Simone de Beauvoir was one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, as a philosopher, feminist, novelist and author of the landmark work The Second Sex. Yet as Deirdre Bair shows in this definitive biography, de Beauvoir's remarkable life was dominated at every stage by another intellectual giant - Jean-Paul Sartre.
Born into the French Catholic aristocracy, de Beauvoir became the most notorious woman in France. Her scandalously unconventional relationship with Sartre and her dedication to his theories and his work is one of the most intriguing and contradictory aspects of her life. The two became, in de Beauvoir's own words, a writing couple; a unity that took priority over even her intensely passionate affair with American writer Nelson Algren. Indeed, Sartre is, as Deirdre Bair says, the secret sharer in this biography. The author spent almost a decade researching and writing Simone de Beauvoir, with the unqualified co-operation of her subject, and the book contains a tremendous amount of new material - much of it personal and intimate - that is central to a true understanding of de Beauvoir's decisions, choices, and work.
Captured with the same narrative flair, incisive commentary and sensitive detail that won her an award for Samuel Beckett, Deirdre Bair's magnificent portrait of a dramatic and important life will be one of the major literary events of 1990.