This page features a collection of the best resources on Simone de Beauvoir. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on Beauvoir. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about her.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want an overview of Simone de Beauvoir:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Simone de Beauvoir. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 10,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Simone de Beauvoir:
“There are some thinkers who are, from the very beginning, unambiguously identified as philosophers (e.g., Plato). There are others whose philosophical place is forever contested (e.g., Nietzsche); and there are those who have gradually won the right to be admitted into the philosophical fold. Simone de Beauvoir is one of these belatedly acknowledged philosophers. Identifying herself as an author rather than as a philosopher and calling herself the midwife of Sartre’s existential ethics rather than a thinker in her own right, Beauvoir’s place in philosophy had to be won against her word. That place is now uncontested. The international conference celebrating the centennial of Beauvoir’s birth organized by Julia Kristeva is one of the more visible signs of Beauvoir’s growing influence and status. Her enduring contributions to the fields of ethics, politics, existentialism, phenomenology and feminist theory and her significance as an activist and public intellectual is now a matter of record. Unlike her status as a philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir’s position as a feminist theorist has never been in question. Controversial from the beginning, The Second Sex’s critique of patriarchy continues to challenge social, political and religious categories used to justify women’s inferior status. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Skye C Cleary’s article: Simone de Beauvoir’s political philosophy resonates today [1000 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the best books on Simone de Beauvoir.
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