The first translation of The Second Sex in English came out in 1952, only three years after its publication in French. We need to think about how remarkable that is: that someone would read the book in the French, recognize its importance, convince a publisher that a translation was needed, and actually take on this overwhelming task of translating the book is quite remarkable. By contrast it took thirteen years for Being and Nothingness, sometimes referred to as the Bible of existentialism, to be translated and published in English. Unfortunately, the quality of the translation work on these two major books was not to be compared: Being and Nothingness was translated by Hazel Barnes, a trained philosopher, while The Second Sex was translated by zoologist Howard M. Parshley.

As Margaret A. Simons and others after her have shown, problems abounded with the translation of The Second Sex: deletions...

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