Le Deuxième Sexe. Tome I. Les Faits et Les Mythes; Tome II. L'expérience Vécue.
BEAUVOIR Simone de (1949.)
£1250.00 [First Edition]
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FIRST EDITION OF THE SECOND SEX, ONE OF 2,000 NUMBERED COPIES.
First edition. Two volumes. 8vo (220 x 148 mm). 395, ; 577,  pp. Original black cloth with polychrome designs by Mario Prassinos, spines lettered in gilt (extremities lightly rubbed, otherwise near fine copies). One of 2,000 numbered copies on alfama Marais paper, from an edition of 2,150: Volume One numbered 1151, Volume Two numbered 1428. Paris, Gallimard.
First editions of both volumes of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; surely one of the most important and influential works of feminist philosophy. It provided much of the theoretical groundwork for the then burgeoning second-wave feminist movement. Most notably, it introduced the distinction between ‘sex’ and ’gender’, what would, arguably, become the movements guiding concept. Reflecting wider trends in early-twentieth-century French Hegelianism, Beauvoir reinterpreted Hegel’s master-slave dialectic and applied it to gendered power relations in human society. For Beauvoir, masculinity has always been perceived to constitute the positive norm in a way that has rendered women the ‘universal Other’, defined in relation to ‘man’ and thus a wholly negative ‘second sex’. It is in this sense that Beauvoir asserted that ’One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’.
Beauvoir’s formulation of ‘woman as Other’ has, in one way or another, influenced the vast majority of feminist philosophy to follow the publication of The Second Sex, directly informing diverse works from Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963) to Luce Irigaray’s This Sex Which Is Not One (1977).
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