of Simone de Beauvoir by Wendy O'Brien (Editor); Lester E. Embree (Editor)
  • Identity without selfhood : Simone de Beauvoir and bisexuality by Mariam Fraser
  • Mémoires / Simone de Beauvoir by édition publiée sous la direction de Jean-Louis Jeannelle et d'Éliane Lecarme-Tabone ; chronologie par Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
  • The prime of life : the autobiography of Simone de Beauvoir by Simone de Beauvoir; Peter Green (Translator); Toril Moi (Introduction by)
  • Sex, Love, and Letters by Judith G. Coffin
  • Simone de Beauvoir by Deirdre Bair
  • Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy of Age by Silvia Stoller (Editor)
  • Tête-à-Tête by Hazel Rowley
  • We Are Not Born Submissive by Manon Garcia

Selected translations

  • Patrick O'Brian was Beauvoir's principal English translator, until he attained commercial success as a novelist.
  • Beauvoir, Simone (1997), ""Introduction" to The Second Sex", in Nicholson, Linda (ed.), The second wave: a reader in feminist theory, New York: Routledge, pp. 11–18, ISBN 9780415917612.
  • Philosophical Writings (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004, edited by Margaret A. Simons et al.) contains a selection of essays by Beauvoir translated for the first time into English. Among those are: "Pyrrhus and Cineas", discussing the futility or utility of action, two previously unpublished chapters from her novel She Came to Stay and an introduction to The Ethics of Ambiguity.

See also



  1. ^ In this French name, the surname is Beauvoir.
  1. ^ O'Brien, Wendy, and Lester Embree (eds), The Existential Phenomenology of Simone de Beauvoir, Springer, 2013, p. 40.
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  3. ^ Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15255-6.
  4. ^ Pardina, María Teresa López (1994). "Simone de Beauvoir as Philosopher". Simone de Beauvoir Studies. 11: 5–12. doi:10.1163/25897616-01101002. ISSN 1063-2042. JSTOR 45173538.
  5. ^ Bergoffen, Debra; Burke, Megan (2021). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Simone de Beauvoir". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2021 ed.). Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  6. ^ Cohen, Patricia (26 September 1998). "Beauvoir Emerges From Sartre's Shadow; Some Even Dare to Call Her a . . . Philosopher". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bergoffen, Debra (16 August 2010). Zalta, Edward (ed.). "Simone de Beauvoir". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010 ed.). Stanford University. ISSN 1095-5054. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Simone de Beauvoir". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. 2023.
  9. ^ "Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée - Simone de Beauvoir". Babelio (in French). Retrieved 2 March 2023.
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  93. ^ Butler 1990, p. 112  'One is not born a woman.' Monique Wittig echoed that phrase in an article by the same name, published in Feminist Issues (1:1).
  94. ^ McCann, Carole Ruth; Kim, Seung-Kyung, eds. (2003). "25 One Is Not Born a Woman". Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. Psychology Press. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-415-93153-3. OCLC 465003710. As individuals as well we question 'woman', which for us, as for Simone de Beauvoir, is only a myth. She said: 'One is not born, but becomes a woman.'
  95. ^ Bell, Vikki (25 October 1999). Performativity & Belonging. Theory, Culture & Society. London: SAGE Publications. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7619-6523-7. OCLC 796008155. Moreover, Beauvoir's use of the term 'becoming' leads Butler to wonder further that '...if gender is something that one becomes – but can never be – then gender itself is a kind of becoming or activity, and that gender ought not to be conceived as a noun or a substantial thing or a static cultural marker, but rather as an incessant and repeated action of some sort.' Butler (1990) p. 12.

Further reading