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The Coming of Age

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  26 reviews
What do the words elderly, old, and aged really mean? How are they used by society, and how in turn do they define the generation that we are taught to respect and love but instead castigate and avoid? Most importantly, how is our treatment of this generation a reflection of our society's values and priorities?

In The Coming of Age, Simone de Beauvoir seeks greater understa
Paperback, 592 pages
Published June 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1970)
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I see reviewers here complaining that La vieillesse is boring, or disorganised, or outdated gerontology or whatever, but with all due respect I think this is missing the point. Simone de Beauvoir, now in her early sixties, is a distinguished author and philosopher characterised by her calm, lucid way of approaching all kinds of difficult questions. It has been clear to her for some time that she is getting older, and will soon, perhaps even now, be at an age when she's generally called "old". We ...more
Reading this 8-chapter “Old Age” by Simone de Beauvoir was, I think, surprisingly inspiring, informative and sympathetic since she has elegantly written it to her readers to know and understand innumerable cases of some famous elderly in the west and the east. Having bought this paperback since 2009, I have read some interesting parts and quitted due to insufficient motive. So I wonder if its readership might have been a bit limited because of such a seemingly boring title, in other words, this ...more
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: body-works, history
I might have never discovered this book had I not stumbled upon it on the sale rack at Salvation Army. An encyclopedic examination on the process of aging from a physiological, spiritual, and cultural - ancient and modern, Eastern and Western - perspectives. Impeccably written, the language and extent of research shows de Beauvoir's brilliance. One might think the subject depressing to read; de Beauvoir makes it a fascinating exploration of life's inevitable and universal journey. ...more
Emma Sea
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
A disappointing read: there was much skimming from page 361 to the end.

I expected this to be an unpicking of cultural attitudes to aging, but it is instead simply a whole bunch of anecdotes, statistics, and facts.

40 years is a long time in gerontology. Many of the attitudes and expectations that de Beauvoir is discussing are no longer currently held by older adults themselves. Many are still held by younger adults (a letter to the editor in a national newspaper here seriously suggested compulsor
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Decidí leer esto antes de ser vieja porque esperaba ideas desoladoras. Lejos de eso creo que este libro contribuye a la comprensión de los viejos y el rol que ocupan en la sociedad, te topas de frente con la realidad de que "todos vamos a ser viejos" por lo que es de descerebrados no considerar este estadio de la vida en las actividades de una sociedad.
La similar estructura que El Segundo Sexo permite que sea una lectura amena e interdisciplinaria.
No puedo no pensar en la situación de los ancian
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
مثل جنس اول، کتابی استقرایی و پرجزییات است که با در خواننده باید با در کنار هم قرار دادن فکت ها و داده های مختلف تاریخی به نتیجه برسد.سالخوردگی توصیفی حیرت انگیز از دوران شکوهمند کهنسالی است.
Nick Klagge
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I ended up reading this book in two disjoint sessions (had to return to library in the middle--it's over 500 pages long), so some of my memory of it is not as sharp as it otherwise might be.

This book has great promise, and although it's good, the promise is ultimately not fulfilled. As I understand it, the book is something of a spiritual successor to Beauvoir's earlier and much more famous work, "The Second Sex" (which I have not read). In TCA, she portrays how the elderly are defined in relat
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I was referred to this book as the classic on age and aging. Indeed, there is a wealth of historical fact on attitudes to and treatment of the aged in a range of cultures. Overall it makes for a depressing read, even more so when de Beauvoir moves on to The Being in the World and examines the neglect of the aged in current (late 1960s) society. Her political sympathies come to the fore in the demonstration of the contrasting fates of the working class as opposed to the wealthier aged. Yet, notwi ...more
Ruth Santana Valencia
Decidí leer este libro para entender el proceso por el cual mis padres están transitando y al cual si el cuerpo lo permite todos llegaremos. El libro es todo un viaje (independientemente de las 707 páginas a letra hormiga –ya le perdí el miedo a libros de más de 500 páginas-) el cual está divido en tres partes son más capítulos pero creo que se puede resumir así.

