Simone de Beauvoir in Relation to Howard Gardner's Model of Creativity

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When Simone de Beauvoir died in Paris in 1986, the wreath of obituaries almost universally spoke of her as the 'mother' of contemporary feminism and its major twentieth century theoretician. De Beauvoir, it was implied as much as stated, was the mother-figure to generations of women, a symbol of all that they could be, and a powerful demonstration of a life of freedom and autonomy (Evans 1).

This quotation by author Mary Evans effectively summarizes the powerful impact that Simone de Beauvoir had on both the evolution of feminism, and the literary world. For her efforts to heighten sexual equality through writing she was awarded the celebrated French prize "the Prix Goncourt" in 1954, and in 1974 she was given the Jerusalem Prize for leaders who have promoted the freedom of the individual. Her devotion to the rights of women and the principles of existentialism are materialized in her written works, political actions, and personal lifestyle, leaving behind a fascinating legacy in regard to the notion of creativity.

Simone de Beauvoir was born January 9, 1908. She was the first child of a white middle class Catholic family living in Paris; and her birth order was one of the key facilitator s of her early intellectual growth. She was followed by one sister; and given this position in the family, de Beauvoir was treated as a honorary son. Thus, during her early childhood she received much of the privileged attention normally reserved for males, which led to the keen development of de Beauvoir's intellectual capabilities. She once wrote, "Papa used to say with pride: Simone has a man's brain; she thinks like a man: she is man" (Okely 23). Hence, the absence of a brother in her life provided the foundation for the nourishing of he...

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...s and actions had on societies across the world remains undeniably recognizable today. Perhaps the power of her life's work flows from the fact that she lived what she believed and proclaimed. As writer Alice Schwarzer wrote, "In the darkness of the Fifties and Sixties, before new women's movement dawned, The Second Sex was like a secret code that we emerging women used to send messages to each other. And Simone de Beauvoir herself, her life and her work, was and is a symbol" (Okely 29).


1. Evans, Mary: Simone de Beauvoir, Sage Publications, London, 1996.

2. Keefe, Terry: Simone de Beauvoir - A Study of Her Writing, Harrap Limited, 1983.

3. Okely, Judith: Simone de Beauvoir, Virago Press, Limited, London, 1986.

4. Simons, Margaret: Feminist Interpretations of Simone de Beauvoir, The Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 1994.
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