Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When Simone de Beauvoir was three years old, she had her own calling cards which she carried in her own black velvet calling card bag.

When she was old enough to go to school, she was not allowed to talk to other girls at the school unless their mothers had exchanged formal calls at their homes.

When Simone de Beauvoir was an adult, there were periods of years when she went to the same cafe every day and worked writing for hours. People knew she was there and could come in and talk to her.

She sometimes, if she was on deadline, made an appointment to see the people who showed up later that day, or the next day.

*[added word depression] She was frequently available in the shared there. One of the rules of the societies where women formally called on each other was that they say little when the called. Many words, no meaning to upset the calm, or the depression. Simone de Beauvoir grew up to write big thick books filled with ideas backed with facts--for example, "The Second Sex" which was published in 1949 and helped a lot of women through the twenty-five years until ideas of women's value and oppression became noised about.

She got her facts from spending much time in Paris' libraries and from her willingness to talk to lots of kinds of people. She learned from the shared there and then taught the shared there something new.

Long before feminism became openly alive again in the nineteen seventies, "The Second Sex" was a way for women to talk about their lives. If a woman found another women who had read "The Second Sex" in the nineteen fifties, they had a lot to talk about to upset the calm, or the depression.

Simone De Beauvoir thought that the best thing to be was a philosopher. She thought that she wasn't smart enough to be a philosopher. Her lifelong partner, Jean Sartre, was a philosopher, and therefore, she thought better.

That seems sad that she thought that, but it's better for me as a reader. She wrote non-fiction that combined facts and ideas. I can read the fact/idea combination much better than straight ideas, or philosophy. She made herself more available to me by making a maybe wrong judgement about her smarts.
--information from "Simone de Beauvoir," the biograpy by Deidre Bair