Becoming Beauvoir: A Life

Join us for a discussion with Kate Kirkpatrick around her ground-breaking biography Becoming Beauvoir: A Life (Bloomsbury), which draws on Simone de Beauvoir’s never-before-published diaries and letters, to tell the fascinating story of how this French philosopher, writer and iconic feminist became herself.

“One is not born a woman, but becomes one,” wrote Simone de Beauvoir. A symbol of liberated womanhood, Simone de Beauvoir’s unconventional relationships inspired and scandalized her generation. She won prestigious literary prizes and transformed the way we think about gender with The Second Sex. But despite her successes, she wondered if she had sold herself short. Her liaison with Jean-Paul Sartre has been billed as one of the most legendary love affairs of the twentieth century. But for Beauvoir it came at a cost: for decades she was dismissed as an unoriginal thinker who ‘applied’ Sartre’s ideas. In recent years, new material has come to light, revealing the ingenuity of Beauvoir’s own philosophy and the importance of other lovers in her life.

In English. Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.


Kate Kirkpatrick is lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Culture at King’s College London, UK. She is the author of several books on Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

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