Simone de Beauvoir, 1908

On this day in 1908, Simone Lucie-Ernestine-Marie-Bertrand de Beauvoir- or Simone de Beauvoir as she was later known- was born in Paris, France. De Beauvoir was a writer, feminist, intellectual, political activist, and existentialist philosopher, best known for her feminist text, Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex), which was about the oppression of women throughout history.

Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir was raised Catholic but later became an atheist and existentialist. At 21 years old, de Beauvoir went to the Sorbonne to study philosophy. In 1929, she graduated from the Sorbonne and met French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, with whom she had a lifelong relationship. The two never married because de Beauvoir did not agree with the social institution of marriage.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, 1963

Influenced by World War II, de Beauvoir became interested in the social and political issues of her age. Along with Sartre and a few of their contemporaries, she founded and edited Les Temps Modernes, a left-wing political journal, in 1945. In 1946, she published The Ethics of Ambiguity (Pour une morale de l’ambiguïté), an essay about existential ethics.

In 1949, she published The Second Sex in France, a feminist treatise so controversial it was banned by the Vatican. One of her most famous quotes from the work is:

One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.

The unabridged English translation of Le Deuxieme Sexe by Simone de Beauvoir.

De Beauvoir died in April 14, 1986 in Paris and shares a grave with partner Jean-Paul Sartre, who died six years before.

Simone de Beauvoir



9 thoughts on “Simone de Beauvoir, 1908

  1. Pingback: TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (1908) | euzicasa

  2. good print, easy to understand. I happened to watch Jean- Paul Sartre’s No Exit, and spent a long time trying to figure out what the sentence”Hell is other people”means. Anyway, I seem to have an interest in philosophy, especially existentialism. This is a short one for me to start with..

    • Philosophy and existentialism are definitely interesting! If you’re looking for an easily digestible book about philosophy, I would recommend Sophie’s World. It’s a novel about a girl who receives mysterious letters in the mail that teach her about philosophy.

      I read it last year and learned so much about history and philosophy without even realizing it!

      • I found myself lost in the process of thinking about the subject,strangers, ego, existentialism. Currently I was reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism.

        Well, thank you for recommending the book. I bought the Chinese version of it and finished it since I began my senior high school. Anyway, I was looking forward to buy an English version because I found there are always something missing in the books I read when translated into my mother language. Thanks anyway.

        I take great interest in English literature so I would very much in communicating with you later, if you are still intersted in what I talk about.

      • I know what you mean about translated books. I have read quite a few books translated into English from Spanish, French, and German. Some translations are better than others, but often some of the meaning is lost. I can only imagine how a book on philosophy might lose some of its meaning.

        I am just starting to learn more about philosophy as well. I am taking an interesting class on the “Theory of Knowledge” which contains philosophical elements.

        I love English literature too! I am definitely not an expert on the subject, but I enjoy reading very much.

      • Sorry for replying after such a long time, I was back home and could not get access to get online without VPN account.

        You mentioned that translations make the original work lose its real meaning sometimes.Currently I am still immerse myself in English literature, since I am an English major,so the lucky thing is that I can read in English so I try to buy books in original English instead of its translation version. So here’s a suggestion/joke,if you want to grab the real meaning of some of the philosophy works, learn the language used by the author.

        I’m glad that you like reading literature, and I’m sure you have more approach to get more meaningful books than I do. So grab the chance you have and read.

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