Diary of a Philosophy Student
About the BookWritten between the age of eighteen and twenty-one, the entries in the third volume of Diary of a Philosophy Student take readers into Simone de Beauvoir’s thoughts while illuminating the people and ideas swirling around her. The pages offer rare insights into Beauvoir’s intellectual development; her early experiences with love, desire, and freedom; and relationships with friends like Élisabeth “Zaza” Lacoin and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. It also presents Beauvoir’s shocking account of Jean-Paul Sartre’s sexual assault of her during their first sexual encounter--a revelation certain to transform views of her life and philosophy.
In addition, the editors include a wealth of important supplementary material. Barbara Klaw provides a detailed consideration of the Diary’s role in the development of Beauvoir’s writing style by exploring her use of metanarrative and other literary techniques, part of a process of literary creation that saw Beauvoir use the notebooks to cultivate her talent. Margaret A. Simons’s essay places the assault by Sartre within an appraisal of Beauvoir’s complicated legacy for #MeToo while suggesting readers engage with the diary through the lens of trauma.
About the AuthorSimone de Beauvoir (1908–86) was a French existentialist philosopher. Her works include Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) and The Second Sex (1949). Barbara Klaw is a professor emerita of French at Northern Kentucky University. She is the translator of Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 2, 1928–29, 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 and other works by Beauvoir. Klaw, Le Bon de Beauvoir, and Simons coedited Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 1, 1926–27 and Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 2, 1928–29.
Praise for past volumes of the Diary
“This indispensable volume offers a panorama of Beauvoir's intellectual preoccupations. The translators and editors are to be applauded for producing such a valuable contribution to Beauvoir studies.”--French Studies
“This diary increases our admiration for Beauvoir's heroic determination to make something of herself. A precious document.”--Bookforum
“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.”--Tove Pettersen, President of the International Simone de Beauvoir Society