Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir was born in Paris in 1908. She took a degree in philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1929, and was placed second to Jean-Paul Satre, with whom her name was to be inextricably linked for the next fifty years. De Beauvoir taught in Marseille and Rouen during the 1930s and in Paris during the war. After Liberation she emerged as one of the leading figures of the existentialist movement and with Satre, Camus and many others, was to set the course of Left Bank intellectual life for many decades thereafter. Simone de Beauvoir ‘s first novel, She Came to Stay, was published in 1943. The book explored a woman’s quest for moral and intellectual self-determination, a theme that was to run throughout all her work. Author of six novels, de Beauvoir won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1954 for The Mandarins. The Second Sex, her classic account of the status and nature of women, was published in 1949; hugely influential, it confirmed de Beauvoir’s role as a pioneer in the development of post-war feminism. Her other writings include her four-volume autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, The Prime of Life, Force of Circumstance, All Said and Done, and a moving account of her relationship with her dying mother, A Very Easy Death. In her later years de Beauvoir was actively involved in many socialist and feminist causes, and in 1975 was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for ‘writers who have promoted the concept of individual liberty’. She died in 1986.

Books by Simone de Beauvoir