I was flicking through the Guardian Review at the weekend and saw this great picture of Simone de Beauvoir. It's even better on the website, all saturated colour, so I thought I'd share it with you.
The piece it accompanies is all about women's writing: it's 50 years since de Beauvoir's famous "feminist" tome The Second Sex was published. I've not read this book, and I don't know if I ever will. I studied "women's literature" as a subsidiary course at university and, if I'm honest, it put me off the genre somewhat. I'm not much of a feminist, and I don't see why women's literature should be marked out when men's literature is not. It doesn't seem very equal or fair.
The other thing is that I've read three of de Beauvoir's works, and two I didn't like. It took me most of last summer to wade my way through The Mandarins (1954); it took part of this to decipher Une Mort Tres Douce (A Very Easy Death, 1964). Neither was all that enjoyable, although I loved Les Belles Images (1966), so you never can tell.
I can't give up on SDB just yet, as I'm constantly intrigued by her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, her position as a figurehead of French intellectualism and her importance in shaping the Existentialism movement (check this out for more on the far-reaching influences of that). Plus that is some very sharp coordination of lipstick to jacket going on there. Oh dear, what's a girl to do?