Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman / Edition 2

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How did Simone de Beauvoir become Simone de Beauvoir, the leading feminist thinker and emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century? Toril Moi blends biography with literary criticism, feminist theory, and historical and social analysis, to provide a provocative and original account of Beauvoir's education and formation as an intellectual.

In a second edition of her landmark study of Simone de Beauvoir, published 100 years after Beauvoir's birth, Toril Moi provides a major new introduction discussing the recent publication of papers and letters by Beauvoir, including her letters to her lovers Jacques-Laurent Bost and Nelson Agren, and her student diaries from 1926/7.

Moving from the impact of educational institutions on Beauvoir to a representation of love, desire, and sexuality, Moi analyzes the conflicts and contradictions that shape intellectual women's lives, offering a new interpretation of Beauvoir's relationship to Sartre and to other women, and forging a new alliance between socio-historical and psychoanalytical perspectives.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Despite her life with Jean-Paul Sartre as his mistress and disciple, de Beauvoir developed into an ``emblematic'' figure of intellectual feminism at the dawn of the 20th-century women's movement. She transcended existentialist influences, especially in her nonfiction work, to discuss feminine character and role, which is the main theme in her writings. Moi (Duke Univ.) therefore describes her as the founder of materialist feminism. This mostly biographical study relies firsthand on characters, places, and documents relevant to de Beauvoir and her feminist thought in particular. Most sections of the book were previously published separately; thus, little material is unknown to the specialist. The philosophical analysis is accessible to the average reader, however. Recommended for women's studies collections and large academic libraries.-- Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.
From the Publisher
"Sympathetic and critical, Moi's impassioned study never loses sight of the difficulty of Beauvoir's intellectual and personal journey through her life, it will send its readers back to Beauvoir's writings with a new sense of political necessity and possibility for women."—Professor Jacqueline Rose, University of London

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "Review from previous edition This book makes us discover a Beauvoir analysed with sympathy but without complaisance. A worthy Beauvoir emerges: not the super-woman one so often hears about, but a complex, suffering woman who finds it hard to be different except in her jealousy and sorrow. But, what strength and what courage! She opened the way, and this book does her justice."—Julia Kristeva

UNEDITED UK REVIEW: "Sympathetic and critical, Moi's impassioned study never loses sight of the difficulty of Beauvoir's intellectual and personal journey through her life, it will send its readers back to Beauvoir's writings with a new sense of political necessity and possibility for women."—Professor Jacqueline Rose, University of London

"Thoroughly absorbing, this second edition of the most authoritative and comprehensive analysis of how Beauvoir became the emblematic intellectual woman of the 20th century is nothing less than brilliant...Moi blends biography, literary criticism, feminist theory, and social and historical analysis into an admirably clear work of impeccable scholarship...Essential." —Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199238729
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/14/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Toril Moi was born and raised in Norway, and worked in England in the 1980s, before moving to Duke University in 1989, where she is now the James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies. She is the author of numerous influential books on feminist theory. Her study of Ibsen, Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism was published to wide critical acclaim in 2006.

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Table of Contents


Key to Abbreviations

Simone de Beauvoir Today: Introduction to the 2008 Edition 1

Introduction 23

1 Second Only to Sartre 37

2 The Making of an Intellectual Woman 58

3 Politics and the Intellectual Woman: Cliches and Commonplaces in the Reception of Simone de Beauvoir 93

4 L'Invitee: An Existentialist Melodrama 115

5 Freedom and Flirtation: The Personal and the Philosophical in Sartre and Beauvoir 145

6 Ambiguous Women: Alienation and the Body in The Second Sex 168

7 Beauvoir's Utopia: The Politics of The Second Sex 198

8 The Scandal of Loneliness and Separation: The Writing of Depression 235

Afterword 270

Notes 275

Works Cited 319

Index 335

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