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A Detailed Listing of Topics Contained in Parts II and III of The Need for Roots

Ronald KL Collins

What follows is a detailed listing of topics contained in the last two parts of The Need for Roots (Routledge, 2002, Arthur Wills trans. {carrots cover}

Note: The pagination between the 1952 Routledge edition and the 2002 Routledge Classics edition is not quite the same. It is typically one or two pages adrift. The pagination referenced below is to the 2002 (“carrots”) edition.

ht: DL

Since the first part of TNFR already had such a listing in the table of contents, there was no need to revisit that part. Though what follows is not designed to serve as an index, it does, nonetheless, provide the reader with a better overview and micro-view of TNFR.

As the listings below reveal, Weil covered a wide range of topics in TFNR – more than 130! While the list could be yet more detailed, to do so would, functionally speaking, turn it into an index. 

Additionally, it bears noting that Weil’s unfinished report for the Free French was not penned as a book.  Rather, it is a work done in a matter of several months with few changes and at a time when Weil was busy writing essays, letters, and notebook entries, often for the better part of an entire day. The manuscript she left behind had neither a title nor any chapter divisions or headings.  

As Jane Doering has noted: “the French annotated version of Enracinement, as set out in the Oeuvres Complètes, has an alternate form of listing the material treated in The Need for Roots.” 

Echoing that point and adding to it, David Levy has observed: “the table of contents [in The Need for Roots] is misleading since it omits Weil’s original numbering, and by my reckoning miscounts and mispairs the needs” mentioned in Part I of TNFR. He also pointed out that there is an invaluable “analytical table of contents for TNFR in OC V:2, pp. 459-462.” Hence, the French reader is directed to consult that work.  Meanwhile, the listing below must suffice for now for the English-speaking world. (I am grateful to Jane and David for permitting me to draw from their private e-mails sent to me in late August of 2021.) 


Eric Springsted & Ronald Collins, A Declaration of Duties Toward Humankind: A Critical Companion to Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots (Carolina Academic Press, 2022). Reports are that there is a new translation of TNFR by Ros Schwartz to be published by Penquin.

Part II:  Uprootedness                                  43

Rooted and Uprooted                                    43

Military Conquest                                          44

Uprootedness in Towns                                45

Education                                                        45

Two Options for the Uprooted                      47

Revolution                                                      48

Love of the Past                                             51

Plight of Workers                                           53

Modern Military                                             55

Workers and Machines                                 57

The State                                                         61

Unions                                                             63

Vichy Government                                         65

Educating Workers                                         65

Obstacles to Culture                                      66

Teaching Geometry                                       69

Slavery                                                            71

Intellectuals and Workers                            71

Proposals                                                        73

Breakdown of Working Class                        75

From Theory to Action                                   78

Uprootedness in The Countryside                78

Workers and Peasants                                   79

Political Parties                                              80

Slavery                                                             81

The State                                                         84

Military Service                                              85

Science                                                            87

Moral Rerooting of Peasantry                       88

The Role of Churches                                     89

God and the Classroom                                  91

Beauty                                                              93

Need for Greatness                                        97

Uprootedness and Nationhood                    98

On Ancestors                                                  99

Continuity in Time                                         100

Patriotism                                                        102

On Taxes                                                         104

Monarchy                                                        105

Lost Cultures                                                  106

Progress                                                          110

Patriotic Continuity                                       113

Love of God and the State                            115

Loss of the Past                                             119

Police                                                              120

Politics                                                            121

Religious Life                                                 123

Labor and Money                                         123

Social Class                                                    125

On Philosophy                                                130

Justice and Patriotism                                  133

Hitler and Propaganda                                  134

History of Morals                                           136

Patriotism and Morality                               142

On War                                                           144

Fascism                                                          146

Realist Politics                                               148

Leftist Groups                                                150

On Idolatry                                                     154

On Killing                                                        155

On Obligation                                                 156

On Pacifism                                                    159

Two Distinct Ways of Loving                       170

Crime and Compassion                                 171

Obedience to Law                                          178

On Legitimacy                                                181

Diagnosing the Case                                     181

Part III:  The Growing of Roots                   185

Method for Inspiring                                      185

Classification of Means of Education           188

Authority Attaching to a Symbol                  191

French Revolution                                          193

People of Color                                                195

On Inspiration                                                 195

Free French                                                     196

On Writing and the Use of Words                 197

State of the Mind of the French                    198

More on Words                                               198-199

Medium-Quality Motives                               199

Reflection on Effects                                      200

On Circumstances                                           201

Three Kinds of Responsibility                       202

The Value of Orders                                       203

On  the Technical Side of Things                203

Military Objectives                                         203

Britain and France                                         204

Transmission of Truths                                 205

On Action                                                        206

Reflections on the Lord’s Name                    208

Transformative Actions                                  209

Transference Mechanism                              210

Methods of Action & Subversive Resistance 211

On Organizations                                           212

Spiritual Mission                                            213

Politics and Art                                               214

Method of Political Action                             215

Four Obstacles to a Worthy Civilization       216

Our Conception of Greatness                       217

On Affliction                                                   218

The Most Serious Mistakes                           219

The Romans and the Druids                          220

On Patriotism                                                   221

On History and Documents                            221

On Hitler                                                          223

On Greatness                                                  225

On Heresy and Cruelty                                   226

On Progress                                                    227

On the Romans                                               228

Teaching History                                            229

Different Forms of Greatness                        232

More on Hitler                                                  238 & 240

Modern Science                                              239

Greek Science                                                 241

Christianity, Science and Faith                     244

Scientific Research                                         249

On Faith                                                           249

Spirit of Truth                                                  251

More on Greatness                                         252

Idolatry                                                            256

Religion and Science                                      258

On Providence                                                259

Supernatural Mechanisms                            261

On Miracles                                                     263

Mystical Ecstasy                                            264

The Resurrection                                            266

Christianity and Rome                                    269

On Obedience                                                 270

Rome, Hitler                                                   272

Roman Idolatry                                                274

More on Providence                                       278

On Language                                                  280

On Reading                                                     282

On Balance and the Order of the World       283, 285

On Necessity                                                   287

On Math                                                           288

Modern Psychology                                        289

On Physical Labor                                           292

On the First and Second Renaissances        295

More on Physical Labor                                 296

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