Simone Weil (2473 words)


Simone Weil was born in Paris on 3 February 1909, into a bourgeois family of non-practising Jews. Her father, a doctor, was of Alsatian origin, her mother of Austrian descent. After early ill-health, Simone flourished in the cultured, secular family atmosphere, as did her brother André, who showed precocious mathematical genius. A period of self-doubt in her teens, brought on by what she perceived to be her inability to enter into the world of genius where truth abides, was resolved when she suddenly had the conviction that any individual, no matter how limited his faculties, could enter that realm “si seulement il désire la vérité et fait perpétuellement un effort d’attention pour l’atteindre” [“if only he desires …

Citation: Little, Patricia. "Simone Weil". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 August 2008 [, accessed 20 October 2020.]

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