HomeContemporary receptions of the work of Simone de Beauvoir - France, Italy and Spain (1968-2018)

HomeContemporary receptions of the work of Simone de Beauvoir - France, Italy and Spain (1968-2018)

Contemporary receptions of the work of Simone de Beauvoir - France, Italy and Spain (1968-2018)

Les réceptions contemporaines de l’œuvre de Simone de Beauvoir : France, Italie et Espagne (1968-2018)

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Published on Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Lors de ce colloque consacré aux modalités de réception de l’œuvre de Simone de Beauvoir dans l’espace méditerranéen, nous souhaitons nous interroger sur l’actualité de ses travaux tant philosophiques que littéraires. Le Deuxième Sexe est un texte fondateur du féminisme, mais Mémoires d’une jeune fille rangée, La Force des choses ou La Force de l’âge ont eu un impact considérable sur les esprits, en France sans doute, mais aussi en Italie et en Espagne.


International Interdisciplinary Conference, 3-4 December 2018


1949 is a key date for all women, especially for those who experienced the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex as a revelation, halfway between an overwhelming awareness of the global condition of women and the duty of emancipation that this text-manifesto contains implicitly.

Nearly 70 years later, the surprise, the amazement and the questioning induced by the text still remain relevant. Simone de Beauvoir highlights, for the first time, the structural inequality that rules relationships between women and men by showing how much it emerged from an ideological and cultural system disguised by the use of artificial naturality.

Never before had women been considered singular subjects, able to speak and to assume the universal. Simone de Beauvoir reveals cruel truths: alterity negates women instead of recognizing them as fully fledged human beings. If they are only the other of men, they cannot take their place in the heart of humanity and are instead brushed aside and confined to the particular and the immanent.

For the first time, the differences between women and men were analysed as the product of historicized and masculine knowledge, always already culturally situated and socially determined. The sciences themselves contribute to maintaining the ancient hierarchy between women and men, by making the former the eternal auxiliaries of the latter. In this masterful and revolutionary text, nothing escapes a clear-headedness which lists uncompromisingly the forms of women’s subjugation.

Immediately available in several languages, its early reception across the Atlantic allowed American feminists to deploy in the Fifties the depth of their reflection around the stakes underlying this book. French society, however, was slow in the appropriation of this transgressive text, preferring, at the time of its publication, to conceal its lasting echo behind the violent witticisms of Mauriac, Camus, or Nimier.

Paradoxically, since the end of the 60s, this manifesto has lost, in France at least, a part of its subversiveness and has been trivialized by secularization. Anglo-Saxon researchers are still astonished by the lack of fortune of Simone de Beauvoir in France, and of The Second Sex in particular. In Italy, as early as 1949, the impact of this text was well understood. “Simone de Beauvoir, reproducing the entire history of women, from the myth to today’s incomplete emancipation, deploys all my limits in front of me”, as Marise Ferro, journalist and writer, wrote in the pages of the newspaper Milano-Sera in her article “Difficoltà d’esser donna”, “The difficulty of being a woman”. In Italy The Second Sex was translated in 1961, and in Spain it was published in 1999, after an Argentinean translation in 1952.

2018 seems to witness, however, a renewed interest in the thought and work of Simone de Beauvoir. Thus her biographical texts, like Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter or Force of Circumstance, have just been consecrated by their edition in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, alongside The Second Sex. Should we consider this recognition a consequence of the revival of feminist mobilization today, as shown by the #metoo movement - or a form of commemoration? Does the renewed availability in the editorial circuit of texts that have become "long sellers" already have an influence on the feminist debate? Has the distribution of Simone de Beauvoir to the general public caused to undermine the transgressive nature of her message?

On the occasion of this conference dedicated to the reception of the work of Simone de Beauvoir in the Mediterranean area, the focus will be placed on the relevance of the author’s philosophical and literary works today: The Second Sex is a fundamental essay for the feminist debate, but Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, Force of Circumstance and The Prime of Life have also had their impact in France - see for example the text by Bianca Lamblin entitled Mémoire d’une jeune fille dérangée, published in English in 1996 under the title, A Disgraceful Affair – and in Italy and Spain, too.

Several questions emerge around the problematic reception of the works written by the philosopher and writer: what were the history and the modalities of the translation of her works into English, Italian and Spanish? How were they received, particularly in the media? How has the construction of gender representations evolved since The Second Sex? What interpretation was given at the time and what interpretation do we give today of her production in intellectual and literary circles, in activist groups, in politics, and in the media? How did the French, Italian and Spanish feminist magazines endorse Simone de Beauvoir’s work? Was her work everywhere divided or partially underestimated according to the literary genres that she worked in, as it happened in France? How do social networks grasp her work today?

A transdisciplinary and transcultural approach will be particularly valued.

Submission Guidelines

To submit a proposal for a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words in English along with a brief biographical note (100 words) which includes your contact details and institutional affiliation, if any, to projet.exfem@gmail.com by September 15th, 2018. Submissions will be accepted in French, Italian, Spanish and English.

Accommodation costs (two nights) will be borne by the organization.

Selected papers will be included in a special issue.


  • Précision sur l'adresse exacte à venir
    Nice, France (06000)


  • Saturday, September 15, 2018

Attached files


  • Simone de Beauvoir, genre, féminismes


  • ExFem Projet
    courriel : projet [dot] exfem [at] gmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Magali Guaresi
    courriel : magali [dot] guaresi [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Contemporary receptions of the work of Simone de Beauvoir - France, Italy and Spain (1968-2018) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, https://doi.org/10.58079/10op

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