Simone’s Svengalis: A Petainist, a Missionary, and the Making of Simone Weil

Benjamin Braude read


Two of the first books published in the name of the brilliant absolutist Simone Weil (1909-43), La Pesanteur el la Grâce (Gravity and Grace) (1947/8) and Attente au Dieu (Waiting on/for God) (1950), were tendentiously fashioned. Consequently, the packaging that her Svengalis—the Petainist Gustave Thibon and the missionary Joseph-Marie Perrin—imposed, so severely distorted her thought that the first is no longer considered by French specialists to be her own work and the second has no stable text. Nevertheless, these two problematic books have defined Simone Weil. This [interview] reveals the origins and purposes of the books that Thibon and Perrin created.

Boisi Center (Feb. 11, 2015).

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Benjamin Braude is an associate professor of history at Boston College. His research focuses on the construction of collective identities in the Middle East and Europe, as well as Jewish and Ottoman history. He spoke with Boisi Center associate director Erik Owens before his presentation on the controversial legacy of 20th-century philosopher Simone Weil at the Boisi Center.