The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 14, 2016

April 14, 1986

Simone  de Beauvoir, (January 9, 1908 to April 14, 1986)  famous as a feminist and intimate friend of Sartre's, filtered her ideas through the assumptions of French existentialism. These ideas are commonly conflated with those of Karl Jaspers who originated the term. Jaspers denies knowing anything about the French thinkers using this label, before the war, and sees no commonality with the ideas covered with the label on the French side. They, naturally, from an inferior perch, are less given to disowning Jaspers. 

Tenets of existentialism including the mechanism of mauvaise fois, the nauseating reality of the human condition (man flung into freedom), and the idea existence precedes essence are all thrown into question when you grasp that man is NOT free.  There is no reason to think de Beauvoir had any doubts about the conceptional vision of existentialism. She was a prolific writer and is respected within the feminist community. Her distress at aging is all I recall now from her most famous work:  Le Deuxième Sexe (1949; translation 1953). Or maybe it was The Coming of Age, (1960, trans. 1972) . Like Sartre she was given to whining.

Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography was written by Deirdre Bair (1990) and here we glimpse the place of animals in her life. Or lack of place. According to Bair,  Simone de Beauvoir "did not share" a love of animals (page 74.)

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