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Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was a French existentialist and feminist philosopher. She was the lifelong companion and lover of Jean-Paul Sarte, and many of her ideas influenced his works. De Beauvoir believed one is not born with any particular essence and is free to become anything. However, society imposes a meaning on each individual, and de Beauvoir interpreted this as the gender norms females must define themselves within or against. She ultimately wanted each individual, but particularly women, to recognize their inherent freedom and step out of the confines of society's limitations.
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir; translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier
Publication Date: 1949
One of her best-known books, The Second Sex deals with the treatment of women throughout history and is often regarded as a major work of feminist philosophy and the starting point of second-wave feminism.
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Publication Date: 2005
A superb autobiography by one of the great literary figures of the twentieth century, Simone de Beauvoir's Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter offers an intimate picture of growing up in a bourgeois French family, rebelling as an adolescent against the conventional expectations of her class, and striking out on her own with an intellectual and existential ambition exceedingly rare in a young woman in the 1920s. She vividly evokes her friendships, love interests, mentors, and the early days of the most important relationship of her life, with fellow student Jean-Paul Sartre, against the backdrop of a turbulent political time.