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On ne naît pas femme: on le devientThe Life of a Sentence$
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Bonnie Mann and Martina Ferrari

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190608811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190608811.001.0001

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Woman Does Not Become Her

Woman Does Not Become Her

(p.201) 11 Woman Does Not Become Her
On ne naît pas femme: on le devient

Janine Jones

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the author argues that the Borde and Malovany-Chevallier’s translation of “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient” as “One is not born, but rather, becomes woman” is neither a standard grammatically correct rendering of the French sentence nor a translation capable of expressing the rhetorical power of Beauvoir’s thesis. The chapter, utilizing examples such as the great film Jules et Jim by François Truffaut, discusses some of the ideas in Beauvoir’s work that might lead one to graft the philosophical idea—one becomes WOMAN—onto her thesis, as the translators have admittedly done. Finally, through other examples, it argues that a better way to understand Beauvoir’s “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient” is “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

Keywords:   Key Words, Beauvoir, Borde and Malovany-Chevallier, translation, Truffaut, Jules et Jim

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