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The reading is ultimately rewarding as it gives the reader an even more thorough understanding of the devoted side of de Beauvoir--and the very human and mortal side of the great philosopher Jean Paul Sartre.
"The Coming of Age" is the definitive study of the universal problem of growing old, which in and of itself is a brilliant achievement.
Jack Aubrey sets course for Cape Horn on a mission. Little does he and Maturin know that disasters await them in the Great South Sea: typhoons, shipwrecks, murder, and criminal insanity.
Third in the series of Aubrey-Maturin adventures, this book is set among the strange sights and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and in the distant waters ploughed by the ships of the East India Company. Aubrey is on the defensive, pitting wits and seamanship against an enemy enjoying overwhelming local superiority. But somewhere in the Indian Ocean lies the prize that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams: the ships sent by Napoleon to attack the China Fleet....
Captain Jack Aubrey, a brilliant and experienced officer, has been struck off the list of post-captains for a crime he did not commit. His old friend Stephen Maturin, usually cast as a ship's surgeon to mask his discreet activities on behalf of British Intelligence, has bought for Aubrey his former ship the Surprise to command as a privateer, more politely termed a letter of marque. Together they sail on a desperate mission against the French, which, if successful, may redeem Aubrey from the private hell of his disgrace.
This novel establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R. N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars.
In 1803 Napoleon smashes the Peace of Amiens, and Captain Jack Aubrey, R. N., is interned. He escapes from France, prison, from a possible mutiny, and straight into the mouth of a French-held harbor.
The general theme that Beauvoir takes up in these 5 short stories is that of the harm inflicted upon young women by the 'spiritual' values and mystifications of the ruling French middle classes of her time. In the brief Preface to the 1979 edition of the collection Beauvoir stressed how much of herself went into the book and how she herself had been oppressed by spiritualism.
These three long stories draw us into the lives of three women, all past their first youth, all facing unexpected crises. In the title story, the heroine's serenity is shattered when she learns that her husband is having an affair. In "The Age of Discretion," a successful, happily married professor finds herself increasingly distressed by her son's absorption in his young wife and her worldly values. In "The Monologue," a rich, spoiled woman, home alone on New Year's Eve, pours out a lifetime's rage and frustration in a harrowing diatribe. Enthralling as fiction, suffused with de Beauvoir's remarkable insights into women, The Woman Destroyed gives us a legendary writer at her best.
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