Translating The Second Sex

A Discussion with the Translators of the New English Edition 
of Simone de Beauvoir’s Classic Feminist Work 

Monday, September 13, 2010, 7 p.m.

Event Oval, The Diana Center, Barnard College

Widely regarded as the “bible of feminism,” Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe (1949) is a complex interdisciplinary analysis of the Western notion of “woman” and the power of sexuality. Newly translated and unabridged in English for the first time, The Second Sex (2010) is as relevant today as it was sixty years ago.

In this panel discussion, translators Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier will describe their efforts to render The Second Sex in a manner faithful to its context in existentialist philosophy, their struggle to publish the work, and its appraisal by the critics.

Moderated by Professor Luise von Flotow, Director of the School of Translation and Interpretation, University of Ottawa, with Anna Bogic, author of “The Story of the First English Translation of Beauvoir’s Le Deuxième Sexe and Why it Still Matters.” A Q&A session and reception will follow.


Sponsored by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Co-sponsored by: 

The Center for Research on Women at Barnard College
Maison Française at Columbia University
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University

The Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference at Columbia University

The Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia University Law School.


Read an excerpt from The Second Sex on the Random House website.



Lost in Translation,” by Sarah Glazer, The New York Times, 8/22/04
Second can be the best,” by Catriona Crowe, The Irish Times, 12/19/09

The Best Feminist Book You've Never Read,” by Katie Roiphe, Slate, 4/22/10



Watch the video of the event (link to YouTube).

Watch a video clip of a visit to campus by “Sartre” and “de Beauvoir” in a promotional event sponsored by the Center (link to YouTube).


Download the poster



(212) 851-5979