James Burns

James Burns

Happy Birthday Simone de Beauvoir

On this day in 1908 Simone de Beauvoir was born and we are pleased to see Google have decided to dedicate today's GoogleDoodle to her and thought we'd join in on the birthday celebrations for what would have been her 106th birthday. Because today of all days Simone de Beauvoir should be able to shake the "muse of Jean Paul Sartre" label as she is described in ABC.es

The philosopher, writer, editor, political activist and existentialist Simone de Beauvoir wrote groundbreaking books that should be on every feminist's book shelf. She researched and wrote her best known book 'The Second Sex' on the treatment of women throughout history in 18 months at the age of 38. It was placed by the Vatican on their list of prohibited booksif that doesn't pique your interest we don't know what will. 

As a child Simone was precociously clever, educated at a convent school her father said of her: "Simone thinks like a man!" She went on to study philosophy at the famous Sorbonne. There she met Jean-Paul Sartre who narrowly beat her at the extremely challenging agrégation exam. Simone placed second and at 21 become the youngest person ever to pass the exam. 

Simone began a life-long relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, refusing to marry or set up house with him. Instead both took and even shared lovers over time, becoming famous Parisian intellects and part of the city's cafe culture, regularly meeting other great minds of the time. On Sartre's death in 1980 she wrote 'Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre' an account of his last decade alive. 

It was in the 1970s that Simone became an active member of the women's liberation movement in France. Her name was one of the 343 listed in a 1971 manifesto in a bid to legalist abortion in France, featuring famous women who claimed to have had a termination. It became legal in 1974.  

In 1986 Simone contracted Pneumonia and died aged 78. She is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, next to Sartre. 

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