Being “Elsewhere,” Being in America: Beauvoir’s Traveling and Narrating Self

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This essay examines the ways in which Beauvoir’s America Day by Day (1948), an autobiographical account of two visits to the U.S. in 1947, presents and positions the French philosopher as a travelling subject/ travel writer who needs to negotiate French and European constructions of America, her personal memories and imaginings, and numerous connections and encounters with others. It discloses a more substantial agency for Beauvoir (as narrator and as her readers’ tour guide) than some critics have credited her with, and establishes her transnational and perhaps even transhistorical self-positioning.

"The twelve essays in this book - by scholars from the U.S., France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic - offer new transnational perspectives in transatlantic historical, literary, and cultural studies. They explore the special role of American and European intellectuals as agents of transatlantic cultural transfer, and examine the mechanisms and instruments through which artists, writers and intellectuals communicated across oceans and national borders, in the half century between 1914 and 1964. Their focus is on transatlantic networks and the instruments of culture through which such networks become operative as sites of cross-cultural exchange, circulation and interaction: magazines, cafes, publishing houses, book fairs, agents, translators, and mediators - and last but not least, transatlantic personal friendships. Contending that the dynamics of transatlantic cultural transfer need to be understood as reciprocal and multi-directional, they also exemplify the shift within transatlantic intellectual history from a traditional concern with European-U.S. relations to a multidirectional, triangular exploration of cultural, political and intellectual relations between Europe, the United States, and Latin America." (Cambridge Scholars Publishing)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransatlantic Intellectual Networks, 1914 – 1964
EditorsHans Bak, Celine Mansanti
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishers
Pages212 - 231
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781527539747
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
EventEuropean Association of American Studies: "Forever Young"? The Changing Images of America - Trinity College Dublin & University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 26 Mar 201029 Mar 2010


ConferenceEuropean Association of American Studies
Abbreviated titleEAAS Biennial Conference


  • transatlantic
  • intellectual history
  • American Studies
  • Literary criticism
  • Travel writing
  • Simone de Beauvoir

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