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After the War

  • Lorna Sage
Chapter

Abstract

Feminism was over. When Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex heaped up all the anthropological-philosophical-sociological-psychological evidence on the dependence and Other-ness of women, she was researching a vanishing race: ‘…already some of us have never had to sense in our femininity an inconvenience or an obstacle’.1 She stood at the end of a century and a half’s romantic enlightenment, a human individual (almost) at last. In theory, she would have been horrified at the thought that she heralded yet another era of self-consciousness and polemic on the part of women writers. Actually, of course, as The Second Sex testifies, she found a new world among the horrors. And it’s this fertile contradiction — between her yearning towards universality, and her fascinated reflexiveness — that makes her the inevitable starting-point for a study of contemporary women novelists.

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Notes

Simone de Beauvoir

  1. 1.
    Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, (Le Deuxième Sexe, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1949) tr. H. M. Parshley, 1953, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972, p. 27.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jean Leighton, Simone de Beauvoir on Women, London: Associated University Presses Inc., 1975, p. 184n.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Quoted in Deirdre Bair, Simone de Beauvoir, A Biography, London: Jonathan Cape, 1990, p. 514.Google Scholar
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    Leslie Dick, ‘Feminism, Writing, Postmodernism’ in Prom my Guy to Sci-Fi ed. Helen Carr, London: Pandora Press, 1989, pp. 204–14, p. 211.Google Scholar
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    Simone de Beauvoir, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, (Memoires d’une Jeune Fille Rangée, Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1958), tr. James Kirkup, 1959, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963, p. 345.Google Scholar
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    Simone de Beauvoir, The Prime of Life, (La Force de l’Âge, Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1960), tr. Peter Green, 1962, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965, p. 25.Google Scholar
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    Simone de Beauvoir, She Came to Stay, (L’Invitée, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1943), tr. Yvonne Moyse and Roger Senhouse, 1949, Fontana/Collins, 1975, p. 54.Google Scholar
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    Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology (L’Être et le Néant, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1943) tr. Hazel E. Barnes, 1958, London: Methuen, 1969, pp. 55–6.Google Scholar
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    Hazel E. Barnes, The Literature of Possibility: A Study in Humanistic Existentialism (University of Nebraska Press, 1959), London: Tavistock Publications, 1961, p. 52n.Google Scholar
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    Simone de Beauvoir, The Mandarins, (Les Mandarins, Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1954) tr. Leonard M. Friedman 1957, Fontana/Collins 1960, p. 238, p. 240.Google Scholar
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    Simone de Beauvoir, All Said and Done (Tout Compte Fait, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1972) tr. Patrick O’Brian, 1974, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977, p. 491.Google Scholar

Doris Lessing

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    Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (1962), Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964, p. 237.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, Martha Quest (1952), St. Albans: Panther, 1966, p. 56.Google Scholar
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    Georg Lukács, Studies in European Realism, London: Merlin Press, 1950, p. 18.Google Scholar
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    Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution (1961), Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965, p. 278. p. 287.Google Scholar
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    For a fuller treatment of this topic see Lorna Sage, Doris Lessing, London and New York: Methuen, 1983, especially pp. 30–48.Google Scholar
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    Nicole Ward Jouve, ‘Of Mud and Other Matter: The Children of Violence’, in Jenny Taylor (ed.), Notebooks/Memoirs/Archives: Reading and Rereading Doris Lessing, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982, pp. 75–134, p. 126.Google Scholar
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    Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero (1953), New York: Hill and Wang 1977, p. 37.Google Scholar
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    Florence Howe, ‘A Conversation with Doris Lessing (1966)’, Contemporary Literature, 14, 4, (1973), pp. 418–36, pp. 425-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, ‘The Small Personal Voice’ (1957), A Small Personal Voice, ed. Paul Schlueter, New York: Knopf, 1974, pp. 3–21, 20-21.Google Scholar
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    Michel Foucault, ‘What is an Author?’ (1969), in J. V. Harari (ed.), Textual Strategies, London: Methuen, 1979, pp. 141–60, p. 144.Google Scholar
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    Margaret Drabble, ‘Doris Lessing: Cassandra in a World Under Siege’, Ramparts, 10, 1972, pp. 50–4.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, The Four-Gated City (1969), St. Albans: Panther, 1972, p. 528.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, The Memoirs of a Survivor, London: Octagon Press, 1974, p. 19.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire, London: Jonathan Cape, 1983, p. 32.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, The Sirian Experiments (1981), St. Albans: Panther, 1982, p. 80.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (1982), St. Albans: Panther, 1983, p. 80.Google Scholar
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    Doris Lessing, Shikasta (1979), St Albans: Panther, 1982, p. 101.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    Michel Foucault, op. cit., p. 144. For a slightly fuller version of this reading of Lessing’s’ science fiction’ novels, see Lorna Sage, ‘The Available Space’ in Moira Monteith (ed.), Women’s Writing: A Challenge to Theory, Sussex: Harvester Press, 1986, pp. 15–33.Google Scholar

Nathalie Sarraute

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    Simone de Beauvoir, The Force of Circumstance, (La Force des Choses, Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1963), tr. Richard Howard, 1965, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968, p. 27.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, Foreword to Tropisms and The Age of Suspicion, (Tropismes, Paris: Denoel, 1939; L’Êre du soupçon, Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1956), tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars 1963, p. 8.Google Scholar
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    Jean-Paul Sartre, Preface to Nathalie Sarraute, Portrait of a Man Unknown (Portrait d’un Inconnu, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1948), tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars, 1959, p. xi.Google Scholar
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    Susan M. Bell, in Sarraute: ‘Portrait d’un Inconnu’ and ‘Vous Les Entendez?’, London: Grant and Cutler, 1988, p. 16Google Scholar
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    Gretchen Rous Besser, Nathalie Sarraute, Boston: Hall/Twayne’s World Authors Series, 1979, p. 170.Google Scholar
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    Sarraute, ‘Les Deux Réalités’, Esprit, No. 329, (July 1964), p. 74.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, The Golden Fruits, (Les Fruits d’Or, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1963), tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars, 1965, pp. 140–1.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, Between Life and Death, (Entre la Vie et la Mort, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1968), tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars, 1970, p. 172.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, Do You Hear Them?, (Vous les entendez?, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1972) tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars, 1975, p. 44.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, Fools Say, (Disent les imbeciles, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1976), tr. Maria Jolas, London: Calder and Boyars, 1977, p. 105.Google Scholar
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    Nathalie Sarraute, Childhood, (Enfance, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1983), tr. Barbara Wright, London: John Calder, 1984, pp. 5–6.Google Scholar

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© Lorna Sage 1992

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  • Lorna Sage

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