J S P Beauvoir and "The Second Sex": Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism. Margaret A. Simons. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999. Pp. 283. ISBN 0-8476-9256-6 hard cover, $25.95. One of the first things to strike me when reading Margaret A. Simons's book, Beauvoir and "The Second Sex": Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism, is how much it is a work about love and struggle. The book shows Simons's struggle to understand Beauvoir as an independent thinker, separate from Jean-Paul Sartre, and as a founder of feminist thought. Yet Simons recalls how Beauvoir obstructed that understanding by demanding that her work be understood as heavily influenced by Being and Nothingness (1943), and how the sexism of other philosophers and the mistranslations of Beauvoir's work have led to a valiant effort by Simons and contemporary Beauvoir scholars to correct and reinterpret Beauvoir. It has been and continues to be a struggle to get accurate translations of Beauvoir's work published and to have Beauvoir acknowledged as a founder of both existentialism and feminist theory. Simons's book provides an immensely valuable resource, for it chronicles debates about Beauvoir in the United States and, in doing so, it also
The Journal of Speculative Philosophy – Penn State University Press
Published: May 1, 2000
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