Skip to main content

News and Events

Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex' for the 21st Century

Translators Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier to speak Feb. 15

The Second SexFrench philosopher Simone de Beauvoir's groundbreaking book "The Second Sex" is a multifaceted analysis of women's cultural status and the basis for current understandings of the social construction of gender. The initial English translation was done quickly, and marred by major omissions and inaccuracies, but the publisher blocked revisions. Until now. The translators of the new and unabridged translation, Americans Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, will be on campus to discuss their work on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Rockwell Pavilion in the UH M.D. Anderson Library (11:30 a.m. -1 p.m.).

"de Beauvoir's book is one of the most significant feminist works," said Elizabeth Gregory, UH professor and director of the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program. "This presentation offers a rare opportunity for our students and the academic community to delve into the issues de Beauvoir explores and her role in framing current views."

Borde and Malovany-Chevallier will address both the challenges of translating the text into English and the relevance of de Beauvoir's work to the current scene. This event is sponsored by the UH department of modern and classical languages, and the WGSS program. A second discussion will be hosted by Rice University at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 in Rayzor Hall on the Rice campus. For questions regarding the UH event, contact Gregory at

The book, originally published in 1949, is de Beauvoir's most renowned work. Since the 1959 release of the first English translation, many scholars have taken issue with the accuracy of the text. After years of scholarly debate, Borde and Malovany-Chevallier were commissioned to publish the new translation.

—Travis Coggin