Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism

Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism

by Margret A. Simons
     
 

In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir’s wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist…  See more details below

Overview

In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir’s wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist exclusion of Beauvoir from the philosophical canon; reveals evidence that the African-American writer Richard Wright provided Beauvoir with the theoretical model of oppression that she used in The Second Sex; shows the influence of The Second Sex in transforming Sartre's philosophy and in laying the theoretical foundations of radical feminism; and addresses feminist issues of racism, motherhood, and lesbian identity. Simons also draws on her experience as a Women’s Liberation organizer as she witnessed how women used The Second Sex in defining the foundations of radical feminism. Bringing together her work as both activist and scholar, Simons offers a highly original contribution to the renaissance of Beauvoir scholarship.

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Editorial Reviews

The Journal Of Speculative Philosophy
Simon's work has been and continues to be important in the overall understanding of Beauvoir as a philosopher. The significance of this book for Beauvoir scholarship is immense. The significance of this book for continental philosophy in the United States is remarkably great. Simons illustrates the complexity of Beauvoir's philosophy, banishes those who would silence Beauvoir, and brings out the lasting importance of her thought.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The best cutting-edge introduction to Beauvoir studies today.
— Carlin Romano
Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Beauvior and The Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism is an important contribution to a genealogy of feminist philosophy and a model for feminist philosophers in its thoughtfulness, fairness, and attention to detail. It chronicles a series of important discoveries and insightful analyses about Beauvior's work, and is likely to inspire more.
— Marguerite La Caze
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy
Simon's work has been and continues to be important in the overall understanding of Beauvoir as a philosopher. The significance of this book for Beauvoir scholarship is immense. The significance of this book for continental philosophy in the United States is remarkably great. Simons illustrates the complexity of Beauvoir's philosophy, banishes those who would silence Beauvoir, and brings out the lasting importance of her thought.
International Studies in Philosophy
In challenging Beauvoir's constructed identity, Simons, by taking up Beauvoir's demand to philosophize from lived experience, secures a place for both Beauvoir and herself within the lived realities of contemporary philosophical and feminist debate.
Linda Alcoff
In this book, Margaret Simons has done a critical service for philosophers and for feminists in filling out the story of Beauvoir's philosophy and contributions to the development of existentialism. Beauvoir's relationship with Richard Wright was an important aspect of her intellectual life that has been neglected by feminists for too long. And the early journal entries that Simons has uncovered to substantiate the claim that Beauvoir originated many key existential concepts are fascinating. Simons makes a carefully argued case without unwarranted extrapolations or hyperbole; in my mind, her arguments are decisive. Sartre certainly developed existentialism into a coherent theory, but it was Beauvoir's philosophical insights that made this theory the powerful influence it became. This book will become the classic work on this subject.
Jessica Benjamin
In this book Simons, long ago convinced of Beauvoir's influence on Satre and her importance as a philosopher in her own right, sums up over twenty years of feminist scholarship. She also amplifies our recognition of Beauvoir's involvement with the question of racial oppression. This is a valuable contribution indeed!
Debra B. Bergoffen
Simons opens a new chapter in Beauvoir scholarship; for her careful and considered readings of the newly discovered 1927 diary introduces us to the young Beauvoir taking up the project of becoming a philosopher and shows us that the roots of Beauvoir's distinct philosophical positions are laid in these early years.
Nancy Tuana
Beauvoir scholarship in the U.S. owes more to Peg Simons than to any other individual scholar. Her work remains at the leading edge of the recent 'recovery' of Beauvoir by providing new texts and contexts for understanding the emergence of her philosophy. This collection of essays reveals Simons' brilliance in providing nuanced readings of Beauvoir that richly situate her work within both the philosophical and the feminist traditions.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Carlin Romano
The best cutting-edge introduction to Beauvoir studies today.
Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy - Marguerite La Caze
Beauvior and The Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism is an important contribution to a genealogy of feminist philosophy and a model for feminist philosophers in its thoughtfulness, fairness, and attention to detail. It chronicles a series of important discoveries and insightful analyses about Beauvior's work, and is likely to inspire more.
Booknews
Simons (philosophy and women's studies program coordinator, Southern Illinois U.) analyzes the sources of Beauvoir's existential philosophy. Describing discoveries she made in Beauvoir's diary from 1927, she reveals evidence that African American writer Richard Wright provide Beauvoir with the model of oppression she used in , and shows the influence had on Sartre's philosophy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780847692569
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Linda Alcoff
This book will become the classic work on this subject.

Meet the Author

The author of numerous articles on Beauvoir, feminism, and philosophy, Margaret A. Simons is co-editor (with Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir) of a forthcoming series of English translations of all Beauvoir's philosophically significant texts. She teaches in the Department of Philosophical Studies at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

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