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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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French Women Become, German Women Are Made?

French Women Become, German Women Are Made?

Simone de Beauvoir, Alice Schwarzer, Translation and Quotation

(p.297) 15 French Women Become, German Women Are Made?
On ne naît pas femme: on le devient

Anna-Lisa Baumeister

Oxford University Press

“On ne naît pas femme: on le devient” is the sentence most commonly associated with Simone de Beauvoir. This chapter discusses some of the peculiarities that have emerged in the translation and quotation of the sentence in the German-speaking world. Comparing the translation of Beauvoir’s sentence in the hands of German feminist and activist Alice Schwarzer with the version that appears in both existing full text translations of The Second Sex into German, the author argues that the latter version aligns with Beauvoir’s phenomenological account of womanhood, whereas Schwarzer’s translation elides the statement’s philosophical basis. Schwarzer’s rendering of the sentence made a significant contribution to 20th-century German feminism in its own right. Yet Beauvoir’s authorship of Schwarzer’s version of the translation, which is taken for granted, must be questioned.

Keywords:   Key words, Beauvoir, Alice Schwarzer, The Second Sex, translation, phenomenology, feminism

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