Thursday, January 10, 2008

Top 10 books by and about Simone de Beauvoir

Lisa Appignanesi is a writer, novelist and president of English PEN. Her new book, Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 comes out this spring in the US. Among her other books is the acclaimed family memoir, Losing the Dead. Her Simone de Beauvoir was honored with a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

She named her "top 10 books by and about Simone de Beauvoir" for the Guardian.

Her prefatory remarks, followed by one title on the list:
"I think I must have been around 18 when I first dipped into the pages of The Second Sex and was mesmerised by Simone de Beauvoir's terrifyingly lucid account of how one is not so much born, but rather becomes, a woman. Her judicious presence and bold intelligence have been with me ever since, not only in her many books. In a sense the very arc of her life gave us all permission: we could think for ourselves, be actors in the public sphere, and write across the genres - fiction, non-fiction and memoir...."

4. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
This first volume of de Beauvoir's autobiography is a vivid account of growing up female within the confines of a respectable bourgeois family in the early years of the 20th century. Simone's rebellion against a constricting faith and family, the psychological acumen de Beauvoir brings to her portrait of a girl who loves life and books and eventually men, makes this a classic in the genre.
Read more about Lisa Appignanesi's top 10 books by and about Simone de Beauvoir.

--Marshal Zeringue