How did Simone de Beauvoir get her name?


French writer/feminist Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
Simone de Beauvoir

French writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir was born in early 1908 with the full name Simone-Lucie-Ernestine-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir.

Where did her parents, Georges and Françoise, get all those names?

The baby was named Simone (a break with family tradition of naming daughters after their grandmothers) because Georges like this then chic name very much. He relented only partially for her other names: refusing to allow the baby to be named Léontine after his mother, he compromised with Ernestine (for Ernest-Narcisse), Lucie (for Madame Brasseur, surprisingly at Françoise’s insistence), and Marie (for the Virgin Mary). She was baptized in the Catholic faith when six weeks old as Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, but was taught as an infant to give her name simply as Simone de Beauvoir.

Ernest-Narcisse refers to Georges’s father, and Lucie/Madame Brasseur refers to Françoise’s mother.

Which of Simone’s four given names to you like best?

Source: Bair, Deirdre. Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

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