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A review of The Subversive Simone Weil

It’s a commonplace to note the contradictions in Simone Weil’s life. She was an anarchist and a conservative, a pacifist and a war fighter, a French patriot and a critic of France, a Jew who was buried in the Catholic section of an English cemetery. Robert Zaretsky believes that these contradictions reflect “inevitable tensions” that arose as Weil inhabited her philosophical convictions. For her, philosophy could not be a merely academic discipline; it had to be a “way of life.” You had to accept the consequences of the truth you told, had to live them out, and that was complicated.