[Item #6204] The Mandarins. Simone de Beauvoir.
The Mandarins
The Mandarins
The Mandarins
The Mandarins

The Mandarins

New York, NY, USA: The World Publishing Company, 1956. First English Language Edition. Hardcover. Existentialist philosopher, writer, feminist activist, and educator Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) is most famous for her 1949 publication of The Second Sex on the history and status of women in society. Her life and literary career were tied to that of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) as her paramour, a relationship she referred to as a “soul partnership,” and many other literary figures like Albert Camus (1913-1960) and Nelson Algren (1909-1981) were influences, confidantes, and/or lovers of de Beauvoir. Controversially, she and Sartre were involved in campaigning against French laws that were intended to protect minors from abuse, and if they were alive in the 21st century, they would most certainly be found on the Epstein flight logs. The Mandarins is widely considered to be a roman à clef, or “novel with a key,” a novel about real-life events that is overlaid with a façade of fiction, although de Beauvoir denied this designation. There’s a subtle difference between fictionalized reality and reality-inspired fiction, though it is difficult to discern. The characters do not represent real people; they are idealized or manipulated versions inspired by those around her under the circumstances in which she found herself during the era of her life that inspired the story. Regardless of the sliver of difference between these two concepts, those people saw themselves in the story, and not everyone appreciated it. In post-World War II France, the status of the intelligentsia class became unclear as society surged forward with new priorities. Existential reflection about purpose and fulfillment come naturally as major changes differently affect the everyday lives of socio-economic demographics. This emulates an era in China during which the scholar-bureaucrats, or “mandarins,” were reallocated to government positions, if qualified according to imperial examination, rather than filling roles with members of the nobility by default. The novel won the 1954 Prix Goncourt, a prize in French literature given by the académie Goncourt to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year." It was translated into English by Leonard M. Friedman, and the first English edition, offered here, was published in 1956. From the collection of Stanley Hurwick Levy (1926-2020) — legendarily precocious Princetonian (where he walked and talked and studied with the likes of Albert Einstein, among others) — before embarking upon a prodigious, near mythic seventy-year career as a practicing physician, during which he collected prolifically. Hardcover in unclipped first-issue dust jacket (with “$6.00” price on front flap): First Edition, as stated on copyright page. Book is in relatively Fine condition with minor rubbing, spotting to the front, back covers & spine; minor bumping to the edges and corners of same; moderate discoloration to the top edge only of spine and pageblock, and minor discoloration to the edges of front, back covers; aside from minor aging/browning, pages are pristine. Dust jacket is in relatively Good condition with moderate tearing, chipping to edges of spine and top edges of front back covers; moderate peeling, chipping to the folded edges of spine and flaps; minor-to-moderate tearing (mostly closed), creasing to the fine edges and corners of front, back covers & spine. An extra handling fee will be added for shipping due to the size and weight of this item. Fine / Good. [Item #6204]

Price: $150.00

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