Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a defining figure of the twentieth century; a philosopher, Christian, resistance fighter, anarchist, feminist, Labour activist and teacher. She was described by T. S. Eliot as 'a woman of genius, of a kind of genius akin to that of the saints', and by Albert Camus as 'the only great spirit of our time'. Originally published posthumously in two volumes, these newly reissued notebooks, are among the very few unedited personal writings of Weil's that still survive today. Containing her thoughts on art, love, science, God and the meaning of life, they give context and meaning to Weil's famous works, revealing an unique philosophy in development and offering a rare private glimpse of her singular personality.
Over fifty years after her death, Simone Weil (1909-1943) remains one of the most searching religious inquirers and political thinkers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus said she had a "madness for truth." She rejected her Jewishness and developed a strong interest in Catholicism, although she never joined the Catholic church. Both an activist and a scholar, she constantly spoke out against injustice and aligned herself with workers, with the colonial poor in France, and with the opressed everywhere. She came to believe that suffering itself could be a way to unity with God, and her death at thirty-four has been recorded as suicide by starvation. This extraordinary study is primarily a topography of Weil's mind, but Thomas Nevin is persuaded that her thought is inextricably bound to her life and dramatic times. Thus, he not only addresses her thoughts and her prejudices but examines her reasons for entertaining them and gives them a historical focus. He claims that to Weil's generation the Spanish War, the Popular Front, the ascendance of Hitlerism, and the Vichy years were not mere backdrops but definitive events. Nevin explores in detail not only matters of continuing interest, such as Weil's leftist politics and her attempt to embrace Christianity, but also hitherto unexamined aspects of her life and work which permit a deeper understanding of her: her writings on science, her work as a poet and dramatist, and her selective friendships. The thread uniting these topics is her struggle to maintain her independence as a free thinker while resisting community such as Judaism could have offered her. Her intellectual struggles eloquently reveal the desperate isolation of Jews torn between the lure of assimilation and the tormented dignity of their communal history. Nevin's massive research draws on the full range of essays, notebooks, and fragments from the Simone Weil archives in Paris, many of which have never been translated or published. Originally published in 1991. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
The French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943), a contemporary of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, remains in every way a thinker for our times. She was an outsider, in multiple senses, defying the usual religious categories: at once atheistic and religious; mystic and realist; sceptic and believer. She speaks therefore to the complex sensibilities of a rationalist age. Yet despite her continuing relevance, and the attention she attracts from philosophy, cultural studies, feminist studies, spirituality and beyond, Weil's reflections can still be difficult to grasp, since they were expressed in often inscrutable and fragmentary form. Lissa McCullough here offers a reliable guide to the key concepts of Weil's religious philosophy: good and evil, the void, gravity, grace, beauty, suffering and waiting for God. In addressing such distinctively contemporary concerns as depression, loneliness and isolation, and in writing hauntingly of God's voluntary 'nothingness', Weil's existential paradoxes continue to challenge and provoke. This is the first introductory book to show the essential coherence of her enigmatic but remarkable ideas about religion.
Simone Weil's Leons de Philosophie are derived from a course she taught at the lyce for girls at Roanne in 1933–4. Anne Reynaud-Gurithault was a pupil in the class; her notes are not a verbatim record but are a very full and, as far as one can judge, faithful rendering, often catching the unmistakable tone of Simone Weil's voice as well as the force and the directness of her thought. The lectures form a good general introduction to philosophy, ranging widely over problems about perception, mind, language, reasoning and problems in moral and political philosophy too. Her method of presentation is a characteristic combination of abstract argument, personal experience and literary or historical reference. Peter Winch points out in his introduction to the book some of the more systematic connections in her philosophical work (and between this philosophical work and her other concerns), and makes a number of suggestive comparisons between Simone Weil and Wittgenstein. The translation is by Hugh Price from the Plon edition of 1959. Dr Price has added some notes to explain references in the text that might be unfamiliar to English speaking students beginning philosophy.
Neurosis, Mysticism, and Gender in European Culture
Author: Cristina Mazzoni
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Saint Hysteria examines scientific, literary, and religious texts that share a fascination with the otherness of the female body, whether in ecstatic pleasure or in neurotic pain. Cristina Mazzoni focuses on material from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mainly in Italy and France. Her approach uses the methodologies of cultural studies and feminism but also benefits from the insights of psychoanalytic criticism. She asks how the identification of mysticism with hysteria became prevalent, and explores the continuing dialogue between a historicizing view of hysteria and a view of hysteria as repressed religious mysticism. According to Mazzoni, this dialogue is discernible at various levels and in a variety of discourses. The medical history of hysteria, she maintains, is often linked to the religious history of supernatural phenomena, and the medical discourse of positivism depends on the religious-feminine element that it attempts to repress. Similarly, she finds a continuity between the literature of naturalism and that of decadence in their representations of the interdependence of neurosis and religion. Finally, the religious writings of women mystics and the discourses they inspired reveal an unresolved tension between nature and supernature, body and soul (or psyche) which, Mazzoni suggests, mirrors and complicates the very issues raised by hysterical conversion. Among those whose views she considers are the writers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt, Gabriele d?Annunzio, and Antonio Fogazzaro, as well as Graham Greene and Simone Weil; the mystics Angela of Foligno, Gemma Galgani, and Teresa of Avila; and the theorists Jean-Martin Charcot, Cesare Lombroso, Jacques Lacan, Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray.