Simone de Beauvoir (pronounced in French) (January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986) was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, politics, and social issues, essays, biographies, and an autobiography in several volumes. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins, and for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
Simone de Beauvoir was the daughter of Georges de Beauvoir, a one-time lawyer and amateur actor, and Françoise Brasseur, a young woman from Verdun. She was born in Paris as 'Simone-Lucie-Ernestine-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir' and was educated at a Catholic school for girls, something that was looked down on by the intellectuals at the time. The Catholic schools for girls were seen as places where the young were taught how to be mothers and wives more than a place to learn. After World War I, Simone's maternal grandfather Gustave Brasseur, president of the Meuse Bank, went bankrupt, throwing his entire family into dishonor and poverty. The family had to move into a smaller apartment and Georges de Beauvoir had to go back to work; his relationship with his wife suffered.
Simone was always aware that her father had hoped to have a son, instead of two daughters (her younger sister Hélène de Beauvoir became a painter). However, he did tell Simone, "You have the brain of a man," and from a young age Simone was a distinguished student. Georges de Beauvoir passed his love of theater and literature to his daughter. He became convinced that only scholarly success could lift his daughters out of poverty.