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

4.56 of 5 stars 4.56  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  5 reviews
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 t ...more
Paperback, 130 pages
Published May 26th 2006 by Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften (first published March 2003)
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Jun 28, 2008 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: essays
If you want to preserve romantic notions of The Iliad as work exalting Homeric-sized heroes, do not read Weil's book. In a nutshell, Weil argues that the "force" of war turns combatants into "stone." And she backs up that claim, to devastating effect, with a detailed and compelling close reading of The Iliad itself, focusing on patterns of figurative language presenting Achilles, Ajax, et al as everything but human. And though it is very much an "academic" book, Weil writes (at least in this tra ...more
Extraordinarily lucid. My favorite part is how Weil drives home the fact that Eastern philosophies actively embody the notion of karmic balance in how human lives and societies navigate their relationship with others, whereas in "Occidental" cultures, we have denigrated words involving balance to technical terms like measure, limit, balance, etc.

The whole notion of this poem illustrates how those who would kill, are killed. Those who think they control, are controlled. Those who think they can h
Aug 02, 2008 Nat added it
Weil claims that the Iliad's subject matter is force, and the way it turns human beings who come into contact with it (either by wielding it or being victimized by it) into objects--either dead bodies, or slaves. Anyone who thinks that they're in control of force, because they're currently victorious, is deluded. Eventually they will be overthrown by force as well. There are glimpses of an alternative form of life in the Iliad, represented by "warm baths" and peaceful domestic life.
John E. Branch Jr.
My personal favorite among the biographies of and texts by Simone Weil that I've read. The author herself can be hard to categorize; so can this book. It may suffice to call her a teacher, philosopher, and social activist, as the publisher's description does, and to describe the book as an iconoclastic study of Homer's Iliad as well as a profound meditation on war.
Jacob Russell
A brilliant misreading of the Iliad. Weil, this modern gnostic, has dissected the nature of "force" in a few pages... pages rolled, set aflame, igniting the fagots beneath you: read Weil and burn.
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