"The Useless Mouths" and Other Literary Writings

"The Useless Mouths" and Other Literary Writings

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"The Useless Mouths" and Other Literary Writings brings to English-language readers literary writings--several previously unknown--by Simone de Beauvoir. Culled from sources including various American university collections, the works span decades of Beauvoir's career. Ranging from dramatic works and literary theory to radio broadcasts, they collectively reveal fresh insights into Beauvoir's writing process, personal life, and the honing of her philosophy. The volume begins with a new translation of the 1945 play "The Useless Mouths," written in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Other pieces were discovered after Beauvoir's death in 1986, such as the 1965 short novel Misunderstanding in Moscow, involving an elderly French couple who confront their fears of aging. Two additional previously unknown texts include the fragmentary "Notes for a Novel," which contains the seed of what she later would call "the problem of the Other," and a lecture on postwar French theater titled "Existential Theater." The collection notably includes the eagerly awaited translation of Beauvoir's contribution to a 1965 debate among Jean-Paul Sartre and other French writers and intellectuals, "What Can Literature Do?" Prefaces to well-known works such as Bluebeard and Other Fairy Tales, La B\u00e2tarde, and James Joyce in Paris: His Final Years are also available in English for the first time, alongside essays and other short articles. A landmark contribution to Beauvoir studies and French literary studies, the volume includes informative and engaging introductory essays by prominent and rising scholars. Contributors are Meryl Altman, Elizabeth Fallaize, Alison S. Fell, Sarah Gendron, Dennis A. Gilbert, Laura Hengehold, Eleanore Holveck, Terry Keefe, J. Debbie Mann, Frederick M. Morrison, Catherine Naji, Justine Sarrot, Liz Stanley, Ursula Tidd, and Veronique Zaytzeff.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 40.64mm | 839.14g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252036344
  • 9780252036347
  • 1,094,379

Table of contents

Foreword to the Beauvoir Series / Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir Acknowledgments; Introduction / Margaret A. Simons 1. The Useless Mouths (A Play) / Introduction by Liz Stanley and Catherine Naji; 2. Short Articles on Literature / Introduction by Elizabeth Fallaize; 3. Existentialist Theater / Introduction by Dennis A. Gilbert; 4. A Story I Used to Tell Myself / Introduction by Ursula Tidd; 5. A Preface to La Batarde by Violette Leduc / Introduction Alison S. Fell; 6. What Can Literature Do? / Introduction by Laura Hengehold; 7. Misunderstanding in Moscow / Introduction by Terry Keefe; 8. My Experience as a Writer / Introduction by Elizabeth Fallaize; 9. Short Prefaces to Literary Works / Introduction by Eleanore Holveck; 10. Notes for a Novel / Introduction by Meryl Altman Contributors
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Review quote

"This collection of previously untranslated pieces by Simone de Beauvoir makes available for the first time in English a variety of literary writings that are also of philosophical interest. As with previous volumes in the Beauvoir Series, "The Useless Mouths" and Other Literary Writings breaks new ground, and it will become indispensible to Beauvoir scholars."

--Claudia Card, author of Confronting Evils: Terrorism, Torture, Genocide "An impressive team of experts introduces the book's 10 pieces and thoroughly annotates them. . . . This book nicely puts the philosopher's work into an expanded context for nonspecialists."--Publishers Weekly
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About Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-86) was a French existentialist philosopher who employed a literary-philosophical method in her works, including Ethics of Ambiguity (1946) and The Second Sex (1949). Margaret A. Simons is Distinguished Research Professor Emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the author of Beauvoir and The Second Sex: Feminism, Race and the Origins of Existentialism. Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, adopted daughter and literary executor of Simone de Beauvoir, is the editor of Lettres a Sartre and many other works by Beauvoir. Marybeth Timmermann is a contributing translator and editor of Beauvoir's Philosophical Writings.
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Rating details

23 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 13% (3)
4 52% (12)
3 26% (6)
2 9% (2)
1 0% (0)
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