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A Companion to Simone de Beauvoir

Laura Hengehold (Editor), Nancy Bauer (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-79602-3 October 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 552 Pages


Winner of the 2018 Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title!

The work of Simone de Beauvoir has endured and flowered in the last two decades, thanks primarily to the lasting influence of The Second Sex on the rise of academic discussions of gender, sexuality, and old age. Now, in this new Companion dedicated to her life and writings, an international assembly of prominent scholars, essayists, and leading interpreters reflect upon the range of Beauvoir’s contribution to philosophy as one of the great authors, thinkers, and public intellectuals of the twentieth century.

The Companion examines Beauvoir’s rich intellectual life from a variety of angles—including literary, historical, and anthropological perspectives—and situates her in relation to her forbears and contemporaries in the philosophical canon. Essays in each of four thematic sections reveal the breadth and acuity of her insight, from the significance of The Second Sex and her work on the metaphysics of gender to her plentiful contributions in ethics and political philosophy. Later chapters trace the relationship between Beauvoir’s philosophical and literary work and open up her scholarship to global issues, questions of race, and the legacy of colonialism and sexism. The volume concludes by considering her impact on contemporary feminist thought writ large, and features pioneering work from a new generation of Beauvoir scholars. 

Ambitious and unprecedented in scope, A Companion to Simone de Beauvoir is an accessible and interdisciplinary resource for students, teachers, and researchers across the humanities and social sciences.

Notes on Contributors ix

Acknowledgements xvii

Introduction 1
Laura Hengehold

Part I Rereading The Second Sex 13

A. Reception and scholarship 13

1 Beauvoir’s Transdisciplinarity: From Philosophy to Gender Theory 15
Stella Sandford

2 The Intellectual and Social Context of The Second Sex 28
Sandra Reineke

3 “The Limits of the Abject.” The Reception of Le Deuxième Sexe in 1949 37
Ingrid Galster

4 Simone de Beauvoir and the Race/Gender Analogy in The Second Sex Revisited 47
Kathryn T. Gines

5 Two English Translations of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex 59
Emily R. Grosholz

B. Central Themes 71

6 Beauvoir and the Biological Body 73
Ruth Groenhout

7 Becoming Bodies 87
Emily Anne Parker

8 The Drama of Independence: Narcissism, Childhood, and the Family Complexes 99
Emily Zakin

 9 The Second Sexuality: Training in the Work of Simone de Beauvoir and Michel Foucault 111
Mary Beth Mader

10 Beauvoir and the Ambiguities of Motherhood 122
Alison Stone

11 Laboring with Beauvoir: In Search of the Embodied Subject in Childbirth 134
Sara Cohen Shabot

12 Simone de Beauvoir on Motherhood and Destiny 146
Nancy Bauer

13 Love – According to Simone de Beauvoir 160
Tove Pettersen

14 Why is Woman the Other? 174
Tanella Boni

Part II Beauvoir’s Intellectual Engagements 185

15 Beauvoir and Hegel 187
Kimberly Hutchings

16 Simone de Beauvoir’s Relation to Hegel’s Absolute 198
Zeynep Direk

17 Beauvoir and Merleau]Ponty 211
Jennifer McWeeny

18 Beauvoir and Merleau]Ponty on Freedom and Authenticity 224
William Wilkerson

19 Beauvoir and the Marxism Question 236
Sonia Kruks

20 Beauvoir Between Structuralism and “Aleatory Materialism” 249
Eva D. Bahovec

21 Unweaving the Threads of Influence: Beauvoir and Sartre 260
Christine Daigle

Part III Beyond The Second Sex 271

A. Beauvoir’s Ethics and Political Philosophy 271

22 “Pyrrhus and Cineas”: The Conditions of a Meaningful Life 273
Kristana Arp

23 Separation and Queer Connection in The Ethics of Ambiguity 286
Laura Hengehold

24 Simone de Beauvoir on Violence and Politics 299
Lori J. Marso

25 Why Rape? Lessons from The Second Sex 311
Debra Bergoffen

26 Simone de Beauvoir, Women’s Oppression and Existential Freedom 325
Patricia Hill Collins

B. Beauvoir and the Art of Philosophical Fiction 339

27 Beauvoir as Literary Writer 341
Meryl Altman

28 Simone de Beauvoir and the Dialectic of Desire in L’invitée 356
Anne van Leeuwen

29 The Failure of Female Identity in Simone de Beauvoir’s Fiction 367
Shannon M. Mussett

30 The Power of Literature: Simone de Beauvoir’s Les Mandarins and the Metaphysical Novel 379
Sally J. Scholz

C. Beauvoir’s Scope: Memory, History, and Age 391

31 Beauvoir, Philosophy, and Autobiography 393
Margaret A. Simons

32 Witnessing Self, Witnessing Other in Beauvoir’s Life Writings 406
Ursula Tidd

33 Simone de Beauvoir: Women and Philosophy of History 418
Michel Kail

34 The Postwar World According to Beauvoir 429
William McBride

35 Afterlives: Beauvoir’s Old Age and the Intersections of The Second Sex 438
Penelope Deutscher

Part IV Beauvoir and Contemporary Feminism 449

36 Race after Beauvoir 451
Shannon Sullivan

37 Who Is the Subject of The Second Sex? Life, Science, and Transmasculine Embodiment in Beauvoir’s Chapter on Biology 463
A. Alexander Antonopoulos

38 Misunderstanding in Paris 478
Karen Vintges

39 Beauvoir’s Legacy to the Quartiers: The Changing Face of French Feminism 489
Diane Perpich

40 Second Languaging The Second Sex, Its Conceptual Genius: A Translingual Contemporization of “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient.” 500
Kyoo Lee

Index 514