In , she fictionalized the struggles of existents trapped in ambiguous social and personal relationships at the closing of World War II. In addition to her philosophical pursuits, de Beauvoir was also an accomplished literary figure, and her novel, Simone de Beauvoir was born on January 9, 1908 in Paris to Georges Bertrand de Beauvoir and Françoise (née) Brasseur.
The emphasis on freedom, responsibility, and ambiguity permeate all of her works and give voice to core themes of existentialist philosophy. Her influences include French philosophy from Descartes to Bergson, the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the historical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the idealism of Immanuel Kant and G. Her father, George, whose family had some aristocratic pretensions, had once desired to become an actor but studied law and worked as a civil servant, contenting himself instead with the profession of legal secretary.
Adding to her unique situation with Sartre, Beauvoir had intimate liaisons with both women and men.
Some of her more famous relationships included the journalist Jacques Bost, the American author Nelson Algren, and Claude Lanzmann, the maker of the Holocaust documentary, .
Beauvoir had been a deeply religious child as a result of her education and her mother's training; however, at the age of 14, she had a crisis of faith and decided definitively that there was no God. Her rejection of religion was followed by her decision to pursue and teach philosophy.
Only once had she considered marriage to her cousin, Jacques Champigneulle.Unlike Beauvoir, all three men had attended the best preparatory ( in philosophy and thus became the youngest philosophy teacher in France.It was during her time at the École Normale that she met Sartre.Although never marrying (despite Sartre's proposal in 1931), having children together, or even living in the same home, Sartre and Beauvoir remained intellectual and romantic partners until Sartre's death in 1980.The liberal intimate arrangement between her and Sartre was extremely progressive for the time and often unfairly tarnished Beauvoir's reputation as a woman intellectual equal to her male counterparts.She wrote a graduate on Leibniz for Léon Brunschvig and completed her practice teaching at the lycée Janson-de-Sailly with fellow students, Merleau-Ponty and Claude Lévi-Strauss - with both of whom she remained in philosophical dialogue.In 1929, she took second place in the highly competitive philosophy agrégation exam, beating Paul Nizan and Jean Hyppolite and barely losing to Jean-Paul Sartre who took first (it was his second attempt at the exam).For the first time, she found in Sartre an intellect worthy (and, as she asserted, in some ways superior) to her own-a characterization that has lead to many ungrounded assumptions concerning Beauvoir's lack of philosophical originality.For the rest of their lives, they were to remain "essential" lovers, while allowing for "contingent" love affairs whenever each desired.Beauvoir's method incorporated various political and ethical dimensions.In, she developed an existentialist ethics that condemned the “spirit of seriousness” in which people too readily identify with certain abstractions at the expense of individual freedom and responsibility.