Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, and Marguerite Duras all lived long lives and were prolific writers until the end. This work's developmental approach to their creativity takes into account literary analysis but also discusses their work and lives from the standpoint of history and the social sciences, a three-way conjunction that considers age, gender and a culture that depends on the ideas of sexual difference for its national identity. The author incorporates the work of Betty Friedan, Carolyn Heilbrun and Margaret Gulette, among others, into her study. Asking how a French woman's heritage affects the way she writes when she has gone beyond the age when women are considered sexually desirable, Bethany Ladimer examines the problems and resolutions that face ageing women in France. The light she sheds on the question illuminates the relationship between femininity and ageing in all Western societies.