Beauvoir and The Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Margaret A. Simons
In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in "The Second Sex", Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir's wide-ranging contribution to 20th-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist exclusion of Beauvoir from the philosophihcal canon; reveals evidence that the African-American writer Richard Wright provided Beauvoir with the theoretical model of oppression that she used in "The Second Sex"; shows the influence of "The Second Sex" in transforming Sartre's philosophy and in laying the theoretical foundations of radical feminism; and addresses feminist issues of racism, motherhood and lesbian identity. Simons also draws on her experience as a Women's Liberation organizer as she witnessed how women used "The Second Sex" in defining the foundations of radical feminism. Bringing together her work as both activist and scholar, Simons offers a highly original contribution to the renaissance of Beauvoir scholarship.