Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race and the Origins of Existentialism

Simons, Margaret. Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race and the Origins of Existentialism. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999.

From the publisher:

In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir’s philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on BeauvoirOs wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-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 philosophical 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.