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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

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Poetry As Decreation: Impersonality and Grace in T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil

Emily M. King read

This thesis posits that however separated T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil are by circumstance, political affinity, and Church affiliation, their thoughts intersect at a crucial point. While Weil’s theory of decreation and Eliot’s notion of impersonality are often cast as theological and poetic innovations, they both hearken back to the Christian mystical tradition – specifically, the aspect of via negativa. Placed alongside one another, Weil’s poetic mysticism and Eliot’s concern for the spiritual reveal the capacity of poems to decreate and bring the reader to a moment of void that awaits the fulfillment of grace. This thesis will study these topics with express consideration of Eliot’s Four Quartets and Weil’s notebooks, especially Gravity and Grace.

Honor’s Thesis, Department of English, Stanford University, May 2019.

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Hungry for Beauty: Simone Weil’s Inversion of Kant’s Aesthetics

Lyra Koli read

This master’s dissertation argues that Simone Weil’s aesthetics can be seen as an inversion of Immanuel Kant’s, concerning the relation between natural dependency and beauty. Kant’s notions of beauty and sublimity are shown to be founded on overcoming hunger and fear, and the relevance of the immortality postulate for the Critique of the Power of Judgment is demonstrated. Following Angelica Nuzzo’s Ideal Embodiment, Kant’s aesthetics is understood as describing a transcendental embodiment, where the feeling of life is an experience of the “humanity” of man. This “humanity” is argued as exclusionary in that it rests on an overcoming of hunger and fear. Furthermore, his notions of finality without an end and disinterested pleasure are described as reinforcing the view of man’s superiority to the rest of nature. The extensive Kantian influences on Weil’s aesthetics often claimed to be mainly Platonically inspired, are presented. Through a critical examination of beauty and eating in her life and work, the common idea of her aesthetics as one of ascetic renunciation is disputed. Instead, her aesthetics is found to be a radical materialist reinterpretation of some of Kant’s central notions, particularly finality without an end and disinterested pleasure, where hunger, fear and suffering remain present. An examination of the metaphors of eating used by Weil to describe beauty illustrates how her aesthetics reverses the relation between man and his natural dependency: instead of an immortal moral humanity, free from hunger and fear, the center of her aesthetics is the very mortal muddle Kant ostensibly overcame. For Weil, beauty is not an outline for man’s superiority; instead, it makes it possible for us to love the fact that we are not all, but part of the world of eating and being eaten.

Philosophy: Aesthetics and Art Theory: Kingston University, London.

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The Developmental Stages of Simone Weil’s Political Philosophy: From Pacifism to a Justification of Force

Ian J.D. Baker read

Maynooth University (Ireland), MA