I am oppressed if I am thrown into prison…
A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom must be denied. And it is not true that the recognition of the freedom of others limits my own freedom: to be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future; the existence of others as a freedom defines my situation and is even the condition of my own freedom. I am oppressed if I am thrown into prison, but not if I am kept from throwing my neighbor into prison.
— (The Ethics Of Ambiguity)
It was easier for me to think of a world without a creator than of a creator loaded with all the contradictions of the world.
— Simone de Beauvoir, Toward a Hidden God published in Time, 1966
The fact is that it is very rare for the infantile world to maintain itself beyond adolescence. From childhood on, flaws begin to be revealed in it. With astonishment, revolt and disrespect the child little by little asks himself, “Why must I act that way? What good is it? And what will happen if I act in another way?” He discovers his subjectivity; he discovers that of others. And when he arrives at the age of adolescence he begins to vacillate because he notices the contradictions among adults as well as their hesitations and weakness. Men stop appearing as if they were gods, and at the same time the adolescent discovers the human character of the reality about him. Language, customs, ethics, and values have their source in these uncertain creatures. The moment has come when he too is going to be called upon to participate in their operation; his acts weigh upon the earth as much as those of other men. He will have to choose and decide. It is comprehensible that it is hard for him to live this moment of his history, and this is doubtless the deepest reason for the crisis of adolescence; the individual must at last assume his subjectivity.
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity: Section II: Personal Freedom and Others.
Was Simone de Beauvoir beautiful? Francine Gray once described her look as “bleakly emancipated,” which sounds something like being ugly while wearing comfortable shoes. “De Beauvoir was remarkably unconcerned about her appearance and spent little time bothering with it,” says Hazel Rowley, the author of “Tête à Tête: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.” “She was a tough, athletic woman. She used to tramp through the hills around Marseilles wearing espadrilles and old, tattered clothing.” Insouciant is too dainty a word — she just didn’t care. Not if her overcoat was dumpy and too big, not if her native prints were too loud, not if her hair was swept up into a crazy-colored turban long after World War II ended and Parisian women could get their hair done again.
“She lived in an incredibly sexist society. Still, she was extremely critical of the woman who sees herself in the eyes of others as an object and doesn’t manage to rise above that,” says Rowley. “On the other hand, she writes in ‘The Second Sex,’ how difficult it is for a woman not to be an object.
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Her lifetime companion, Jean-Paul Sartre, the more conventional of this dazzling couple, proposed to “Castor” and was rejected with the comment that he was being “silly.” (The nickname Castor, French for “Beaver,” was inspired by Beauvoir’s prolific output and her compulsively disciplined work habits; she researched and wrote “The Second Sex” in a mere 14 months, while pursuing several other projects.)
— From the NYT’s Sunday Book Review
of the new translation of DeBeauvoir’s The Second Sex. (via nakednesstonight
The first English translation of “The Second Sex” in 60 years restores cuts from Simone de Beauvoir’s landmark study of women.
Two amazing men and an amazing woman in one room together…
Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Che Guevara <3
Sartre said of Guevara, that “he lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story and the story of the world ran parallel.”
Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir in 1977.
The book, “Tête-à-Tête,” by Hazel Rowley, was written with the cooperation of Beauvoir’s adopted daughter, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, who gave Ms. Rowley access to Sartre’s unpublished letters.