By Nava Atlas | On | Comments (0)
The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir is a semi-autobiographical novel published in her native French in 1954, and in English translation in 1956. The same year it was published in France, it won the prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. When it was published outside of France, de Beauvoir was best known (as she is still today, perhaps) for her 1949 nonfiction book, The Second Sex, a feminist classic.
The Mandarins encompasses many of de Beauvoir’s favored themes, including existentialism, feminism, political structures (including communism), and morality.
The novel portrays a group of a close-knit group of friends who call themselves “the Mandarins” — referring to the scholar-bureaucrats of imperial China. The core group of characters identify as intellectuals, and grapple with what kind of role they might play in post World-War II Europe. Read More→