Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

Simone de
Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir
1908
1986

French Writer, Public Intellectual, Political Activist, Feminist Theorist, Social Theorist and Existential Philosopher

Author Quotes

The people of former times... they're dead that's the only thing they have over the living but in their own day they were just as sickening. Picturesqueness: I don't fall for that not for one minute. Stinking filthy dirty washing cabbage-stalks what a pretentious fool you have to be to go into such ecstasies over that! And it's the same thing everywhere all the time whether they're stuffing themselves with chips paella or pizza it's the same crew a filthy crew the rich who trample over you the poor who hate you for your money the old who dodder the young who sneer the men who show off the women who open their legs. I'd rather stay at home reading a thriller although they've become so dreary nowadays. The telly too what a clapped-out set of fools! I was made for another planet altogether I mistook the way.

There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.

To show your true ability is always, in a sense, to surpass the limits of your ability, to go a little beyond them: to dare, to seek, to invent; it is at such a moment that new talents are revealed, discovered, and realized.

What would Prince Charming have for occupation if he had not to awaken the Sleeping Beauty?

The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands, since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.

There was once a man who lost his shadow. I forget what happened to him, but it was dreadful. As for me, I've lost my own image. I did not look at it often; but it was there, in the background, just as Maurice had drawn it for me. A straightforward, genuine, authentic woman, without mean-mindedness, uncompromising, but at the same time understanding, indulgent, sensitive, deeply feeling, intensely aware of things and of people, passionately devoted to those she loved and creating happiness for them. A fine life, serene, full, harmonious. It is dark: I cannot see myself anymore. And what do the others see? Maybe something hideous.

To will freedom and to will to disclose being are one and the same choice; hence, freedom takes a positive and constructive step which causes being to pass to existence in a movement which is constantly surpassed.

When an individual (or a group of individuals) is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he is inferior. But the significance of the verb to be must be rightly understood here; it is in bad faith to give it a static value when it really has the dynamic Hegelian sense of "to have become." Yes, women on the whole are today inferior to men; that is, their situation affords them fewer possibilities. The question is: should that state of affairs continue?

The proletariat could plan to massacre the whole ruling class; a fanatic Jew or black could dream of seizing the secret of the atomic bomb and turning all of humanity entirely Jewish or entirely black: but a woman could not even dream of exterminating males. The tie that binds her to her oppressors is unlike any other. The division of the sexes is a biological given, not a moment in human history. Their opposition took shape within an original Mitsein, and she has not broken it. The couple is a fundamental unit with the two halves riveted to each other: terristic of woman: she is the Other at the heart of a whole whose two components are necessary to each other.

There you are. The sight of the changing world is miraculous and heartbreaking, both at the same time.

Today the combat takes a different shape; instead of wishing to put man in a prison, woman endeavours to escape from one; she no longer seeks to drag him into the realms of immanence but to emerge, herself, into the light of transcendence.

When an individual is kept in a situation of inferiority, the fact is that he does become inferior.

The sin of smiling whilst Louise was weeping, the sin of shedding my own tears and not hers. The sin of being another being.

Therefore the misfortune which comes to man as a result of the fact that he was a child is that his freedom was first concealed from him and that all his life he will be nostalgic for the time when he did not know it's exigencies.

Today, however, we are having a hard time living because we are so bent on outwitting death.

When I was a child, when I was an adolescent, books saved me from despair: that convinced me that culture was the highest of values.

The way I approached a question, my habit of mind, the way I looked at things, what I took for granted - all this was myself and it did not seem to me that I could alter it.

There's something tragic about you. Your feeling for the absolute. You were made to believe in God and spend your life in a convent.

Tragedies are all right for a while: you are concerned, you are curious, you feel good. And then it gets repetitive, it doesn't advance, it grows dreadfully boring: it is so very boring, even for me.

When Sartre and I met not only did our backgrounds fuse, but also our solidity, our individual conviction that we were what we were made to be. In that framework we could not become rivals. Then, as the relationship between Sartre and me grew, I became convinced that I was irreplaceable in his life, and he in mine. In other words, we were totally secure in the knowledge that our relationship was also totally solid, again preordained, though, of course, we would have laughed at that word then. When you have such security it's easy not to be jealous. But had I thought that another woman played the same role as I did in Sartre's life, of course, I would have been jealous.

The whole world was nothing but an exile with no hope of a return.

They were walking side by side, but each was alone.

Try to stay a man amongst men ... There's no other hope for you.

When we abolish the slavery of half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy it implies, then the 'division' of humanity will reveal its genuine significance and the human couple will find its true form.

The word love has by no means the same sense for both sexes, and this is one cause of the serious misunderstandings that divide them.

Author Picture
First Name
Simone de
Last Name
Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir
Birth Date
1908
Death Date
1986
Bio

French Writer, Public Intellectual, Political Activist, Feminist Theorist, Social Theorist and Existential Philosopher