Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir

The book follows the personal lives of a close-knit group of French intellectuals from the end of WWII to the mid fifties. The title refers to the scholar-bureaucrats of imperial China. The characters at times see themselves as ineffectual "mandarins" as they attempt to discern what role, if any, intellectuals will have in influencing the political landscape of the world after WWII. As in De Beauvoir's other works, themes of Feminism, Existentialism, and personal morality are explored as the characters navigate not only the intellectual and political landscape but also their shifting relationships with each other.



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