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Beauvoir, Simone de


Subject Literature

People Beauvoir, Simone de

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


(1908–86) French philosopher and novelist. Simone de Beauvoir was a pioneering feminist philosopher who has been justly called “the emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century” ( Moi, 1994 , p. 1). Her reputation, which is secure virtually everywhere but in France, rests largely on her prolific work as a writer and social activist. Her more than 25 books include works of philosophy: Pyrrhus et Cineas (1944), The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947), The Second Sex (1949); fiction: She Came to Stay (1943), The Mandarins (1954), The Woman Destroyed (1968); and memoirs: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958), The Prime of Life (1960), Force of Circumstance (1963), All Said and Done (1972) . Although she was unable to enter the Ecole Normale Supérieure, which did not grant full student status to women until 1927, Beauvoir first studied mathematics, classics, and literature, and then in 1929 passed the prestigious agrégation examination at the Sorbonne in philosophy. She was only the ninth woman ever to have passed that examination in philosophy and the youngest agrégée (man or woman) ever in that discipline. Furthermore, she received the second highest mark, the first that year going to Jean-Paul S artre , with whom she was to have a lifelong relationship. Despite the many obstacles she had to overcome or to circumvent in order to do philosophy and be an intellectual woman, it was ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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