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The Second Sex (Vintage Classics) Kindle Edition
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In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir posed questions many men, and women, had yet to ponder when the book was released in 1953. "One wonders if women still exist, if they will always exist, whether or not it is desirable that they should..." she says in this comprehensive treatise on women. She weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology and a host of other disciplines to show women's place in the world and to postulate on the power of sexuality. This is a powerful piece of writing in a time before "feminism" was even a phrase, much less a movement. --Christine Buttery
In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir posed questions many men, and women, had yet to ponder when the book was released in 1953. "One wonders if women still exist, if they will always exist, whether or not it is desirable that they should ...," she says in this comprehensive treatise on women. She weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to show women's place in the world and to postulate on the power of sexuality. This is a powerful piece of writing in a time before "feminism" was even a phrase, much less a movement.
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am 18. Juli 2000
I used this book to write my senior research paper in high school during academic 1964-65, along with Betty Friedan's magnum opus, then did not look at it again for 36 years. In the intervening years, I came to know Helen Wentz, the "American Quaker" who was one of Simone's pen-pals, and Nelson Algren but remained blissfully ignorant of the fact that Simone and Nelson were once lovers until recently. I happened upon a volume of Simone's memoirs, Force of Circumstance, decided to read them to research a project of mine and came away awed by her writing ability.Driven by the need to understand this complex woman, I decided to reread her favorite book. Yes, it is repetitive, but the story is that she wrote and researched it very quickly. Yes, it is dated. However, sometimes there is genius in stating the obvious. Freud's genius was in reminding the world that humans are composed of the conscious and the unconscious. We knew that: we simply had to be reminded of it. A more recent example of that kind of genius is Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel." Sometimes, genius consists in opening the debate. An example of that sort of genius was Henri Pirenne's work, which I believe is called "Charlemagne and Mohammed." Although it is generally held that Pirenne's speculations are wrong, in order to challenge them, generations of scholars discovered and rediscovered much about the Middle Ages. In The Second Sex the genius of Simone de Beauvoir was to state the obvious and to open the debate that led generations of scholars to learn and relearn much about women. As the 20th Century drew to a close and pundits began drawing lists of most influential people and books, Simone and The Second Sex appeared on all of the lists. It was well placed. The book needs to be read today not as history but as philosophy, argument and document. Where would we all be without it?
am 15. Februar 2000
The Second Sex was quite a risque undertaking for De Beauvoir at that time. Few feminist writers before then had challenged the status quo through such a massive attempt in depicting the female experience. It's certainly a fascinating read but, one has to cringe at De Beauvoir's naive attempt at generalizations. Her book is clearly only a depiction of females in the upper-crust of society, and negates social circumstance. Those familiar with the works of Sartre and other existentialists, will certainly recognize many of the ideas espoused in this book. It often reads like a 'who's who' of the french intelligentsia.
am 24. Januar 2000
Simone De Beauvoir's book is the starting-point for any study of feminist theory. As part of the existentialist school of thought, the book explores why woman is the Other in society. While a few sections of this book are horribly dated (e.g. Part II - History), De Beauvoir's mamoth work initiates almost every debate waged within feminist thought up to the present day. She tackles burning debates concerning woman's biology, motherhood, prostitution and more. She also is the first to discuss the many myths surrounding women which doom them to immanence - the object through whom the subject (man) fulfills himself.
am 7. September 1998
It's slow going, overflowing with ideas and arguments, and very rewarding. The Second Sex is an intelligent book, clear and logical. It is relevant to everybody, personally and socially, here and now at least as much as it was when it was first published.
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