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    This is a new translation of Simone de Beauvoir's classic The Second Sex published (late last year) to mark the 60th anniversary of its original publication. Translators Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier have produced the first integral translation of the book, and have reinstated a third of the original work. If you've read The Second Sex before, well, you haven't! The old translation was a disgrace...

    Toril Moi has more at the LRB:

    However intensely Anglophone feminists debated The Second Sex, the [original] English translation, by H.M. Parshley, did not become an issue until 1983, when Margaret Simons, a professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, drew attention to it in her essay, The Silencing of Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir had offered Parshley no help; she was already hard at work on The Mandarins before he was half-way through his translation. Now Simons estimated that Parshley had cut at least 10 per cent of the original text, and showed that the most savage cuts affected Beauvoir's account of exceptional women in history. She also demonstrated that Parshley had made a hash of Beauvoir's philosophical vocabulary. After reading Simons's essay, Beauvoir replied: "I was dismayed to learn the extent to which Mr Parshley misrepresented me. I wish with all my heart that you will be able to publish a new translation of it..."

    The strength of Parshley's 57-year-old translation is that it is lively and readable. Parshley was, on all evidence, an excellent writer of English. When he understood the French, he usually found the right phrase and managed to convey nuances of irony and poetry. The most serious weaknesses are the unannounced cuts; but his complete lack of familiarity with Beauvoir's philosophical vocabulary and the deficiencies in his knowledge of French also undermine his version of the book (more...)

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