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Beauvoir, Simone.

Second Sex - Manuscript.


Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex:
Early Working Manuscript
Beauvoir, Simone. Essai de la Situation de la Femme [Le Deuxième Sexe]. Ca. late 1940s.
Ca. 192 manuscript pages on 97 leaves of graph paper and occasional thin unprinted writing paper, including cover; composed in blue and black ink; revisions throughout; 4to. leaf folded to make a cover to the body of the text. In a specially made morocco slipcase.
The working manuscript of Beavoir's seminal work on the oppression of women, showing her earliest thoughts on the text and her compositional process for the first of the two volumes, "Facts and Myths." (The second volume is on "Women's Life Today.") Beauvoir edited as she wrote, and then reviewed manuscript pages and revised further, adjusting language, deleting and adding text, and moving or removing entire lines, paragraphs and sections throughout. It appears that this round of manuscript was handed off to a typist: several words throughout are circled, perhaps for legibility.
A collation with the French first edition reveals a number of sections of text which were developed further before publication, substantially reworked, or omitted entirely. It also reveals that she decided to add a great amount of text - namely, the second volume, inspired by her time in America and based largely on her own experiences - before considering the manuscript complete. In this version titled "Essai sur la situation de la femme" ("Essay on the Situation of Women"), the text is broken down as follows (with leaf numbers and approximate page numbers):
Introduction: 6 hand-numbered leaves, 12 pages
Les Faits (the facts): 33 leaves, 66 pages hand-numbered 1-40.6 (several pages have
subnumbers, for example 40.1, 40.2, etc.) This section was worked into "Histoire" in the
published version.
Les Mythes (the myths): 56 leaves, 112 pages hand-numbered 41-108 (several pages have sub-numbers) Much of this became the final introduction. It concludes with a series of large X's, suggesting the end of the text. (Beauvoir's biographer Deirdre Bair wrote to us, "She was the kind of writer who always finished whatever part she was working on before starting another, so it makes common sense that she would have finished part I before going on to part II."
Addendum: 1 leaf, 1 page, no number
Cover sheet, including the title and two quotations - by Pythagoras and Poulain de la
De Beauvoir's papers are housed at the Paris National Library, where a later version of The Second Sex - still titled Essai sur la structure de la femme - is housed. That version, a combination of manuscript and typescript on 613 leaves totaling 734 pages of text (less pp. 39-66, apparently missing), is divided into two parts and is further broken down into nine chapters.
The final text as published is broken down as follows:
 Le deuxieme sexe I
Part I: Destin (destiny) (3 chapters)
Part II: Histoire (history) (5 sections)
Part III: Mythes (myths) (3 chapters, the second one broken down into 6 sections)
 Le deuxieme sexe II
  Part I: Formation (4 chapters)
  Part II: Situation (6 chapters)
  Part III: Justifications (3 chapters)
  Part IV: Vers la liberation (towards the liberation) (1 chapter)

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