Manual Simone de Beauvoir (Routledge Critical Thinkers)

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(PDF) An Analysis of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex | Kelly Long -

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Simone de Beauvoir Her Life and Philosophy

Simone de Beauvoir by Ursula Tidd. Slavoj Zizek by Tony Myers. Stuart Hall by James Procter. Theodor Adorno by Ross Wilson. Theorists of Modernist Poetry: T. This has meant that Beauvoir's influence — as both a feminist philosopher and a literary writer — on subsequent generations of literary writers, most notably Annie Ernaux, has tended to be somewhat underestimated. Fallaize's study, The Novels of Simone de Beauvoir , was the first of a new wave of feminist literary criticism which read Beauvoir's texts rigorously, unencumbered by the weight of projection or reductive desire to conflate the life with the work that had sometimes characterized Beauvoir criticism.

Beauvoir literary criticism has hence been reinvigorated by the renaissance of interest in her philosophical work. Nevertheless, there has been the attendant risk of reading her literary writings uniquely through a philosophical lens, thereby diminishing their aesthetic qualities. Scholars based in Scandinavia have significantly contributed in recent years to the renaissance in Beauvoir studies. Interestingly, this new translation sold 20, copies in a few months. In the United States, works by feminist philosophers such as Debra Bergoffen, Nancy Bauer and Fredrika Scarth have been valuable for their analyses of Beauvoir's method of existential phenomenology and her rewriting of the Cartesian subject from a feminist ethical perspective with its attendant ramifications as Scarth argues for community conceptions of otherness and difference.

Recent Paris-based conferences have facilitated the renaissance of interest in Beauvoir's work in France so that prominent theorists such as Kristeva have been able to revisit their dialogue with her thought in productive ways. Forthcoming and re-issued primary texts as well as numerous conferences and events planned to take place throughout will contribute towards keeping Beauvoir in the spotlight. To date, the translation is due to be published in , although it is unlikely to be the fully annotated scholarly edition which many scholars would consider essential. The new translation is nonetheless likely to be a considerable improvement on the Parshley text.

During , conferences and centennial events are planned in France, the UK, North America, China and elsewhere, which augurs well for the health of Beauvoir studies in the foreseeable future.

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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Simone de Beauvoir Studies Ursula Tidd.

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University of Manchester. To meet the conditions of the ethical, freedom must be used properly. It must, according to Beauvoir, embrace the ties that bind me to others and take up the appeal - an act whereby I call on others, in their freedom, to join me in bringing certain values, projects conditions into being.

The artist-writer embodies the ethical ideal in several respects. Her writing expresses the subjective passion that grounds the ethical life. It provides a view of the world in its material complexities-- complexities which may alienate me from my freedom or open me to my freedom. It provides visions of the future which as open and contingent avoid the mystifications that validate sacrificing the present for the future. It establishes the freedom of the other as the condition of mine, for the life of the artist-writer, like the ethical life requires the participation of others. The Ethics of Ambiguity does not avoid the question of violence.

Arguing that violence is sometimes necessary, she uses the example of the Nazi soldier, and arguing that to liberate the oppressed we may have to destroy the tyrants. Beauvoir recognizes that though it may be justified by the circumstances, violence is an assault on the other's freedom however misused and as such marks our failure to respect the "we" of our humanity. The Ethics of Ambiguity provides an analysis of our existential-ethical situation that joins a hard headed realism violence is a fact of our condition with demanding requirements.

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It is unique, however, in aligning this realism and these requirements, with the passion of generosity and a mood of joy. However counter intuitive it sounds, Beauvoir aligns seriousness with an evasion of freedom. Recalling her account of the spontaneous freedoms of intentionality we see how the thread of the argument leads to this conclusion. Looking back at The Ethics of Ambiguity , from the vantage point of her memoir The Force of Circumstance , Beauvoir criticizes it for being too abstract.

She does not repudiate the arguments of her text, but finds that it erred in trying to define morality independent of a social context. The Second Sex made be read as correcting this error -- as reworking and extending the analyses of The Ethics of Ambiguity. It marks the beginning of Beauvoir's commitment to the concrete. It also marks the point at which Beauvoir's thinking enters the arena of feminist philosophy.

Where Beauvoir's earlier works blurred the boundaries set up to separate the genres of philosophy and literature, her later writings blur the distinctions said to exist between the personal, the political and the philosophical. Now, Beauvoir takes herself, her situation, her embodiment and the situations and embodiments of those close to her, as the subjects of her philosophical reflections. Where The Ethics of Ambiguity conjured up images of ethical and unethical figures to make its arguments tangible, The Second Sex grounds its analyses in Beauvoir's experiences as a woman and in the concrete situations of other real women.

Where The Ethics of Ambiguity speaks of mystification in a general sense, The Second Sex speaks of the specific ways in which the natural and social sciences and the European literary, social, political and religious traditions have created a mystified world where impossible and conflicting ideals of femininity produce an ideology of women's "natural" inferiority to justify patriarchal dominations. Beauvoir's self criticism suggests that her later works mark a break with her earlier writings. We should, however, resist the temptation to take this notion of discontinuity too far.

Rather than thinking in terms of breaks it is more fruitful to see The Second Sex as a more radical commitment to the phenomenological insight that it is as embodied beings that we engage the world.

Simone de Beauvoir

Our access to, awareness of, and possibilities for world engagement cannot be considered absent consideration of the body. Before The Second Sex , the sexed body was not an object of phenomenological investigation. Beauvoir changed that. Her argument for sexual equality works in two directions. First, it exposes the ways in which patriarchy exploits the sexual difference to create systems of inequality.

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Second, it exposes as a patriarchal ploy Plato's seemingly liberatory argument in The Republic , that takes the premise that sex is an accidental quality to the conclusion that women and men are equally qualified to become members of the guardian class. So long as the standard of equality is the male body, the discriminatory sexual difference remains in play. It argues for women's equality, while insisting on the reality of the sexual difference. Beauvoir finds it unjust and immoral to use the sexual difference to exploit women.

She finds it un-phenomenological to ignore it. As a phenomenologist she is obliged to examine the ways in which women experience their bodies and to determine how these experiences are co-determined by what phenomenology calls the everyday attitude the common sense assumptions we unreflectively bring to our experience.