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This review is taken from PN Review 52, Volume 13 Number 2, November - December 1986.

TWO SECULAR SAGES Simone Weil: an Anthology, edited and introduced by Siân Miles (Virago) £10.95, £5.50 pb.
Wyndham Lewis, Rotting Hill, edited with an afterword and notes by Paul Edwards (Black Sparrow) $12.50 pb.


God and truth are such words; also justice, love and good. It is dangerous to use words of this kind. They are like an ordeal . . . words like right, democracy and person are more accommodating.
                     - 'Human Personality', 1943

It would seem that man is born a slave and that servitude is his natural condition.
  - 'Analysis of Oppression', Reflections on the Causes of Liberty and Social Oppression, 1934

And yet nothing in the world can hinder man from feeling he is born for liberty.
                        - 'Theoretical Picture of a Free Society', ibid.


The quality of the mind of Simone Weil (1909-1943) is evident even in such brief quotations: intelligence, passion for justice, sense of drama, assertion - without sentimentality - of things sacred.

Between the dates of the two works cited, an important change took place in Weil's thought: from non-believer she became a believer, specifically in the divinity of Christ, and in several of the great religions as sources of revelation of one and the same truth. But there is a continuity in her philosophy. She began, after all, as a socialist, and socialism comes out of the ethics of Christianity, as Lewis observes in Rotting Hill.

If after her conversion she continues to argue from reason rather than revelation, the explanation may be found in her inclination to dualism. The universe, including our bodies and psyches, is ...


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