Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy of Lived Experience: Literature and Metaphysics

Simone de Beauvoir developed her philosophy of lived experience as she actually wrote fiction. Hence Beauvoir should be placed among major philosophical novelists of the twentieth-century like Toni Morrison and Nadine Gordimer, and Beauvoir's theory of the metaphysical novel acknowledges multicultural traditions of story-telling and song which are not locked into the theoretical abstractions of the Greek philosophical tradition. In Simone de Beauvoir's Philosophy of Lived Experience, Eleanore Holveck presents Simone de Beauvoir's theory of literature and metaphysics, including its relationship to the philosophers Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Immanuel Kant, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre, with references to the literary tradition of Goethe, Maurice Barrès, Arthur Rimbaud, André Breton, and Paul Nizan. The book provides a detailed philosophical analysis of Beauvoir's early short stories and several major novels, including The Mandarins and L'invitée, from the point of view of "other" women who appear on the fringes of Beauvoir's fiction: shop girls, seamstresses, and prostitutes. Holveck applies Beauvoir's philosophy to her own lived experience as a working-class teenager who grew up in jazz clubs similar to those Beauvoir herself visited in New York and Chicago.

Eleanore Holveck is associate professor and former chair of the Philosophy Department at Duquesne University. She has written extensively on the philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir.

Holveck offers a nuanced reading of the influences on Beauvoir thought, a careful critique of contemporary discussions of her work, and an original interpretation of Beauvoir's literature both in itself and in its importance for bringing Beauvoir's category of the other to discussions of class and race. Holveck's voice is strong and clear . . . careful and respectful; best of all it is funny and ironic. This book is a pleasure to read. (Bergoffen, Debra )

"Holveck's project is both learned and daring, identifying many literary and philosophical allusions in Beauvoir's novels and challenging the philosophical status quo. I enjoyed it immensely. It is an invaluable resource for those interested in Beauvoir's philosophy and literary writings." (Simons, Peg )

Full eBooks: