“Simone Weil for Americans”

Christy Wampole read

Los Angeles Review of Books (April 26, 2021)


The Weil Conjectures

Brian Hayes read

Sample: “. . . . Before going further I should make clear that The Weil Conjectures is not a textbook or a scholarly monograph. It is not addressed to an audience of mathematicians. But it raises questions about relations between mathematics and society that may well be of interest to the mathematical community. This issue is commonly discussed in terms of outreach—the challenge of communicating research-level mathematics to the public. In Olsson’s case it also becomes a question of reach: how can we help someone who feels a powerful attraction to mathematical ideas but cannot negotiate the rugged terrain of prerequisite knowledge?

The heart of Olsson’s book is a personal essay, in which she describes her own intense and turbulent encounters with the world of mathematics. That narrative is braided into the stories of the Weil siblings—whose lives were also marked by intensity and turbulence. . . .”

Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 68, no. 2 (Feb. 2021) (book review)


Simone Weil Bibliography

Saundra Lipton read

Although Simone Weil died very young at age 34, her essays and notebooks have been the topic of a significant volume of scholarship from a wide variety of disciplines including Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Nursing, Political Science, History, Psychology, Education, and Business.  However, the last comprehensive bibliography of critical works on Simone Weil compiled by J.P. Little, dates back to 1973 with a supplement in 1979 and a small update in 1995.  The diversity and range of this ongoing scholarship make an updated comprehensive bibliography critically important for those writing on Weil and her work.

Saundra Lipton, University of Calgary, and Debra Jensen, Mount Royal University have been active collaborators (till Debra’s untimely death July 15, 2012) in the compilation of a comprehensive bibliography of scholarly works on Simone Weil.  The goal of this project is to provide a valuable service to scholars and students in many fields by facilitating access to Weilian resources across disciplinary, geographic, and linguistic divides.  Publications worldwide have been surveyed. Over 5500 works have been discovered.  This online version of the bibliography currently lists more than 5000 book, essays, journal articles, and theses.

I dedicate my continuing efforts on this project to the memory of my dear friend and colleague Debra Jensen.

University of Calgary online library of resources


Weil and Wittgenstein in Winch’s “Reading”: Philosophy as a Way of Life

Francesca R. Recchia Luciani read

Abstract:  Peter Winch’s study Simone Weil: The Just Balance adopts a heuristic method through which Weil’s philosophical and religious thought is illuminated by surprising parallels with some concepts developed independently by Wittgenstein. The comparative analysis illustrates that for both these Socratic philosophers, theory corresponds to daily experience, a real “way of life” which in itself gives rise to an ethical-philosophical pragmatics that informs the most intimate ontological dimensions, encapsulating in their thought the meaning of their whole life.

Michael Campbell & Lynette Reid, eds., Ethics, Society and Politics: Themes from the Philosophy of Peter Winch (2020), pp 149-166.


The Play’s the Thing: On Simone Weil’s Venice Saved

Ronald KL Collins read

Excerpt: With Venice Saved, yet another of Weil’s unfinished works is resurrected, and happily so. Early on, Albert Camus recognized in Weil a great mind that wrestled, as did his, with fundamental problems of the human condition. And so he arranged to publish 11 of the first Weil books to be released by Gallimard. There was also Gustave Thibon, who culled portions of her journals and organized them topically, and with a Catholic bent, in Gravity and Grace (La Pesanteur et la grâce). Others followed suit in piecing together her writings on topics ranging from colonialism to mysticism and from political philosophy to physics.

Enter Silvia Panizza and Philip Wilson, who are the first to translate into English Weil’s three-act tragic play, including eight pages of revealing extracts from the author’s notebooks that sketch out her ideas about the direction of the play, which was almost complete. Panizza and Wilson also add explanatory commentaries and endnotes to fill in a number of the blanks left open by Weil. In most cases, these notes are quite insightful and helpful. Sometimes, however, the editors’ scholastic asides distract from the main focus of the play (e.g., on the question of whether Weil was a “feminist” or whether her views match up with Sudhir Hazareesingh’s “five characteristics of French thought”). Even so, their translation and admirably researched presentation of Venice Saved fill a gap in the Weil literature and contribute much to the mosaic — at once philosophical, political, and mystical — of her legacy.

Los Angeles Review of Books, August 28, 2019.


Book Review: Marie Cabaud Meaney, “Simone Weil’s Apologetic Use of Literature: Her Christological Interpretations of Ancient Greek Texts”

Clifford Ando read

Modern Philology, vol. 109, no. 3