Sunday, May 3, 2009

Beauvoir & Sartre: The Riddle of Influence


Reading this at the moment. I loved Beauvoir's metaphysical novels but I loved The Second Sex (1949), her intro:
"For a long time I have hesitated to write a book on women. The subject is irritating, especially to women; and it is not new,"
she wasn't a self righteous feminist, but held a true humanist philosophy. Dorothy Parker:
"I cannot be just to books which treat women as women ... My idea is that all of us, men as well as women, should be regarded as human beings"
De Beauvoir again:
"In truth, to go for a walk with one’s eyes open is enough to demonstrate that humanity is divided into two classes of individuals whose clothes, faces, bodies, smiles, gaits, interests, and occupations are manifestly different".
I love the work of both Parker & de Beauvoir. I am getting off the point. But they're both good points.

(I love this image of the two of them, they were seen as such serious French scholars, it's great this moment was captured)
It is a really succinct study into how Beauvoir & Sartre shared ideas in a literary & philosophical sense, but what is interesting & harks back to my last point about the Second Sex is that SImone professed that "Sartre was the philosopher & I was the follower", personally and professionally. This new book explores that relationship. I'm not far in, not far enough to muse on it here yet.
So here's one of my favourite de Beauvoir quotes from her biography by Deirdre Bair, it's her ending sentence:
''Well I just don't give a damn. It's my life, and I lived it the way I wanted. I'm sorry to disappoint all the feminists, but you can say that it's too bad so many of them live only in theory instead of in real life. It's very messy in the real world."
She was awesome.

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