in the Beauvoir scholarship world. First, a few reviews: check out Jennifer McWeeny’s account of the collection Differences: Reading Beauvoir and Irigaray (edited by Emily Parker and Anne van Leeuwen) here in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Sonia Kruks writes about Lori Marso’s Politics with Beauvoir: Freedom in the Encounter in Political Theory (July 2018). And there’s a very comprehensive, thoughtful review of the Blackwell Companion to Simone de Beauvoir by Rose Trappes (Universität Bielefeld) in Phenomenological Reviews, accessible here.
Other books to be aware of include Jonathan Webber’s Rethinking Existentialism (OUP), which puts Beauvoir front and center in arguing for the continuing relevance of an ethics rooted in freedom and authenticity; and Manon Garcia’s On ne nait pas soumise, on le devient, a Beauvoir-inspired investigation of female sexual subjectivity today in all its paradox. Too many new articles to mention them all! Among the more unusual, Alice Caffarel-Cayron has a linguistics-informed chapter about the Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée in a book called On Verbal Art ; and Screen (yes, *that Screen) has a piece by Lauren du Graf on “Cinema in the Eyes of Simone de Beauvoir” (Autumn 2018).
En France, the big occasion of the year was the long-delayed recognition of Beauvoir’s place in France’s literary firmament with the appearance of Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée in the Êditions de la Pléaide. It’s a beautiful and deeply scholarly two-volume edition undertaken by Jean-Louis Jeanelle and Éliane Lecarme-Tabone, with the collaboration of Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir and others. Truly a labor of love as well as a milestone in Beauvoir scholarship and reception.
Jean-Louis Jeanelle has also edited this collection,
which includes interventions from a number of our French colleagues, including Michèle le Doeuff and Pierre Bras, as well as some of Beauvoir’s early letters presented by Sylvie de Bon de Beauvoir. There are also special issues of Littérature and Self dedicated to the Mémoires. (The Cahiers de l’Herne volume on Beauvoir, which has some inédits and responses from contemporary writers as well as scholars, is not as new, but I only came across it this summer: it’s worth a look, and part of what seems (at least from where I sit) to be a happy sea-change in French attitudes toward Beauvoir’s legacy.
Meanwhile, I’ve been remiss in not acknowledging earlier the hospitality of the UK Sartre Society conference (Oxford, July 2018) toward Beauvoir’s thinking and those of us who study it. In addition to the keynote address by Sonia Kruks, “Simone de Beauvoir and the New Materialisms: Questioning the Posthuman Turn,” very interesting new work related to Beauvoir was presented by Chris Jung-chao Ma (“Merleau-Ponty, Existential Phenomenology, and Transgender Politics”), Fiona Gray (“Situating Women’s Experience of Pornography”) and Kate Kirkpatrick (“Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Biography”). Kate was on her way to the archives: she’s working on a new biography of Beauvoir herself. We also learned that Sarah Richmond’s new translation of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness is now available from Routledge; the “translator’s preface” might be of particular interest.
And then there was this, from the New York Times: “Tapping into the Feminine Wild (with help from Simone de Beauvoir).”
Make of it what you will.
I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. Please send me notes and thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Oh, and if you’re in Chicago right after New Year’s, please join us at the MLA Special Session, “Simone de Beauvoir’s Fiction: Questions of Privilege.”