Synopses & Reviews
This triumphant and genuinely revolutionary book began as an exceptional woman's attempt to find out who and what she was. It ended up shocking, infuriating, and galvanizing millions of readers and dramatically revising the way women talk and think about themselves. Drawing on extensive interviews with women of every age and station of life, masterfully synthesizing research about women's bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles, The Second Sex is an encyclopedic and brilliantly argued document of inequality and enforced "otherness." Forty years later, it retains all of its vitality and passion, while confirming Simone de Beauvoir's stature as one of the most significant thinkers of the twentieth century.
"To take on this glorious and fantastic book is not like reading at all from the first sentence to the last, one has the sensation of playing some dreadfully exciting...game....What is so unbearably whirling is that the author too goes through this mad effort to include nearly every woman and attitude that has ever existed." Elizabeth Hardwick
"It is a truly magnificent book, even if sometimes irritating to a mere male." The New York Times Book Review
The classic manifesto of the liberated woman, this book explores every facet of a woman's life.
Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of “woman,” and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness. This long-awaited new edition reinstates significant portions of the original French text that were cut in the first English translation. Vital and groundbreaking, Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was sixty years ago, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come.
About the Author
Simone de Beauvoir
was born in Paris in 1908. She died in 1986.
Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, both American, are longtime residents of France and former teachers at the Institut dÉtudes Politiques in Paris.
Judith Thurman, author of Isak Dinesen and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, is a staff writer at The New Yorker.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Vintage Edition
Book One: Facts and Myths
Part One: Destiny
1. The Data of Biology
2. The Psychoanalytic Point of View
3. The Point of View of Historical Materialism
Part Two: History
4. The Nomads
5. Early Tillers of the Soil
6. Patriarchal Times and Classical Antiquity
7. Through the Middle Ages to 18th Century France
8. Since the French Revolution: the Job and the Vote
Part Three: Myths
9. Dreams, Fears, Idols
10. The Myth of Woman in Five Authors
a. Montherlant or the Bread of Disgust
b. D.H. Lawrence or Phallic Pride
c. Claudel and the Handmaid of the Lord
d. Breton or Poetry
e. Stendhal or the Romantic of Reality
11. Myth and Reality
Book Two: Woman's Life Today
Part Four: The Formative Years
13. The Young Girl
14. Sexual Initiation
15. The Lesbian
Part Five: Situation
16. The Married Woman
17. The Mother
18. Social Life
19. Prostitutes and Hetairas
20. From Maturity to Old Age
21. Woman's Situation and Character
Part Six: Justifications
22. The Narcissist
23. The Woman in Love
24. The Mystic
Part Seven: Toward Liberation
25. The Independent Woman