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40 Captivating Simone de Beauvoir Quotes

Last updated on Feb 21st, 2019

40 Captivating Simone de Beauvoir Quotes

Simone de Beauvoir, in full Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, (born January 9, 1908, Paris, France – died April 14, 1986, Paris, France) was a French writer, existentialist philosopher, and activist.

De Beauvoir wrote a rich corpus of writings including novels, essays, biographies, fiction, politics and social issues. Her most notable works are She Came to Stay (1943), The Prime of Life (1960), Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (1958), and The Mandarins (1954) for which she won the Prix Goncourt award.

She is primarily known for her novel The Second Sex (1949), which is considered a classic work of the modern feminist movement.

When she was 21, de Beauvoir met Jean-Paul Sartre with whom she had a lifelong relationship that shaped their lives.

1
I wanted all human life to be a pure, transparent freedom.The Blood Of Others (1945)
2
To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in one’s self.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part One: Formative Years, Chapter 2: The Girl,' The Second Sex (1949)
3
Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable.The Coming of Age (1970)
4
All oppression creates a state of war.'Conclusion,' The Second Sex (1949)
One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, compassion. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
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One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, compassion.The Coming of Age (1970)
6
In itself, female homosexuality is just as restricting as heterosexuality. The ideal thing would be to be able a love a woman just as well as a man, a human being pure and simple, without fear, without pressure, without obligations.After The Second Sex: Conversations with Simone De Beauvoir by Alice Schwarzer (1983)
7
That’s what I consider true generosity. You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.All Men are Mortal (1946)
8
I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth; and truth rewarded me.All Said and Done (1972)
9
Man today represents the positive and the neuter—that is, the male and the human being—while woman represents the negative, the female. Every time she behaves like a human being, she is declared to be identifying with the male.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part One: Formative Years, Chapter 4: The Lesbian,' The Second Sex (1949)
Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
10
Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.Force of Circumstance (1963)
11
There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life, and that is to go on pursuing ends that give our existence a meaning.The Coming of Age (1970)
12
[Man] He is attached to woman—or rather he attaches woman—not to take pleasure in her but to take pleasure in himself.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Three: Myths, Chapter 2: I. Montherlant or the Bread of Disgust,' The Second Sex (1949)
13
People are often advised to “prepare” for old age. But if this merely applies to setting aside money, choosing the place for retirement and laying on hobbies, we shall not be much the better for it when the day comes. It is far better not to think about it too much, but to live a fairly committed, fairly justified life so that one may go on in the same path even when all illusions have vanished and one’s zeal for life has died away.The Coming of Age (1970)
14
There is no other justification for present existence than its expansion toward an indefinitely open future.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Introduction,' The Second Sex (1949)
If you lives long enough, one sees that every victory sooner or later turns into a defeat. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
15
If you lives long enough, one sees that every victory sooner or later turns into a defeat.All Men Are Mortal (1946)
16
The day when it will be possible for the woman to love in her strength and not in her weakness, not to escape from herself but to find herself, not out of resignation but to affirm herself, love will become for her as for man the source of life and not a mortal danger.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part Three: Justifications, Chapter 12: The Woman in Love,' The Second Sex (1949)
17
There is only one good — to act according to the dictates of one’s conscience.All Men Are Mortal (1946)
18
To abstain from politics is in itself a political attitude.The Prime of Life (1961)
19
It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life’s parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.The Coming of Age (1970)
One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
20
One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part One: Formative Years, Chapter 1: Childhood,' The Second Sex (1949)
21
Oppression tries to defend itself by its utility. But we have seen that it is one of the lies of the serious mind to attempt to give the word “useful” an absolute meaning; nothing is useful if it is not useful to man; nothing is useful to man if the latter is not in a position to define his own ends and values, if he is not free.'Part III: The Positive Aspect of Ambiguity, Chapter 1: The Aesthetic Attitude,' The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)
22
The curse weighing on marriage is that individuals too often join together in their weakness and not in their strength, that each one asks of the other rather than finding pleasure in giving.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part Two: Situation, Chapter 6: The Mother,' The Second Sex (1949)
23
To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it’s hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody in the world, and is amenable to statistics.The Prime of Life (1961)
24
Without doubt it is more comfortable to endure blind bondage than to work for one’s liberation; the dead, too, are better suited to the earth than the living.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Three: Myths, Chapter 3,' The Second Sex (1949)
What is an adult? A child blown up by age. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
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What is an adult? A child blown up by age.The Woman Destroyed (1967)
26
In the face of an obstacle which it is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.'Part I: Ambiguity and Freedom,' The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)
27
Two separate beings, placed in different situations, confronting each other in their freedom, and seeking the justification of existence through each other, will always live an adventure full of risks and promises.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Three: Myths, Chapter 2: V. Stendhal or Romancing the Real,' The Second Sex (1949)
28
Even if one is neither vain nor self-obsessed, it is so extraordinary to be oneself – exactly oneself and no one else – and so unique, that it seems natural that one should also be unique for someone else.The Woman Destroyed (1967)
29
I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.The Coming of Age (1970)
The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and the outline for our projects. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
30
The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and the outline for our projects.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Two: History, Chapter 1: Biological Data,' The Second Sex (1949)
31
Capacities manifest themselves clearly only when they have been realized.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part One: Destiny, Chapter 1: Biological Data,' The Second Sex (1949)
32
It is not in giving life but in risking his life that man raises himself above the animal; this is why throughout humanity, superiority has been granted not to the sex that gives birth but to the one that kills.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part One: Destiny, Chapter 2,' The Second Sex (1949)
33
One is not born, but becomes, a genius.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Two: History, Chapter 5,' The Second Sex (1949)
34
There is an art to “catching a husband”: “keeping” him is a profession.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part Two: Situation, Chapter 5: The Married Woman,' The Second Sex (1949)
Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
35
Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.'Part III: The Positive Aspect of Ambiguity, Chapter 2: Freedom and Liberation,' The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947)
36
No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or more disdainful, than a man anxious about his own virility.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Introduction,' The Second Sex (1949)
37
The representation of the world as the world itself is the work of men; they describe it from a point of view that is their own and that they confound with the absolute truth.'Volume I: Facts and Myths, Part Three: Myths, Chapter 1,' The Second Sex (1949)
38
The word “love” has not at all the same meaning for both sexes, and this is a source of the grave misunderstandings that separate them.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part Three: Justifications, Chapter 12: The Woman in Love,' The Second Sex (1949)
39
Her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly.'Volume II: Lived Experience, Part Two: Situation, Chapter 10: Woman's Situation and Character,' The Second Sex (1949)
Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay. - Simone de Beauvoir Quotes
40
Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.After The Second Sex: Conversations with Simone De Beauvoir by Alice Schwarzer (1983)