Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Wartime Diary

Wartime Diary

Translation and Notes by Anne Deing Cordero
Margaret A. Simons
Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
Foreword by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 368
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Wartime Diary
    Book Description:

    Written from September 1939 to January 1941, Simone de Beauvoir’s Wartime Diary gives English readers unabridged access to one of the scandalous texts that threaten to overturn traditional views of Beauvoir’s life and work. The account in Beauvoir’s Wartime Diary of her clandestine affair with Jacques Bost and sexual relationships with various young women challenges the conventional picture of Beauvoir as the devoted companion of Jean-Paul Sartre, just as her account of completing her novel She Came to Stay at a time when Sartre’s philosophy in Being and Nothingness was barely begun calls into question the traditional view of Beauvoir’s novel as merely illustrating Sartre’s philosophy. Most important, the Wartime Diary provides an exciting account of Beauvoir’s philosophical transformation from the prewar solipsism of She Came to Stay to the postwar political engagement of The Second Sex. Cast in the crucible of the Nazi Occupation, Beauvoir’s existentialist ethics reflects dramatic collective experiences, such as joining the tide of refugees fleeing the German invasion in June 1940, as well as the courageous reaffirmation of her individuality in constructing a humanist ethics of freedom and solidarity in January 1941. This edition also features previously unpublished material, including her musings about consciousness and order, recommended reading lists, and notes on labor unions.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.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09718-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword to the Beauvoir Series
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir

    It is my pleasure to honor the monumental work of research and publication that the Beauvoir Series represents, which was undertaken and brought to fruition by Margaret A. Simons and her team. These volumes of Simone de Beauvoir’s writings, concerning literature as well as philosophy and feminism, stretch from 1926 to 1979, that is to say, throughout almost her entire life. Some of them have been published before and are known, but they remain dispersed throughout time and space, in diverse editions, newspapers, or reviews. Other pieces were read by Beauvoir during conferences or radio programs and then lost from...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface to the French Edition
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir
    (pp. 1-36)
    Margaret A. Simons

    Simone de Beauvoir’s readers who saw a heterosexual ideal in her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre must have been dismayed by the 1990 French publication of herWartime Diary (as Journal de guerre) and Letters to Sartre (as Lettres à Sartre).Discovered after Beauvoir’s death in 1986 and edited for publication by her adopted daughter, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, Beauvoir’sWartime DiaryandLetters to Sartrerecount her sexual affairs with several young women. In Deirdre Bair’s authorized biography of Beauvoir, also published in 1990, Bair describes the young women in question as merely Beauvoir’s friends and reports that Beauvoir...

  7. NOTEBOOK 1 September 1 – October 4, 1939
    (pp. 37-87)

    I had breakfast at ten o’clock at Rey’s.† For the first time in many days I was in a really good mood as I felt my entire life around me all settled and happy. The newspapers printed Hitler’s demands without commentary or emphasis on the disquieting nature of the news. There was no talk of hope either. I didn’t know what to think. I went toward the Dôme with nothing to do, in a quandary. There were few customers. I had barely ordered my coffee when a waiter announced: “They’ve declared war on Poland.” One customer was readingParis-Midi.Others...

  8. NOTEBOOK 2 October 5 – November 14, 1939
    (pp. 88-155)

    I did not sleep well at all. Hope is a feeling difficult to sustain when it’s founded on such shaky ground—steps in the hallway and the light coming in through the transom kept me awake, but mostly my inner unrest. I was anxious to get back to Paris, though I really didn’t know why.

    I got up at six o’clock. I had something to eat and drink at the station and took the train at seven in the company of three plump nuns. The weather was nice. The countryside flew past, flat and golden. We passed Chartres—I could...

  9. NOTEBOOK 3 November 15 – December 25, 1939
    (pp. 156-205)

    I left my room after seven at night to meet Kos. at Montmartre. It was dark on place Pigalle and the boulevards. The upstairs of the Dupont was closed, and Kos. was waiting for me downstairs. She felt quite at ease having just attended Dullin’s class, where she found herself in familiar surroundings from last year, her friends—she talked to me about Vallon, for example, whose “friend” had been drafted and who was lamenting her lover’s absence like a wife while knitting sweaters. We had dinner in a little Italian restaurant on rue Fontaine; its clientele included blacks, poor...

  10. NOTEBOOK 4 December 26, 1939 – January 19, 1940
    (pp. 206-232)

    Watched another beautiful sunrise this morning from my bed—breakfast, read inVerdun—the whole beginning of the book, the start of the offensive and the move of the men toward Verdun, is excellent. We left at half past eight for the Montjoux, from where we took the ski lift, then down the slopes to Megève until the cable car, from there on foot to the Tour. Skied down the Tour. It was all very mediocre skiing, true, the snow was hard, but it was still a far cry from what it was last year. We walked through Megève. There...

  11. NOTEBOOK 5 January 20 – February 23, 1940
    (pp. 233-269)

    Lycée—at the Dôme from eleven to a quarter past one, but the cold was so intense that I ate lunch and continued to work at the Coupole. I returned to the Dôme for a hot toddy and to wait for Sorokine, who showed up at five o’clock sharp and immediately tensed up, tapping her glass, because the moments when we are not definitively settled in seem lost to her. We went to the Nordland. It was cold on the streets, a damp and gray cold—I was tired and felt a cold coming on. I drank a punch and...

  12. NOTEBOOK 6 June 9 – July 18, 1940
    (pp. 270-314)

    “Inasmuch as it is the other who acts, each consciousness pursues thedeathof the other. . . . The relation of the two self-consciousnesses is therefore determined as follows: They experience themselves and each other through a struggle to death.They cannot avoid this struggle since they are forced to raise their certainty of self to the level of truth,their certainty of existing for itself; they each must experience this certainty in themselves and in the other.” Hegel.

    “Each self consciousness must pursue the death of the other since it risks its own life in the process, since...

  13. NOTEBOOK 7 September 20, 1940 – January 29, 1941
    (pp. 315-328)

    This is a letter that I’m starting for you—perhaps you’ll have it a year from now. I’m writing to you because I’m finished waiting for you—now I know that you won’t appear from behind Balzac’s statue.* I waited so long for you—you would wear your blue uniform¹ and your soldier’s cap, a haversack across your shoulders, and often, I don’t know why, you would appear on a bicycle. I would look so intensely that once or twice I trulybelievedthat you were going to materialize and cross the square, in flesh and blood. It even happened...

  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 329-332)
  15. Index
    (pp. 333-350)
  16. Contributors
    (pp. 351-352)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 353-354)