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All Men Are Mortal Paperback – May 17, 1992

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Probably de Beauvoir's strangest and most compelling novel Ingrams A writer whose tears for her characters freeze as they drop Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (May 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393308456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393308457
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By maximusone on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
For various reasons I'm no fan of Simone de Beauvoir, but her All Men are Mortal is one of the ten best novels I have ever read. The book is about a man, Fosca, telling the story of his life, which started 6 centuries ago. Fosca is immortal and has lived through many important historical episodes, such as revolutions and conflict, and he has also loved a number of women in his life. The first thought that comes to mind when thinking of an immortal person is "what a lucky guy". However, as this book clearly shows, without death, life has no meaning. For instance, Fosca goes into battle, but knows deep down he risks nothing and he is not the hero his fellow soldiers think he is. But the most memorable part of the book describes his relation to the woman he has loved most in his long life. Although Fosca tries to hide the fact he always remains as young while his wife ages, she eventually discovers the truth and rejects him because she says his devotion to her means nothing : she is devoting her life to him while he will have hundreds of other wives after her. Without sacrificing our life or part of it, we give nothing. At the end of the book Fosca wants nothing more than to be able to die like every other mortal human in order to give a meaning to his life. Too long as a book, but with profound implications. Unforgettable
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
Indeed an unusual, and award winning novel. This book is for people who see life as being more than the mere physical. For those unfamiliar with Simone de Beauvoir, she was the long time companion and lover of John Paul Sartre - one of the forefathers of existentialism. The book although not intentful of an introduction to existentialism, can't help but be an allusive arguement between the author and her own beleifs and those of the existential movement.

The heroine, Regina, is an actress. Self absorbed, cruel to others without understanding of why, competetive and needing the undivided attention of the world around her. As an initiate into the nunhood, the realisation that she could not command the love of God for only herself, transformed her into the character we find at the time this story takes place.

The story truly begins when she sees a man, Fosca, laying on the ground staring at the sky hour after after day. His lack of admiration for the world around him, and his lack of attention to her, only spurs her further to force herself into his world. Fosca unwillingly is drawn slowly into her life, and reveals his history and a strange secret. He is immortal. What unfolds is Regina replacing God with Fosca. God could not love only her. But Fosca is immortal, therefor he is also God-like. By replacing God with Fosca, Regina feels that if he were to love only her, she too would be immortal (so to speak) and larger than life. What more could a self-absorbed woman ask for than to be immortalised in the minds of men?

This gothic novel with all it's history and battles, examines the state of humaness and the state of Godliness. When reading this novel, one can't help but feel the sadness of both experiences. The endless loneliness of being a God..
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Costello VINE VOICE on November 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
In teaching undergraduates Existentialism, I found this book to be a wonderful addition to Sartre's _Being and Nothingness_, Buber's _I and Thou_ and Marcuse's _One-Dimensional Man._ In the novel, especially in the Prologue, De Beauvoir hits all the right chords and themes--the uneasy duality and unity of being-for-self and being-for Others; the necessity and contingency of facticity; the surpassing power of transcendence. Students seem to 'rest their eyes' from the abstract power of dialectic in Sartre and Marcuse on the very concrete descriptions that de Beauvoir offers. Following the novel with her _Ethics of Ambiguity_ only served to ground students further in the character of existentialism and its necessary outpouring into a finite, meaningful, ethical life. A good companion to this piece would be John Russon's _Human Experience_, especially the chapter he has on Memory and how we deposit our memories into the things of our experience. With that in mind, even ordinary passages of the novel, like the one in the Prologue where Annie makes Fosca pancakes and Regina wants them too, despite herself, take on much more meaning. For whom is the absolute? For the one who eats pancakes, the one for whom pancakes matter even when she doesn't want to want them.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Edwards on May 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I haven't read any of De Beauvoir's books before. I bought this book at the advice of while purchasing another. What an extraordinary piece of work!
This is a story for realists who will not be disappointed! There are pangs which are meant to dishearten times, but they are counterbalanced with revelations of faith and warmth --everything in small doses. You just may find out more about yourself as you turn the pages, as this book is highly analytical and presses for self-exploration.
If you are fascinated by history, you will be easily drawn into the pages of this book and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells which surround you.
I have truly enjoyed reading this and being spun into the fabrics of its philosophy. Thank you, Amazon!!
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