BEAUVOIR Simon de—writer, student and life-long companion of J. P. Sartre, feminist activist, b. 1908 in Paris, d. 1986.
Simon de Beauvoir studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. In 1930 she began to study phenomenology with Husserl and Heidegger, and to study Kierkegaard’s existentialism. She was interested in the thought of Hegel and Marx (Marx’s early philosophy. In 1945 with J. P. Sartre and M. Merleau-Ponty she founded the literary, philosophical, and political journal “Les Temps Moderns”.
In her work she used existential principles from the philosophy of Sartre and analyzed the situation of women. According to her, a woman lives in a world in which men force her to choose the status of “Other”. Simon de Beauvoir stated that a woman often chooses the role of “Other” on her own, although she also recognizes that men bring about this situation. The struggle of women should be primarily measured out in the category of “Others”; women can gain their freedom by rejected the role they have accepted for themselves. Simon de Beauvoir was active in the Marxist movement, although her views bear the mark of liberalism.
De Beauvoir’s literary work includes novels: L’invitée (P 1943; Cudza krew [Foreign blood], Wwa 1963); Les mandarins (P 1954; Mandaryn, Wwa 1957); short stories—La femnme rompue (1967; Kobieta zawiedziona [Disappointed woman], Wwa 1989); essays—Le deuxième Sexe (1949; Druga płeć [The second gender], Kr 1972); La vieilesse (1970), and memoirs—Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée (P 1958; Pamiętnik statecznej panienki [Memoirs of a noble young woman], Wwa 1960); La force de l’âge (P 1960); W sile wieku [In the force of age], 1964); La force des choses (P 1963) and many pieces of journalism.
E. Schmalenbery, Das Todesverständnis bei Simone de Beauvoir, B 1972; T. Moi, Simon de Beauvoir: conflicts d’une intellectuelle, P 1995; K. Vintges, Philosophy as Passion. The Thinking of Simone de Beauvoir, Bloomington, Indianapolis 1996; S. Blackburn, Oksfordzki słowknik filozoficzny [Oxford philosophical dictionary], Wwa 1997, 44; Przewodnik po współczesnej filozofii politycznej [Guid for contemporary political philosophy], Wwa 1998, 81–82; The Pimilico History of Western Philosophy, Lo 1999, 730–733.