I rarely read feministic literature. Writers who try to say something about the general female experience never fail to make me feel a bit queer. Perhaps it´s that I´m not a mother, and that I´m not the least bit career driven. Apparently, Simone de Beauvoir felt the same. She didn´t think she was a feminist until very late in life. This didn´t stop her, however, from writing "The Second Sex", which became a kind of feminist bible.
Åsa Moberg, a Swedish feminist writer and nuclear opponent, has translated "The Second Sex" in its entirety and is considered one of this country´s leading Beauvoir experts. She has written a personal memoir, "Simone och jag" (= Simone and I) about the way she has been able to mirror herself in Beauvoir´s texts ever since she first read "The Mandarins". I picked it up more because it was about the art of reading, and how we use famous people as idols, archetypes really, to help us get along with our lives. I have said this before, that it seems to me like some authors are more interesting and perhaps have become classics, not so much because of what they wrote, but because of how they lived. I mean, how many people really enjoy reading Virginia Woolf´s or Beauvoir´s novels? Not as many, I bet, as those who get absorbed in biographies about these ladies, and others like them.
In the end I found more nutrition in this book than I had thought I would. She (and Simone) has some really profound things to say about the way women are brought up and how that affects the creative process, things I can really relate to and that might help me to get on in my own development. And I could identify more than I though, since both Beauvoir and Moberg are women who have, more or less, chosen to remain childless. And perhaps they were not as career driven as they wanted to seem, they both had a man behind them pulling the strings. That is something I don´t have. But seeing what function a man like that has in a woman´s life, also made me realize a few things about my own processes.
I like these personal biographies, where the writer engages in a kind of dialogue with his or her subject. I think all conscious readers do this, and it´s very enlightening to follow another´s process. Unfortunately, a quick look at what amazon has to offer indicates that Moberg is not translated to English. There is, however, this: "Åsa Moberg und ihre Spiegelung in Simone de Beauvoir: Beleuchtung, Analyse und Interpretation" by Elisabeth Prudic. If it´s of any interest, I don´t know, and I don´t intend to find out.