Simone de Beauvoir: Les Mandarins [The Mandarins]

(1141 words)
  • Vassilis Manoussakis (University of the Peloponnese)

Les Mandarins [The Mandarins] (1954) is Simone de Beauvoir’s most critically acclaimed novel, exploring the ethical obligations of the intellectual toward a society in crisis. Centred on post-war French society, it takes as its main concern the intellectual elite, the mandarins of the title. By focusing on a group of people with a certain lifestyle, Beauvoir grasps the opportunity to highlight her own personal concerns; thus the novel explores post-war views on Socialism and Communism, fictionalizes the resentment against American imperialist policies and the dropping of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, more generally, the intellectuals’ attitude toward the society they live in. Things had been different …

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Manoussakis, Vassilis. "Les Mandarins". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 January 2009
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]