Recommended

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

Attending: An Ethical Art

Warren Heiti, editor read

Attending – patient contemplation focused on a particular being – is a central ethical activity that has not been recognized by any of the main moral systems in the European philosophical tradition. That tradition has imagined that the moral agent is primarily a problem solver and world changer when what might be needed most is a witness.

Moral theory has been agonized by dualism – motivation is analyzed into beliefs and desires, descriptions of facts and dissatisfactions with them, while action is represented as an effort to lessen dissatisfaction by altering the empirical world. In Attending Warren Heiti traces an alternative genealogy of ethics, drawing from the Platonism recovered by Simone Weil and developed in the work of Iris Murdoch, John McDowell, and Jan Zwicky. According to Weil, virtue is knowledge, knowledge is embodied, and the knower is nested in an ecosystem of relationships. Instead of analyzing and solving theoretical problems, Heiti aims to clarify the terrain by setting up objects of attention from more than one discipline, including not only philosophy but also literature, psychology, film, and visual art.

The traditional picture captures one important type of ethical activity: faced with a moral problem, one looks to a general rule to furnish the solution. But not all problems conform to this model. Heiti offers an alternative: to see what is needed, one attends to the particular being.

Warren Heiti is a Professor of philosophy and liberal studies at Vancouver Island University.

McGill-Queen’s University Press, July 15, 2021

Theatre as Creative Failure: Simone Weil’s Venise sauvée Revisited

Thomas Sojer read

Abstract: Simone Weil’s dramatic criticism and dramatic writing offer a way of reconceptualizing what it means to engage critically under fascist censorship. This essay explores her closet drama Venise sauvée as an example of her embrace of writing political resistance in a time when classical theatre criticism was absent and artistic resistance had been made futile. Simone Weil called for an awakening in the audience to acknowledge their responsibility of how they let theatre shape their way of thinking about war. I demonstrate that Weilian theatre theory does not only consider the stage an object to be analyzed, but also the very subject through whose lenses one can undertake a critical reshaping of ways to interpret the world. In this dramatic view on WW II Weil exhibits the artistic voices of resistance in occupied France as caught in its own echo chambers and thus no longer perceptible in society. The essay reads her unfinished historical tragedy Venise sauvée and its central motif of the silenced voice of resistance as an implicit warning to the contemporary théâtre resistant to become the agent of its own irrelevance. I propose that beyond this warning there lies a theory of deconstructing propaganda theatre by unleashing the creative power of theatre’s failure, namely via a distortion of the socially synchronized inner and outer stage of the audience.

Platform, Vol. 13, No. 1, On Criticism, Autumn 2019, pp. 17-30

Awaiting God: A New Translation of Attente de Dieu and Lettre a Un Religieux

Bradley Jersak (Translator) with Introduction by Sylvie Weil read

Awaiting God (Fresh Wind Press) combines a fresh translation (by Weil scholar, Brad Jersak) of Simone Weil’s Waiting for God and Letter to a Priest (Attente de Dieu and Lettre un Religieux) in one volume. These works are considered Weil’s primary essays and letters.

In addition, Simone Weil’s niece has contributed an introductory article entitled, Simone Weil and the Rabbi’s: Compassion and Tsedekah, which puts Weil’s relationship with Jewish thought into perspective. She includes source material from the Rabbis that put Weil (however reluctantly) in line with rabbinical thought throughout her major themes.

The book is the ideal English introduction to the works and thought of Simone Weil, including important preface material (by Jersak) on how to read her work, as well as her relationship to Roman Catholicism and Judaism

Table of Contents

 • Translator's Preface
 • Introduction by Sylvie Weil

Part 1 — Essays 
 1. Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies 
 in View of the Love of God 
 2. The Love of God and Affliction 
 3. Forms of the Implicit Love of God 
 a. Love of Neighbor 
 b. Love of the Order of the World 
 c. Love of Religious Practices 
 d. Friendship 
 e. Implicit and Explicit Love
 4. Concerning the Our Father 

Part 2 — Letters 
 • Preface to her letters: Weil on Catholicism and Judaism 
 5. Hesitations Prior to Baptism
 6. Hesitations Prior to Baptism
 7. Departure from France
 8. Spiritual Autobiography
 9. Intellectual Vocation
10. Last Thoughts
11. Letter to a Priest