Diary of a Philosophy Student

Volume 2, 1928-29
Author: Simone de Beauvoir
Translation by Barbara Klaw; Edited by Barbara Klaw, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, Margaret A. Simons, and Marybeth Timmermann
With the foundational feminist thinker as she accepts "the great adventure of being me"
Cloth – $48
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 02/23/2021
Cloth: 06/24/2019
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About the Book

"That’s when everything started," Simone de Beauvoir wrote in an entry dated July 8, 1929. On that day, her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre began. This second volume of Beauvoir's Diary of a Philosophy Student takes readers into smoky dorm rooms and inter-war Paris as it continues the feminist philosopher's coming-of-age story. Here are Beauvoir's famous sparring sessions with Sartre in the Luxembourg Gardens—teasing him while stoking her burgeoning intellectual strength. Here also are her friendships and academic challenges, the discovery of important future influences like Barrès and Hegel, and her early forays into formulating the problem of the Other.

In addition to the diary, the editors provide invaluable supplementary material. A trove of footnotes and endnotes elaborates on virtually every reference made by Beauvoir, offering an atlas of her knowledge and education while at the same time allowing readers to share her intellectual and cultural milieu. Translator and scholar Barbara Klaw also contributes an introduction on reading Beauvoir's diaries as a philosophy of self-help.

About the Author

Simone de Beauvoir (1908–86) was a French existentialist philosopher. Her works include Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) and The Second Sex (1949). Barbara Klaw (co-transcription, author of notes and annotations, and translator of this volume) is a professor emerita of French at Northern Kentucky University. She is the translator of Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 1, 1926–27, and author of Le Paris de Beauvoir. Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, adopted daughter and literary executor of Simone de Beauvoir, is the editor of Lettres à Sartre and other works by Beauvoir. Margaret A. Simons is Distinguished Research Professor Emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the author of Beauvoir and The Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism. Marybeth Timmermann is a contributing translator and editor of Philosophical Writings, "The Useless Mouths" and Other Literary Writings, and other works by Beauvoir. Klaw, Le Bon de Beauvoir, and Simons coedited Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 1, 1926–27

Also by this author

Philosophical Writings coverDiary of a Philosophy Student coverFeminist Writings cover


"Klaw's extensive notes are invaluable, not only in providing biographical background for Beauvoir's literary and philosophical references, but also for flagging difficulties in translation." --Choice

"Both volumes are strong and important contributions to feminist philosophy, not only in their themes but in significantly addressing these themes with reference to gendered human existence. I recommend them to anyone who is interested in understanding the making of a feminist philosopher, especially to early researchers working on Beauvoir, to undergraduates trying to understand philosophy, as well as to scholars seeking to understand Beauvoir and her philosophical themes." --Hypatia


"A fascinating text! Barbara Klaw's translation is consistently accurate as well as highly readable and the entire volume is essential for understanding how Beauvoir became Beauvoir."--Gerald J. Prince, author of A Grammar of Stories: An Introduction

"This is a truly remarkable book, and a significant contribution to Beauvoir scholarship. Barbara Klaw's excellent translation provides unique access to the formative years of one of the twentieth century's great philosophers, authors, and public intellectuals. Beauvoir's portrayals and reflections on her first meetings and conversations with Sartre, on family, love, friendship and everyday life in Paris—as well as her thoughts on the philosophical and literary texts that she studied—are all included in this fascinating book. This is mandatory reading for all striving to obtain an understanding of Beauvoir, her life, and her work."--Tove Pettersen, President of the International Simone de Beauvoir Society