Weil, Bespaloff, and the Iliad

War and the IliadWar and the Iliad by Simone Weil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this book mostly because of Simone Weil’s essay, and this ended up being the best part. Bespaloff’s and Hermann Broch’s essays were interesting too, but Weil’s single-minded focus on the importance of force — “that x that turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing” (3) — in the Iliad made for a compelling read. For Weil, the Iliad offers the wisdom that we cannot have complete mastery of force. We see this in the poem as “those who have force on loan from fate count on it too much and are destroyed” (15). The introduction offers some helpful commentary and shows that Weil massaged her quotations a bit to support her interpretation.

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One comment

  1. “Le plus beau, le plus pur de miroirs,” I once read somewhere that this is what Simone Weil wrote about the Iliad.I guess I ought to read this essay – it well might be the source of the quote.

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