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Forthcoming: 41st Annual American Weil Society Colloquy: “Translations of Beauty: Simone Weil and Literature” (March 17-19, 2022)

Sophie Bourgault

Transcendent Rebellion: The Influence of Simone Weil on Albert Camus’ Esthetics

Philip D. Bunn read

ABSTRACT: The relationship between the thought of Albert Camus and Simone Weil has been partially explored by scholars since their deaths. However, current scholarship does not fully explain the influence Weil’s life and work had on Camus’ esthetics, a full treatment of which is necessary to truly understand the significance of Camus’ adoption of the idea of the rebel as artist. Camus’ thought progresses significantly from his early esthetics of the will in his Essay on Music, affirming art as fundamentally an egoistic act, to a later esthetics of transcendence, affirming the selflessness of artistic rebellion.

This paper argues that Camus’ development both mirrors Weil’s own philosophical development and corresponds to Camus’ exposure to and assimilation of Weil’s thought on decreation, beauty, and the transcendent. By establishing that Camus’ development in his esthetic and political theories corresponds to his exposure to and praise of Weil, I argue that Weil’s influence on Camus explains his later turn away from Nietzsche and to the affirmation of human nature, beauty in the world, and selfless rebellion and creation.

Perspectives on Political Science (Nov. 2021)

Philip Bunn is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research brings both ancient and modern political thought to bear on contemporary issues, with a focus on normative questions relating to technology.

What Becomes of Agency in a More-Than-Human World?

Jane Bennett & Simone Kotva

This session explores alternative accounts of agency in stories that borrow their warp from dependency rather than autonomy and their weft from receptivity and passivity rather than effort and power-over.  It is from this perspective that we greet the promise — but also the problem — of mysticism and new materialism.  We think with those practices through which feelings of self-sufficiency are abandoned and what is experienced is a state of openness to the more-than-human: spiritual and divine, but also animal, vegetable, and mineral.

Hosted by Simone Weil denkkollektiv {by invitation only}

Jane Bennett is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in Humanities at Johns Hopkins University

Simone Kotva is on the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.

The Actor & Scholar in Conversation: Simona Giurgea and E. Jane Doering on Simone Weil

Lewes Public Library event read

Simone Weil’s “The Iliad or the Poem of Force” is a profound exploration of the power of force and the hubris of mankind in attempting to control it to our advantage. Force is inherently destructive, and we risk it overwhelming us when we unleash it upon ourselves. This two-part essay, published in the Cahiers du Sud in 1940 – 41, is every bit as relevant today in all human interactions, from the interpersonal to the geopolitical.

Join us for a discussion of this piece by Professor Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and renowned Weil scholar Dr. E. Jane Doering and Simona Girugea, Senior Lecturer in of the University Theatre at Colgate University, who adapted this writing into a compelling one-woman dramatization (performed at the library on Friday, October 15). Hosted by Ron Collins, Senior Editor of ATTENTION. The discussion will probe this compelling essay in depth. The conversation will be followed by a reception sponsored ATTENTION.

E. Jane Doering is professor emerita of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame University. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 19th and 20th-century French literature and culture. She also holds a Masters of Education from Goucher College and an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Notre Dame, along with a Diplôme d’études from La Sorbonne, Paris. She received the Notre Dame Kaneb Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. Her books include When Fiction and Philosophy Meet: A Conversation with Flannery O’Connor and Simone Weil (2019), Simone Weil and the Specter of Self-perpetuating Force (2010), and The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil (2014). She has authored over three dozen articles in English, French, and Italian on the multi-dimensional thought of Simone Weil, and delivered numerous talks in the USA, Canada, France, Italy, and Israel. Her professional responsibilities include being a longstanding member in an advisory capacity of the American Weil Society and of the international Association pour l’étude de la pensée de Simone Weil. She is also on the board of advisors of ATTENTION.

Lewes Public Library, October 16, 2021

NOTE: this session is available to attend in-person or through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER and indicate which you prefer.