Friday, November 11, 2011

de Beauvoir

Yesterday I went to a lecture by Constance Borde and Shelia Malovany-Chevallier, the translators of the new unabridged English language version of Simon de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. It was amazing to hear how this long awaited and desired new translation came about, the logistics of how one translates an 800 page text and the critical reception of the work.

I own a 1988 copy of The Second Sex, as translated by H.M Parshley (a zoology professor), and I was unaware that he had taken out much of de Beauvoir's philosophical language, cut whole sentences and paragraphs and mistranslated key words and sections of the text. This new translation has been long overdue, but will enable the English language reading public (and scholars) to revisit and reconsider de Beauvoir's work in the light of the restored and reinstated text. Her work still seems as current and important now as it did when it was first published in 1949, and this new translation is certainly worth seeking out.

PS. If you can't get to a bookstore, the book is available in Australia from Borders online. It is $12.11 with free postage:


  1. WoW1 I have an old translation too! Great to hear that there's a new one and that it's truer to its original. Thanks for this Fiona! I'll be seeking it out. Kx

  2. A wonderful achievement. How remarkable that these two women have tirelessly reproduced the actual original, though so many, like myself, would always have assumed that the first English translation would have been correct. How wrong we were it seems.


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