New edition: Toril Moi on Simone de Beauvoir

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Toril Moi, Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman, 2nd Ed. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press 2009)

Oxford University Press is releasing this month, in paperback, the second edition of Toril Moi’s important study of Simone de Beauvoir, and we wanted to let our readers know. Below is the press’ description of this new edition:

  • New edition of Toril Moi’s landmark study of Simone de Beauvoir, leading feminist thinker and emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century
  • Essential reading for anyone with an interest Simone de Beauvoir – does justice both to her philosophical ideas and to the journey of her life
  • Through her analysis of Beauvoir’s life and work Moi shows how difficult it was – and is – for women to be taken seriously as intellectuals

New to this edition

  • Moi provides a major new introduction in which she discusses Beauvoir’s letters to her lovers Jacques-Laurent Bost and Nelson Algren, as well as her recently published student diaries from 1926/27, and brings her study up-to-date with recent developments in de Beauvoir studies

In Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman Toril Moi shows how Simone de Beauvoir became Simone de Beauvoir, the leading feminist thinker and emblematic intellectual woman of the twentieth century. Blending biography with literary criticism, feminist theory, and historical and social analysis, this book provides a completely original analysis of Beauvoir’s education and formation as an intellectual.

In The Second Sex, Beauvoir shows that we constantly make something of what the world tries to make of us. By reconstructing the social and political world in which Beauvoir became the author of The Second Sex, and by showing how Beauvoir reacted to the pressures of that world, Moi applies Beauvoir’s ideas to Beauvoir’s own life.

Ranging from an investigation of French educational institutions to reflections on the relationship between freedom and flirtation, this book uncovers the conflicts and difficulties of an intellectual woman in the middle of the twentieth century. Through her analysis of Beauvoir’s life and work Moi shows how difficult it was – and still is – for women to be taken seriously as intellectuals. Two major chapters on The Second Sex provide a theoretical and a political analysis of that epochal text. The last chapter turns to Beauvoir’s love life, her depressions and her fear of ageing.

In a major new introduction, Moi discusses Beauvoir’s letters to her lovers Jacques-Laurent Bost and Nelson Algren, as well as her recently published student diaries from 1926/27.

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