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Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter (Penguin Modern Classics)

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But neither Zaza nor Jacques are able to break free from yoke and expectations placed on the by bourgeois life. This is an outstanding memoir written by a woman who came to know herself, stepped away from the crowd, and put feelings together in prose meant to enlighten all. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.

Il mio primo moto fu uno slancio d'invidiosa ammirazione per quella bambina, più grande di me solo di un anno, e che la sapeva tanto più lunga di me.Je voyais dans l'image graphique l'exacte doublure du son qui lui correspondait: ils émanaient ensemble de la chose qu'ils exprimaient si bien que leur relation ne comportait aucun arbitraire. I was more interested in her life as an intellectually adventurous university student, but found the accounts of the inner torment and tumultuous mood swings she and her friends experienced exhausting (and indulgent). The short of it: From the opening pages I fell head over heels for Memoires d'une jeune fille rangée (translated into English as Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter but more literally "Memoirs of a well-behaved girl"), the first of four volumes in de Beauvoir's autobiography. Here's Simone listening to her parents' friends (my translation): Ils lisaient et ils parlaient de leurs lectures. Lo stesso ricordo può assumere diverse sfumature e che sia colpa del tempo che passa e deforma oppure del momento stesso in cui accade un episodio della vita e lo viviamo ognuno in maniera differente, beh, poco importa.

I am not so sure I can take this amount of details about the ups and downs of her relationship with Sartre. Simone de Beauvoir jumps on each evocation of her childhood to dissect it, explain it, and draw from it the substance of what will build her over the years. From now on, I'm going to take you under my wing," Sartre told me when he had brought me the news that I had passed (Sorbonne). As she is moving towards these things her desire for more and more freedom causes her a great deal of angst and her moods are rather extreme. Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here.

At night I would climb the steps to the Sacre-Coeur, and I would watch Paris, that futile oasis, scintillating in the wilderness of space. This balanced tone, combined with her stunning intelligence and existentialist insights, makes this volume easily one of my favorite reads of the year, if not of all time. In Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, de Beauvoir included travel stories, set pieces, metaphors, intimate portraits, philosophical musings, and desultory political comments as she described her early years, when she tried to “get other people interested in her soul. I’ve found it easier to allow for this by making small adjustments to my days: I get up a little earlier to have a half hour of reading just after waking up, I’ve indulged in bubble baths to allow myself a quiet evening with some time for reading, I’ve made sure to try and get to bed early enough to not be too exhausted to read at least a few pages before going to sleep. The title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, as Beauvoir was certainly not always a picture-perfect daughter: she isn’t shy to admit she was a brat who threw public tantrums and who was perfectly happy to make herself throw up rather than eat things she did not like.

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