Primeramente el estudio a través de la historia como se manejaba la vejez desde las culturas antiguas y recorriendo diferentes partes d
Bobbie Darbyshire
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Billed as “the definitive study of the universal problem of growing old”. Published in 1970, nearly 600 pages, much of it dated. I skimmed some interminably detailed anthropology and history, and much sociology and politics. But her exploration of the psychology of becoming and being old is interesting. One of her theses is that everyone spends their life fearing death, but no one spends much time fearing old age, because we see the aged as different from us, another species, not as people we wi ...more
Daniela Ramírez
Por su cadencia es un libro que toma su tiempo, sin embargo me ha gustado mucho. Inicialmente no pude evitar cuestionarme acerca de la validez del mismo ya que en muchos casos aludía a data o eventos bastante distantes en el tiempo, pero en el camino hallé enriquecedor entender este tema desde mucho más atrás en la historia pues eso te permite contrastar, comparar, informarte y darte cuenta que finalmente los entornos cambian pero en esencia los patrones se repiten. La vejez es muy compleja y co ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
800 pages of tedium.
Amada  Garcia Gutierrez
Excelente libro para conocer los acercamientos de la vejez desde diversas miradas
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
What is interesting is that the past 50 years have not rendered this book irrelevant. In its fundamentals the events of old age, despite cultural differences between different societies, are somewhat inevitable.
As she observes in her conclusion the only way to ensure a dignified fulfilling old age is to completely reorder what we understand society and life to be., and that clearly has not happened.
Most of us are blind to the intellectual foundations of our current societies and lack a coherent
Alegría Buendía
Una de las mayores discriminaciones que hay es la discriminación contra la vejez, Simone habla del trato que diferentes sociedades, culturas en determinadas épocas y situaciones le dan a sus ancianos, desde los que los abandonan a su suerte para mal morir, o los que los ponen por tan encima de todos que los más jovenes terminan odiándolos.
Habla también de la manera en que envejece cada género, envejecer siendo hombre o siendo mujer es muy distinto así como la clase social a la que uno pertenece.
Shervin Ghiami

I'm surprised this is as obscure as it is, given its massive importance within general philosophy and the time it must have taken de Beauvoir to write it. La Veillesse is a huge book covering the concept of old age throughout history. It should be treated more as a textbook than anything else, for although it transitions from anthropology, to history, to art history, to personal, Roman philosophy, it is extremely repetitive and the point is pretty well summarized in the conclusion. But this i
Mary Karpel-Jergic
An outstanding existential analysis of how it is to be an ageing human being. How we are viewed by others. "if old people show the same desires, the same feelings and the same requirements as the young, the world looks upon them with disgust: in them love and jealousy seem revolting or absurd, sexuality repulsive and violence ludicrous"

But we were all young once and if we don't die before, we will all age.
Luis Santiana
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro de muy buen nivel, nada inusual tratándose de De Beauvoir; el contenido me remitió a investigar temas adicionales complementarios, lo cual me gustó mucho; la vejez es el resultado de vivir, no podemos escapar de ella, el tema es absolutamente fascinante y la autora lo desarrolla de forma adecuada; me quedo con la frase "La sociedad sólo se preocupa del individuo en la medida en que produce". ...more
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it
اثری خواندنی از سیمون دو بوار. در فارسی کتابی با نام "کهنسالی" از سیمون دوبوار در 1365 منتشر شده که محمدعلی طوسی آن را ترجمه کرده. به احتمال قریب به یقین همین اثر اوست. ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Man sieht nicht sein eigenes Alter, aber merkt es durch den Dialect mit anderen, der wie ein Spiegel dir Zeigt wie lang du noch hast.
aldo zirsov
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Louise Silk
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
This book is a difficult long read. It is filled with facts and statistics- almost like Ms. De Beauvoir has to prove that we do in fact age. I would have much more interested in reading her own experience and feeling about the agin process.
Chris Gager
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Barely remember it but it was a textbook for a class I took at CU back in the 70's."The Sociology of Aging" or something like that. Date read is approximate. ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is another really good autobiography.
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Simone de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, political and social issues, essays, biographies, and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including "She Came to Stay" and "The Mandarins", and for her 1949 treatise "The Second Sex", a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary ...more

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