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A Philosophical Anthropology Drawn from Simone Weil's Life and Writings

Synopsis : "A Philosophical Anthropology Drawn from Simone Weil’s Life & Writings situates Weil’s thought in the time between the two world wars through which she lived, and traces Weil’s consistent conception of a mind-body dualism in the Cartesian sense to a dualism that places the mind within a carnal part of the soul and establishes an eternal part of the soul as the essence of human beings. Helen Cullen argues that in Weil’s early conception of human nature, her Cartesian conception of perception already shows a glimpse of the eternal. Weil’s dualistic conception also forms the basis of her political analysis of the left of her time, and through working in factories and in the fields, she develops a conception of labour as a theory of “action” and “work with a method.” Weil was influenced by leading thinkers of her time, prompting her to do an analysis of current scientific theories. Cullen argues that Weil’s analysis of Christianity, already present in Greek philosophy, shows us a theory of “identical thought” inherited from the East (India and China) and brought forth by peoples around Israel. This theory leads to Weil’s analysis, developed in The Need for Roots, of how we’ve been uprooted through colonization and how we can grow roots in a free local society (both rural and urban). [-Helen E. Cullen-] ..."



Simone Weil Portrait of a Self-exiled Jew

Synopsis : "Over fifty years after her death, Simone Weil (1909-1943) remains one of the most searching religious inquirers and political thinkers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus said she had a "madness for truth." She rejected her Jewishness and developed a strong interest in Catholicism, although she never joined the Catholic church. Both an activist and a scholar, she constantly spoke out against injustice and aligned herself with workers, with the colonial poor in France, and with the opressed everywhere. She came to believe that suffering itself could be a way to unity with God, and her death at thirty-four has been recorded as suicide by starvation. This extraordinary study is primarily a topography of Weil's mind, but Thomas Nevin is persuaded that her thought is inextricably bound to her life and dramatic times. Thus, he not only addresses her thoughts and her prejudices but examines her reasons for entertaining them and gives them a historical focus. He claims that to Weil's generation the Spanish War, the Popular Front, the ascendance of Hitlerism, and the Vichy years were not mere backdrops but definitive events. Nevin explores in detail not only matters of continuing interest, such as Weil's leftist politics and her attempt to embrace Christianity, but also hitherto unexamined aspects of her life and work which permit a deeper understanding of her: her writings on science, her work as a poet and dramatist, and her selective friendships. The thread uniting these topics is her struggle to maintain her independence as a free thinker while resisting community such as Judaism could have offered her. Her intellectual struggles eloquently reveal the desperate isolation of Jews torn between the lure of assimilation and the tormented dignity of their communal history. Nevin's massive research draws on the full range of essays, notebooks, and fragments from the Simone Weil archives in Paris, many of which have never been translated or published. Originally published in 1991. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value. [-Thomas R. Nevin-] ..."



Three Women in Dark Times Edith Stein, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil

Synopsis : "Three women, all philosophers, all of Jewish descent, provide a human face for a decade of crisis in this powerful and moving book. The dark years when the Nazis rose to power are here seen through the lives of Edith Stein, a disciple of Husserl and author of La science et la croix, who died in Auschwitz in 1942; Hannah Arendt, pupil of Heidegger and Jaspers and author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, who unhesitatingly responded to Hitler by making a personal commitment to Zionism; and Simone Weil, a student of Alain and author of La pesanteur et la grâce.Following her subjects from 1933 to 1943, Sylvie Courtine-Denamy recounts how these three great philosophers of the twentieth century endeavored with profound moral commitment to address the issues confronting them. Condemned to exile, they not only sought to understand a horrible reality, but also attempted to make peace with it. To do so, Edith Stein and Simone Weil encouraged a stoic acceptance of necessity while Hannah Arendt argued for the capacity for renewal and the need to fight against the banality of evil.Courtine-Denamy also describes how as a student each woman caught the eye of her famous male teacher, yet dared to criticize and go beyond him. She explores each one's sense of her femininity, her position on the "woman question," and her relation to her Jewishness. "All three," the author writes, "are compelling figures who move us with their fierce desire to understand a world out of joint, reconcile it with itself, and, despite everything, love it." [-Sylvie Courtine-Denamy-] ..."



Political Ecumenism Catholics, Jews, and Protestants in De Gaulle’s Free France, 1940-1945

Synopsis : "Adams examines the contributions of such major Français libres as René Cassin, Pierre Mendès France, and Jacques Soustelle and explores de Gaulle's troubled relations with Churchill and Roosevelt. The opportunity for Gaullists to offer full membership to the fourth religious family, Algeria's Muslim majority, following the liberation of French North Africa is also considered. In an epilogue, Adams reflects on the impact of Free France's political ecumenism in the postwar era. [-Geoffrey Adams-] ..."



On the Abolition of All Political Parties

Synopsis : "An NYRB Classics Original Simone Weil—philosopher, activist, mystic—is one of the most uncompromising of modern spiritual masters. In “On the Abolition of All Political Parties” she challenges the foundation of the modern liberal political order, making an argument that has particular resonance today, when the apathy and anger of the people and the self-serving partisanship of the political class present a threat to democracies all over the world. Dissecting the dynamic of power and propaganda caused by party spirit, the increasing disregard for truth in favor of opinion, and the consequent corruption of education, journalism, and art, Weil forcefully makes the case that a true politics can only begin where party spirit ends. This volume also includes an admiring portrait of Weil by the great poet Czeslaw Milosz and an essay about Weil’s friendship with Albert Camus by the translator Simon Leys. [-Simone Weil-] ..."