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Known as the “patron saint of all outsiders,” Simone Weil (1909–43) was one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable thinkers, a philosopher who truly lived by her political and ethical ideals. In a short life framed by the two world wars, Weil taught philosophy to lycée students and organized union workers, fought alongside anarchists during the Spanish Civil War and labored alongside workers on assembly lines, joined the Free French movement in London and died in despair because she was not sent to France to help the Resistance.
Though Weil published little during her life, after her death, thanks largely to the efforts of Albert Camus, hundreds of pages of her manuscripts were published to critical and popular acclaim. While many seekers have been attracted to Weil’s religious thought, Robert Zaretsky gives us a different Weil, exploring her insights into politics and ethics, and showing us a new side of Weil that balances her contradictions—the rigorous rationalist who also had her own brand of Catholic mysticism; the revolutionary with a soft spot for anarchism yet who believed in the hierarchy of labor; and the humanitarian who emphasized human needs and obligations over human rights. Reflecting on the relationship between thought and action in Weil’s life, The Subversive Simone Weil honors the complexity of Weil’s thought and speaks to why it matters and continues to fascinate readers today.
Robert Zaretsky’s books include Boswell’s Enlightenment, A Life Worth Living, Catherine & Diderot, and The Subversive Simone Weil, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press. A columnist for the Jewish Daily Forward, he is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, the Times Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Slate. Zaretsky lives in Houston with his wife and children.
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 04/05/2023 - 12:00am
On Sale: 04/05/2023 - 12:00am
Biography & Autobiography / Philosophers
Philosophy / History & Surveys / Modern