The Second Sex – Simon De Beauvoir


TRANSLATED BY Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier



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Why are so few women judges,
university presidents or newspaper editors ?

Why is equal pay for women still
several generations away?

The Second Sex is required reading for anyone who believes in equality.

Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote, ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, woman’. In this book she defines the situation of women, explodes the myths of femininity and highlights the limits to women’s freedom. She shatters our perceptions of the social relationship between men and women and argues that women’s economic independence is the key to their freedom.

Drawing on sociology, anthropology and biology, The Second Sex is a passionate and impotant book as relevant today as when it was first published in 1949.

In this acclaimed new translation Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier have produced the first integral translation, reinstating a fiift of the original work. This definitive edition includes a foreword by Sheila Rowbotham.

About the Author

Simone de Beauvoir was born in Paris in 1908.
In 1929 she became the youngest person ever to obtain the agrégation in philosophy at the Sorbonne. She taught at the lycées at Marseille and Rouen from 1931 to 1937, and later in Paris from 1938 to 1943. After the war, she emerged as one of the leaders of the existentialist movement, working with Jean-Paul Sartre on Les Temps Modernes. The Second Sex was publsihed in Paris in 1949. It was a ground-breaking, risqué book that became a runaway success. Selling 20,000 copies in it’s first week, the book earned it’s author both notoriety and admiration. Since then, The Second Sex has been translated into forty languages and had become a landmark in the history of feminism. Beauvoir was the author of many books, including the novel The Mandarin (1957) which was awarded the Prix Goncourt. She died in 1986.

Translators Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier are both graduates of Rutgers University, New Jersey and have lived, studied and worked in Paris for over forty years. They were faculty members of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and jointly authored and translated numerous works on subjects ranging from grammar and politics to art and social sciences.