Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On the English translation of The Second Sex

I was wondering if anyone else noticed this in the Norton: "First published in France as Le Deuxieme Sexe (1949), The Second Sex (1952) was published in the United States in an incomplete and notriously inaccurate translation by a zoologist, H. M. Parshley, whose enthusiasm far exceeded his grasp of either philosophy or feminism."

More on this here: http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/014_01/113

Is it overreacting to conclude that this is proof that even the most popular and influential woman writers and philosophers continue to be neglected by scholars? I tried to find the new translation discussed in the Book Forum article, but it doesn't seem to be on Amazon.


  1. I certainly agree that even the "highest" scholarly texts aren't necessarily exempt from their cultures' limitations, including gender conceptions/roles....nice find, Carolyn :D

  2. Carolyn, I honestly don't know how to answer your question. I'm with kbdancer on this one. Great find! Whether or not you are overreacting seems like a decision only you can make. (That said, we might look to see if subsequent translations have corrected the mistakes of the first.)