The experience and the idea of war in the writings of Simone Weil and Marguerite Duras

Tristana Dini read

This article considers the works of Simone Weil and Marguerite Duras as witnesses and narrators of the events of the Second World War. Their two perspectives offer a first, original reflection by women intellectuals on war and violence based on direct involvement. Simone Weil construed her idea of ‘force’ from her first-hand experience of the Spanish Civil War and her participation in the French Resistance, in London. Marguerite Duras offered her personal testimony of war violence (in the French Resistance, in France) intertwining fiction and reality, wavering together autobiography and invention. Duras, in the contrary, tried to represent the unrepresentable by connecting her personal to a collective trauma.

European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire , vol. 25, no. 5 (2018), pp. 818-830

Homer and Simone Weil: The Iliad sub specie violentiae

James P. Holoka read

Simone Weil’s varied writings are chapters in an autobiography of the mind, best understood in light of the zeal with which she lived life and expressed her thoughts. Although only thirty years old in 1939/40 when she wrote “The Iliad, or The Poem of Force,” she had already confronted a wide range of fundamental issues on a philosophical plane and carried over that struggle into her personal life. The ardor she brought to her intellectual pursuits and to the particular causes to which she devoted her time and energies makes Weil an attractive subject for biographers, as the spate of works on her life and career in the last thirty years attests.


James P. Holoka, Simone Weil’s The Iliad or the Poem of Force: A Critical Edition, Peter Lang Inc. (2006).

Simone Weil’s The Iliad or the Poem of Force: A Critical Edition

Simone Weil // James P. Holoka, ed. and trans. read

Simone Weil, a brilliant young teacher, philosopher, and social activist, wrote the essay, The ‘Iliad’ or the Poem of Force at France at the beginning of World War II. Her profound meditation on the nature of violence provides a remarkably vivid and accessible testament of the Greek epic’s continuing relevance to our lives. This celebrated work appears here for the first time in a bilingual version, based on the text of the authoritative edition of the author’s complete writings. An introduction discusses the significance of the essay both in the evolution of Weil’s thought and as a distinctively iconoclastic contribution to Homeric studies. The commentary draws on recent interpretations of the Iliad and examines the parallels between Weil’s vision of Homer’s warriors and the experiences of modern soldiers.

Peter Lang, Inc. (2006)

War, Suffering, and Detachment: Reading the Bhagavad Gītā with Simone Weil

Maria Clara Bingemer read

Maria Clara Bingemer states she desires to do two things in her essay: “trace the personal and intellectual background against which Weil came to read the Gita” and “discuss some of the main themes which surface in her critical engagement with the text.”  To this end, she begins with a brief biographical overview focusing on Weil’s encounter with the Gita. She then turns to a general discussion of how the Gita served as a source of inspiration for Weil, especially in the sense of contradiction giving rise to a spiritual crisis, which can lead to religious transformation through the vehicle of grace. The next section focuses on incarnation and salvation noting similarities and differences between Hinduism and Christianity in the understanding of these. A discussion of the distinction between force and violence in Weil’s work comes next followed by an in-depth discussion of necessity, detachment, and enlightenment. The chapter concludes with a thoughtful consideration of Weil’s critique of the Gita.

The essay appears in Catherine Cornille, ed., Song Divine : Christian Commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, Leuven, Peeters (2006), pp. 69-89

ht: Simone Weil Bibliography

“Simone Weil’s Iliad

Michael Ferber

in White, George, ed., Simone Weil: Interpretations of a Life, Amherst, MA: pp. 63-86