by Simone de Beauvoir
translated by Anne Deing Cordero
edited by Margaret A. Simons and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
notes by Anne Deing Cordero
foreword by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
University of Illinois Press, 2021
Paper: 978-0-252-08596-3 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03377-3 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09718-8
Library of Congress Classification PQ2603.E362Z46715 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 848.91403


Provocative insights into Beauvoir's philosophical and personal development during wartime

Written from September 1939 to January 1941, Simone de Beauvoir’s Wartime Diary gives English readers unabridged access to a scandalous text that threatened to overturn traditional views of Beauvoir’s life and work.

Beauvoir's clandestine affair with Jacques Bost and sexual relationships with various young women challenge the conventional picture of Beauvoir as the devoted companion of Jean-Paul Sartre. At the same time, her account of completing her novel She Came to Stay at a time when Sartre had just begun Being and Nothingness questions the traditional view of Beauvoir’s novel as merely illustrating Sartre’s philosophy.

Wartime Diary also traces Beauvoir's philosophical transformation as she broke from the prewar solipsism of She Came to Stay in favor of the postwar political engagement of The Second Sex. Beauvoir's emerging existentialist ethics reflect the dramatic collective experiences of refugees fleeing German invasion and life under Nazi occupation. The evolution of her thought also reveals the courageous reaffirmation of her individuality in constructing a humanist ethics of freedom and solidarity.

This edition also features previously unpublished material, including her musings about consciousness and order, recommended reading lists, and notes on labor unions. In providing new insights into Beauvoir’s philosophical development, the Wartime Diary promises to rewrite a crucial chapter of Western philosophy and intellectual history.