Beauvoir in Time


Beauvoir in Time situates Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex in the historical context of its writing and in later contexts of its international reception, from then till now. The book takes up three aspects of Beauvoir's work more recent feminists find embarrassing: "bad sex," "dated" views about lesbians, and intersections with race and class. Through close reading of Beauvoir's writing in many genres, alongside contemporaneous discourses (good and bad novels in French and English, outmoded psychoanalytic and sexological authorities, ethnographic surrealism, the writing of Richard Wright and Franz Fanon), and in light of her travels to the U.S. and China, the author uncovers insights more recent feminist methodologies obscure, showing that Beauvoir is still good to think with today.
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Meryl Altman studied Literature at Swarthmore and Columbia (Ph.D. 1988) and taught at DePauw University in Indiana. She has published on modernist American poetry and fiction, the history of sexuality, Sappho and classical reception, migrant domestic labor, and Beauvoir.
b>Introduction: Before We Said “We”

1 Unhappy Bodies: The Frigid Woman in The Second Sex
 1 A Passion for Frigidity?
 2 Who was Wilhelm Stekel?
 3 Stekel (and Freud) in The Second Sex
 4 Stekel par Lui-même
 5 What She Made of What He Made of Us
 6 The Trouble with Happy
 7 Misery, Agency, Ethics
 8 Therapy and Self-improvement
 9 Last Thoughts

2 Simone de Beauvoir and Lesbian Lived Experience
 1 Where the Lesbians Are
 2 Reading in Time
 3 The Time of Writing
 4 Between Gide and Proust
 5 Lesbian Reading
 6 L’invitée
 7 Conclusion

3 Nothing to Say about Race and Class?
 1 Beauvoir’s Trip to America, and What She Found There
 2 Materialist Analysis and Working Women’s Lives in The Second Sex
 3 Questions of Exclusion, Questions of Method: Women of Color Critiques
 4 “Others” and Analogies: Rereading the Introduction After Anna Julia Cooper
 5 Imaginary Dialogues: Anna Julia Cooper and Other Black Women Writers
 6 Spelman in Time: What Got Lost, And What Was Needed
 7 Different Legacies: From Audre Lorde to Judith Butler
 8 Beauvoir’s Other “Others”: Nation, Class, Colonialism
 9 Beauvoir’s Early Political Thinking and Pour une morale de l’ambiguïté 206
 10 Last Thoughts

4 Beauvoir and Blackness
 1 Two-Way Streets: Richard Wright, Psychology and Politics
 2 Lost in Translation
 3 Violence and Authenticity
 4 Surrealism's Paradoxical Legacy
 5 Surrealism and Politics: More Two-way Streets
 6 Who was Michel Leiris?
 7 Beauvoir and Surrealism: L’Invitée
 8 Myths and Travels
 9 Meanwhile, Back in New York…
 10 Beauvoir Reads America, America Reads Beauvoir
 11 Reading Beauvoir with Fanon
 12 Unflattering Portraits, New Ways to Live

5 The East is Real: Orientalism and Its Enemies
 1 Algeria Without Apology
 2 A Response to “Occidental Dreams”
 3 Harem Trouble
 4 Theories and Histories
 5 The Myth Itself, and Not the Thing
 6 Anti-Orientalism in The Second Sex: Plus Jamais Claudel
 7 Pour en finir avec Montherlant
 8 But We Know So Much More About This Now
 9 Harem Trouble 2.0: The Veil
 10 One Last Imaginary Dialogue, and Some Real Ones
 11 Last Thoughts

6 Beauvoir in China
 1 An Essay on China
 2 Reality-testing and Cold War Frames
 3 Orientalisms, Anti-orientalisms, Alternatives
 4 Last Thoughts: Dateline Beijing

Important to scholars of Beauvoir and existentialism, whether based in philosophy or literary studies, also accessible to those without specialized knowledge but interested in feminism in 20th century and today.
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