Simone de Beauvoir

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Simone de Beauvoir. “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” she wrote in her best known and most influential work, The Second Sex, her exploration of what it means to be a woman in a world defined by men. Published in 1949, it was an immediate success with the thousands of women who bought it. Many male critics felt men came out of it rather badly. Beauvoir was born in 1908 to a high bourgeois family and it was perhaps her good fortune that her father lost his money when she was a girl. With no dowry, she pursued her education in Paris to get work and in a key exam to allow her to teach philosophy, came second only to Jean Paul Sartre. He was retaking. They became lovers and, for the rest of their lives together, intellectual sparring partners. Sartre concentrated on existentialist philosophy; Beauvoir explored that, and existentialist ethics, plus the novel and, increasingly in the decades up to her death in 1986, the situation of women in the world.

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  • Christina Howells 5 episodes
    Professor of French and Fellow of Wadham College at the University of Oxford
  • Margaret Atack No other episodes
    Professor of French at the University of Leeds
  • Ursula Tidd No other episodes
    Professor of Modern French Literature and Thought at the University of Manchester

Reading list

  • Simone de Beauvoir
    Lisa Appiganesi (London, 2005)
  • The Cambridge Companion to Existentialism
    Steven Crowell (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex: New Interdisciplinary Essays
    Ruth Evans (ed.) (Manchester University Press, 1998) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir: A Critical Reader
    Elizabeth Fallaize (Routledge, 1998) Google Books →
  • The Novels of Simone de Beauvoir
    Elizabeth Fallaize (Routledge, 1990) Google Books →
  • The Legacy of Simone de Beauvoir
    Emily R. Grosholz (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity
    Sonia Kruks (Oxford University Press, 2012) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman
    Toril Moi (Blackwell, 1994) Google Books →
  • What is a Woman, and Other Essays
    Toril Moi (Oxford University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir
    Ursula Tidd (Routledge Critical Thinker series, Routledge, 2004) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir
    Ursula Tidd (Reaktion Books 'critical lives' series, 2009) Google Books →
  • Simone de Beauvoir, Gender and Testimony
    Ursula Tidd (Cambridge University Press, 1999) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 305.42 (Women’s studies)

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