Literary Precedents for The Mandarins

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Written from an existentialist perspective, The Mandarins and A Woman Destroyed have been compared with another existentialist novel, Camus's The Stranger (1942). To some critics, Beauvoir's fictional works lack the concentration, the focus on one character, and the classical simplicity which made The Stranger so popular. However, like Camus's work, TheMandarins reflects modern man's, here woman's, conflicts and anguish. Her work also centers on social and political issues passionately debated by her intellectual contemporaries.

With The Mandarins, Beauvoir pursues the same line as Malraux with his fictionalized accounts of the Chinese revolution and the Spanish Civil War.

Her political acumen is somehow less astute than Malraux's. Beauvoir's emphasis on historical and social concerns justifies a comparison with the Naturalist school of nineteenth-century authors such as Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. On the other hand, an insufficient detachment from contemporary issues and events, as well as from philosophical...

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This section contains 173 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy The Mandarins Short Guide
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The Mandarins from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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