Although [Jean-Paul Sartre], who refused to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964, may have been better known than his companion in the world's literary and intellectual circles, [Simone de Beauvoir] may have had more readers with "The Second Sex." The work, hailed as a landmark examination of the position of women in a male-dominated world, sold more than 1 million copies in paperback in the United States alone.
With Sartre, De Beauvoir said, the problem of male oppression never came up. "Sartre is in no way an oppressor," she said. "If I had loved someone other than Sartre, I still would not have allowed myself to be oppressed."
Sartre and De Beauvoir presided over a youth and intellectual movement in the 1950s and 1960s that rooted itself in the old St. Germain des Pres district on the Left Bank in Paris. Followers called it the "existentialist movement" and insisted it was patterned after the philosophy of Sartre.