Simone de Beauvoir: Encounters with Death

Marks, Elaine. Simone de Beauvoir: Encounters With Death. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1973.


Simone de Beauvoir is one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century and one of the most popular writers of her generation in France and abroad. Her significance and her popularity are intimately related. Simone de Beauvoir always writes about or around the major preoccupation of the modern sensibility, the preoccupation with death, and she does this in a manner that reaches a wide and varied audience.

The modern sensibility explicitly or implicitly involves the death of God. It comprehends both the feeling of emptiness at the heart of all things, more commonly referred to as the sense of the absurd, and a desperate need to fill the emptiness, more commonly referred to as commitment. Each of these domains has in its literary manifestations particular themes and modes of description.