At Home with Andre and Simone Weil

At Home with Andre and Simone Weil


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“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.

Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czeslaw Milosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.

Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810142626
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2020
Edition description: 1
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

SYLVIE WEIL earned degrees in classics and French literature at the Sorbonne. She was a professor of French literature and is the author of several award-winning works of fiction for adults and for young adults, including two novels published in the United States: My Guardian Angel and Elvina’s Mirror.

BENJAMIN IVRY has written biographies of Arthur Rimbaud, Maurice Ravel, and Francis Poulenc. He has translated such authors as André Gide, Jules Verne, Balthus, and Witold Gombrowicz.

Table of Contents

Plato or Diophantus
Phone Call
The Tunnel
A Normal Little Girl
The Saint's Tibia
Living with Her
Where to Find the Sugar Bowl
Who Are We Congratulating Here?
To Baptize Me or Not to Baptize Me?
The Nuns
Gelfilte Fish
A Beauty of Euclid
A Genuine Relic?
Do You Want to Come with Me?
A Two-Headed Genius
Family Portrait
Sterling Ancestors: From the Galician Side
Sterling Ancestors: From the Alsatian Side
The Wages of Sin
A Family Unglued
The Metamorphoses of a Kuckucksei
These Ruined Faces
The Garde-Meuble
A Navy Blue Beret
Pulling the Wool over Her Eyes
The Old Horse
Visitation Rights
Roots The Mirror's Eyes
Pale Petals

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