n French Studies in Southern Africa - Les voyages parisiens de Mademoiselle de Beauvoir




This article attempts to trace and to define Simone de Beauvoir's passion for travelling. Well before her much publicised travels on several continents accompanied by Jean-Paul Sartre, and before her pre-WWII journeys of discoveries in Europe and North Africa, Simone de Beauvoir had to resort to travelling within her own city, Paris, for lack of opportunities to cross borders, and as a sign of rebellion against her bourgeois family. In a city she hardly knew - having been restricted by her mother to socially acceptable areas in the vicinity of the two flats she lived in during her childhood and youth -, she would indeed discover the type of world she had been longing for. Far from being mere excursions, these journeys must be seen, and interpreted, as founding events of her chosen existence, and as a proto-history of travels in what would become her own self-built (hi)story - in which travels would form an integral part of her existence. This proto-history would eventually find its way into her first completed work of fiction, , as yet another proof of the importance of such escapades in the Beauvoirian philosophical and personal system.


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