Simone de Beauvoir

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Simone Bertrand de Beauvoir

Birthplace: Paris, France
Death: Died in Paris, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Georges Bertrand De Beauvoir and Françoise Brasseur
Partner of Jean-Paul Sartre
Mother of <private> Le Bon
Sister of Henriette--Hélène de Beauvoir

Occupation: Femme de Lettres, philosophe
Managed by: Michael Joseph Gerst
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise "The Second Sex" , a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.

Simone de Beauvoir is also noted for her lifelong polyamorous relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. She was a French existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, and social theorist. She wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography in several volumes, and monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues.

Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir 1908 the eldest daughter of Georges Bertrand de Beauvoir, a legal secretary who once aspired to be an actor, and Françoise (née) Brasseur, a wealthy banker’s daughter and devout Catholic. Her younger sister, Hélène, a famous artist, was born two years later. Beauvoir herself was deeply religious as a child—at one point intending to become a nun—until a crisis of faith at age 14. She remained an atheist for the rest of her life.

Beauvoir was intellectually precocious from a young age, fueled by her father’s encouragement: he reportedly would boast, “Simone thinks like a man!” She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, writing her thesis on Leibniz for Léon Brunschvicg.

Although not officially enrolled, she sat in on courses at the École Normale Supérieure in preparation for the agrégation in philosophy, a highly competitive postgraduate examination which serves as a national ranking of students. It was while studying for the agrégation that she met École Normale students Sartre, Paul Nizan, and René Maheu. The jury for the agrégation narrowly awarded Sartre first place instead of Beauvoir, who placed second and, at age 21, was the youngest person ever to pass the exam.

She and Sartre became lifelong intellectual and romantic partners, although they both rejected monogamy. Beauvoir would subsequently have romantic relationships with both men and women, most notably including Jacques-Laurent Bost, Nelson Algren, and Claude Lanzmann.

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Simone de Beauvoir's Timeline

January 9, 1908
Paris, France
April 14, 1986
Age 78
Paris, France