Simone de Beauvoir. Lectures actuelles et regards sur l’avenir / Simone de Beauvoir. Today’s readings and glances on the future
This collective volume gathers articles belonging to different fields of knowledge (Philosophy, Feminist studies, Gender studies, Literary studies, Biography studies, Reception studies, Law and Political studies). Readers will find in it research papers which propose new approaches on Simone de Beauvoir, and which lay stress on how the author’s thinking, work and life go on being a referent for our societies and for the future. This volume comes undoubtedly to enrich beauvoirian studies.
The metaphysical novel revisited
JO BOGAERTS University of Antwerp (Belgium)
While Simone de Beauvoir’s literary writings, philosophical works and feminist critiques have in depth been studied, her views as a literary theorist, as Toril Moi reminds us in a number of recent contributions have been somewhat neglected. Part of this state of affairs may be explained, as Ursula Tidd contends (2008), by the incongruity of existentialism and the poststructuralist trends that have dominated literary criticism since the 1960’s. Another explanation may be found in the predominance of the concept of a committed literature which Sartre most famously expounded in What is literature? (1948) and which has come to stand for the existentialist view on literature as such. However, despite the virtual lack of a sustained reading of Beauvoir’s literary views1 her contribution to literary theory has certainly not passed entirely unnoticed. On the contrary, Simons’ recently published Philosophical Writings (2004) and The Useless Mouths and Other Writings (2011) make all relevant theoretical reflections on literature available to an English speaking audience and a considerable number of articles has critically engaged these writings. Most important among Beauvoir’s reflections on literature is undoubtedly the concept of a metaphysical novel, which argues for a rethinking of the borders between literature and philosophy.
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