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"So it goes."

Ella Mc's book blog. Brand new 2018 - Only books read after 1st January 2018

Currently reading

The Witches of Eastwick
John Updike
Progress: 100/307 pages

Reading The Second Sex in English

Ladies and Gents, 


We have a problem. I bought my anniversary copy of Le deuxième sexe volumes 1&2 in French. (Well I should say I purchased a French edition, though I did so in English.)


When I suggested reading it as a group, I figured there had to have been improvements in the translations since the unabridged disaster of 2010 and the ONLY previous (abridged, but in my readings way back when, better than the 2010 version.) English translation by Parshley. I was wrong.


I thought I'd remembered Penguin no longer printed the 2010 edition because it was so universally panned by philosophers and feminists alike. I tried looking on the Penguin site, but I can't be sure. In any event I know a few women's studies teachers who decided to stick with the Parshley rather than teach from the new edition. Most of them have read it in the original French. I have not. I planned to do so, which is why I purchased my new-to-me French copy.


Long story short: it seems we have a choice of two rather unsatisfactory English editions. 


I'm tempted to say screw it all to hell until someone buys the rights and redoes it, but we could wait another 50 years for that. Most worrisome is the lack of philosophical or feminist scholarship invested in the newer translation and the glaring omissions (and previous errors) in the earlier one. I don't know which is the better one. Many feminists hate the old translation. (It sounds strident, to say the least. She can be strident in French too, but not in the ways the translation makes it sound.) 


I'm taking my French copy to the library to compare the two translations next week.(They have to order one of the editions for me before I can do this little project. Next week seems to be the earliest.) Sadly, I'm no expert in anything at all, so thoughts?