Study Guide

Simone de Beauvoir Files

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Simone de Beauvoir's Journal (Or, the Handful of Things I Don't Tell JPS)

Monday: Positively cringing about being interviewed. I've only written a handful of books (albeit The Second Sex is a monster). Said I'd do it anyway—for all women, blah blah.

Tuesday: Bought some new records. It's my favorite indulgence. Love spinning those LP's. iPods can go take a walk...

Wednesday: Peter Pan's better than the Bible any day. Picked up George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss at the bookstalls.

Listen to this: "I look at the full stream, the vivid grass, the delicate bright-green powder softening the outline of the great trunks and branches that gleam from under the bare purple boughs, I am in love with moistness, and envy the white ducks that are dipping their heads far into the water here among the withes, unmindful of the awkward appearance they make in the drier world above." The progress of the female narrator is something I can really get behind.

Thursday: Was compared to Virginia Woolf in a newspaper article today. Really? She's too literary for me in an obnoxious kind of way. Did like "A Room of One's Own," though. And I'll give VW this: she was a looker, but so lonely. Thumbs up to Mrs Dalloway and Orlando, but boo to The Waves. Love Colette, too, but why is she so taken up with the petty details of life… her little romances, household chores, laundry, pets. Snore.

Friday: Rereading Hemingway's short stories. Love! His writing is so lucid—even if his political stance was basically inadequate. Not buying his involvement in The Spanish Civil War (but For Whom the Bell Tolls is good). He really doesn't have commitment to a cause, and I'm definitely not down with that.

Saturday: Made dinner for JP. Sometimes I wonder why I do so much for him? We aren't married (and never will be, if I have it my way!), so why in the world do I do all the wifey work for him? (Will never forget scraping the mold off that steak during the war—ick!) Got some work done at his apartment and that felt good. We talked about writing and immortality. He actually thinks he is immortal. I just can't relate to that. He says his words mean he will live forever. I say words are mortal like the rest of us.

Sunday: Had drinks with girlfriends last night. Why are women so neurotic and fake? I know that's hater talk. I actually like these kinds of women better than the housewives and mothers, who are just plain boring. But what I really like is women who work and create. Do something.

Monday: Felt like a hypocrite checking my book sales today, but I need the royalty checks! It's not like feminist existentialists rake in the dough. I hate the whole social class thing though, and feel like I am just making it worse when I care so much about the benjamins. Only the rich can afford my books and yet my books are partly about how I can't stand the rich. Oh the irony.

Simone's Inbox

FROM: Simone de Beauvoir
TO: Gertrude Stein <>

SUBJECT: Your writing

Dear Gerty,

Hope you are good. And please give my best to Alice. Just read your new poems (very sexy) and have to hand it to you—you really have an equal relationship with Alice. Never mind what Old Hem says. I think he has the hots for you. ☺


FROM: Simone de Beauvoir
TO: Katherine Mansfield

SUBJECT: Book Review

Dear Katherine,

I hear you got huffy about my review of your latest book, so I wanted to clarify. I think you are a good writer, it's just that your female characters really bug me—all that fainting and those conniptions. Hate to say it, but they sort of need to man up. Just my two cents….

For what it's worth,

FROM: Simone de Beauvoir
TO: Isadora Duncan


Dear Izzy,

First, you rock. Was just reading your autobiography (My Life)—the photos are amazing. Your Greek tunic… the flowers in your hair… the flowing headscarves! You're a beauty to behold! You are a born muse. (Oops, my bad). Can't wait to see you.


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