Pierre Klossowski, writer and philosopher, was born in Paris on August 5, 1905. His writings span a wide range of topics, from Doctors of the Church to the Marquis de Sade. His last novel, The Baphomet, received the Prix des Critique in France (1965).
Simone de Beauvoir, 1908 - 1986 Simone de Beauvoir was born January 9, 1908 in Paris, France to a respected bourgeois family. Her father was a lawyer, her mother a housewife, and together they raised two daughters to be intelligent, inquisitive individuals. de Beauvoir attended the elementary school Cours Desir in 1913, then L'Institute Sainte Nary under the tutelage of Robert Garric, followed by the Institute Catholique in Paris, before finally attending the Sorbonne, where she graduated from in 1929. It was there that she met the man who would become her life long friend and companion, John Paul Sartre, who contributed to her philosophy of life. She is perhaps best know for her novel entitled "The Second Sex", which describes the ideal that women are an indescribable "other", something "made, not born", and a declaration of feminine independence. After graduating from the Sorbonne, de Beauvoir went on to teach Latin at Lycee Victor Duruy, philosophy at a school in Marseilles, and a few other teaching positions before coming to teach at the Sorbonne. During the course of her twelve years of teaching, from 1931 to 1943, de Beauvoir developed the basis for her philosophical thought. She used her formal philosophy background to also comment on feminism and existentialism. Her personal philosophy was that freedom of choice is man's utmost gift of value. Acts of goodness make one more free, acts of evil decrease that selfsame freedom. In 1945, de Beauvoir and Sartre founded and edited Le Temps Modernes, a monthly review of philosophical thought and trends. In 1943, with the money she had earned from teaching, de Beauvoir turned her full attention to writing, producing first "L'Envitee", then "Pyrrhus et Cineas" in 1944. In 1948, she wrote perhaps her most famous philosophical work, "The Ethics of Ambiguity". "The Second Sex", regarded by many as the seminal work in the field of feminism, is her most famous work. Other works include "The Coming of Age", which addresses society's condemnation of old age, the award winning novel "The Mandarins", "A Very Easy Death", about the death of her mother and a four part biography. In "The Woman Destroyed", a collection of two long stories and one short novel, de Beauvoir discusses middle age. One of her last novels was in the form of a diary recording; it told of the slow death of her life-long compatriot, Jean Paul Sartre. On April 14, 1986, Simone de Beauvoir, one of the mothers of feminism, passed away in her home in Paris.
Marquis De Sade, 1740 - 1814 The Marquis De Sade was born in Paris in 1740. He fought in the French Army during the Seven Years War before being tried and sentenced to death in 1772 for a series of sexual crimes. He escaped to Italy but upon his return to France in 1777, he was recaptured and thrown into the prison at Vincennes. De Sade spent six years at Vincennes before being transferred first to the Bastille and then to Charenton lunatic asylum in 1789. He was released from the asylum in 1790 but was arrested again in 1801. De Sade was moved from prison to prison before returning to Charenton in 1803, where he later died. Many of the Marquis De Sade's works feature descriptions of sexual acts and crimes. It is from these terrible descriptions of the Marquis' that the word Sadism is created. Sadism is the term for a neurosis where sexual satisfaction is gained by the infliction of pain on others. The term is a play on the Marquis De Sade's name. According to the Marquis' philosophy, the sexual and criminal acts that he depicts in his works are normal. His works have therefore been labeled obscene and banned into the 20th Century.