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Beauvoir, Simone de

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


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

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de Beauvoir, Simone

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Beauvoir, Simone de


Born Jan. 9, 1908, in Paris. French writer.

Beauvoir graduated from the literary faculty at Paris and from 1931 to 1943 taught philosophy in lycées. In her first novel, She Came to Stay (1943), Beauvoir conveys the ideas of existentialism concerning the absurdity of the world and the incomprehensibility of man. In the novel The Blood of Others (1945) the individual personality is counterposed to society from the same viewpoints. However, Beauvoir leads her characters—members of the modern, individualistic intelligentsia—onto the path of social struggle within the ranks of the Resistance. Her novel The Mandarins (1954, Prix Goncourt) reflects more specifically the ideological and political life of postwar France, as well as the vacillations of part of the intelligentsia between bourgeois and communist ideas. She wrote the play The Useless Mouths (1945), the philosophical essay Pyrrhus and Cineas (1944), a book about the spiritual emancipation of women— The Second Sex (1949)—and the travel sketches America Day by Day (1948). In the second and third books of her autobiographical trilogy (the first was entitled Memories of a Dutiful Daughter, 1958), The Prime of Life (1960) and The Force of Circumstance (1963), Beauvoir, in describing her joint activity with J. P. Sartre and her doubts and searches, is essentially critically reexamining the ideas of existentialism.


Djamila Boupacha. Paris, 1962 (Written jointly with G. Halimi.)
La femme rompue. Paris, 1967.
In Russian translation:
Ochen’ legkaia smert’. [Moscow], 1968.
Prelestnye kartinki. [Moscow, 1968.]


Shkunaeva, I. D. Sovremennaia frantsuzskaia literatura. Moscow, 1961.
Evnina, E. M. Sovremennyi frantsuzskii roman. Moscow, 1962.
Gennari, G. Simone de Beauvoir. Paris [1959].
Jeanson, F. Simone de Beauvoir. Paris, [1966].
Julienne-Caffié, S. Simone de Beauvoir [Paris, 1966.] (Contains a bibliography.)
Gagnebin, L. Simone de Beauvoir ou le refus de l’indifférence. Paris, [1968].
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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.