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Translation of The Second Sex?


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Hi all! 

Random question, but I figured those of you who are literary theory nerds/feminist and gender theory people might have an answer to a question I've been researching! 

Do any of you have a preference for either the 1953 Parshley or the 2009 Borde/Malovany-Chevalier translation of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex? I know Toril Moi at Duke savaged the newer one, but I've seen varying opinions on it, and I know a lot of people (Moi included) have problems with the Parshley translation...I asked a few of my profs, but none of them had given the 2009 translation more than a cursory glance, and just default to the 1953.

I know this is moderately niche, but I've only read excerpts from each, and wanted some other opinions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been a lurker for a while, finally decided to make an account... Anyways, I have not read the new translation, and I do not know anyone personally who has done a full read through, but a few profs in the GWS dept. at my University have said it is superior in several ways, and is at the very least a more accurate translation (closer to her style in the French, doesn't make huge cuts the way the first translation did). If you are interested, I would recommend reading "Translating 'The Second Sex'" (written by the translators Borde and Malovany-Chevallier), which can be found on JSTOR. Perhaps a more unbiased article on the new translation is "Two English Translations" by Emily Grosholz that was published 3 or 4 years ago I think. She seems to prefer the new translation, but suggests a digital (facing) edition comprised of the 1953 translation, its drafts, and the 2009 translation, with notes. Wish I had the time to read it so I could give you my own opinion, but I hope this is helpful.

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1 hour ago, j.alicea said:

She seems to prefer the new translation, but suggests a digital (facing) edition comprised of the 1953 translation, its drafts, and the 2009 translation, with notes. Wish I had the time to read it so I could give you my own opinion, but I hope this is helpful.

Thank you SO much, this is incredibly helpful! I've read the piece by the translators, but haven't heard of the Grosholz one. That digital edition sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!

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6 minutes ago, j.alicea said:

To clarify, no such edition exists yet, she just wants it to exist lol but who knows, maybe she or someone else is working on that at this very moment.

Ah, I see. By "suggests" I thought you meant "recommends" which lead me to believe that some elusive and very helpful version was out there somewhere! 

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