Simone Weil Rachel Bespaloff Christopher E.G. Benfey Hermann Broch
War and the Iliad
September 14, 2019 Comments.. 959
War and the Iliad Simone Weil Rachel Bespaloff Christopher E.G. Benfey Hermann Broch War and the Iliad is a perfect introduction to the range of Homer s art as well as a provocative and rewarding demonstration of the links between literature, philosophy, and questions of life and death.Simone Weil s The Iliad, or the Poem of Force is one of her most celebrated works an inspired analysis of Homer s epic that presents a nightmare vision of combat as a machiWar and the Iliad is a perfect introduction to the range of Homer s art as well as a provocative and rewarding demonstration of the links between literature, philosophy, and questions of life and death.Simone Weil s The Iliad, or the Poem of Force is one of her most celebrated works an inspired analysis of Homer s epic that presents a nightmare vision of combat as a machine in which all humanity is lost First published on the eve of war in 1939, the essay has often been read as a pacifist manifesto Rachel Bespaloff was a French contemporary of Weil s whose work similarly explored the complex relations between literature, religion, and philosophy She composed her own distinctive discussion of the Iliad in the midst of World War II calling it her method of facing the war and, as Christopher Benfey argues in his introduction, the essay was very probably written in response to Weil Bespaloff s account of the Iliad brings out Homer s novelistic approach to character and the existential drama of his characters choices it is marked, too, by a tragic awareness of how the Iliad speaks to times and places where there is no hope apart from war This edition brings together these two influential essays for the first time, accompanied by Benfey s scholarly introduction and an afterword by the great Austrian novelist Hermann Broch.. War and the Iliad War and the Iliad is a perfect introduction to the range of Homer s art as well as a provocative and rewarding demonstration of the links between literature philosophy and questions of life and deat
  • Title: War and the Iliad
  • Author: Simone Weil Rachel Bespaloff Christopher E.G. Benfey Hermann Broch
  • ISBN: 9781590171455
  • Page: 409
  • Format: Paperback
  • War and the Iliad Simone Weil Rachel Bespaloff Christopher E.G. Benfey Hermann Broch

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    1 Blog on “War and the Iliad

    1. Eric says:

      An inexhaustible little collection, in which three heavyweights, all war refugees Simone Weil, Rachel Bespaloff, and Hermann Broch seek the meaning of their own dark times in the verses of Homer.For those dreamers who considered that force, thanks to progress, would soon be a thing of the past, the Iliad could appear as a historical document for others, whose powers of recognition are acute and who perceive force, today as yesterday, at the very center of human history, the Iliad is the purest [...]

    2. Hadrian says:

      Simone Weil s essay was brilliant, and I feel sorry for those poor authors who had their work put after it Only partly a work of classical scholarship and of a prose poem on the dehumanizing use of force in war It s powerful, tortured, a means for Weil to grapple with the events unfolding around her in France 1940.

    3. Tristan says:

      Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus son Achilleusand its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong soulsof heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feastingof dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplishedsince that time when first there stood in division of conflictAtreus son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus Three vastly different essayistic approaches to The Iliad are united in this collection Th [...]

    4. Zanna says:

      Simone Weil s essay in this collection is brief and impassioned She argues that force turns people into objects in various ways most obviously by killing, but also through the threat of force apparent in relations of domination Weil does not argue that this destroys the soul , but that the soul must be in agony when forced to live inside an object To me this seems quite descriptive, preventing the argument from falling totally into abstraction the slave s situation keeps tears on tap for him The [...]

    5. Alan says:

      Mary McCarthy s translation of Weil s Iliad, or the Poem of Force I first read in a house McCarthy had visited, as had Elizabeth Bishop it was the house of their Vassar 33 classmate, and my departmental colleague Rhoda Sheehan on River Road, Westport Harbor I noted that even the quotations of the Iliad trans from French are the best I d read McCarthy enlightened with her expert French, as did Rhoda with her German major she had seen Hitler in his car as she walked in Berlin after curfew For fort [...]

    6. James Murphy says:

      Just prior to World War II and in the early years of the war, as the world tipped into chaos, two remarkable writers, Simone Weil and Rachel Bespaloff, wrote independently and brilliantly about the Iliad Their insights were similar and yet looked at the poem from completely different angles.Simone Weil was concerned with force and the Iliad as a story of war The hero is force, she says, the ways in which men oppress other men The Iliad is about power but the truth is no one in the poem really po [...]

    7. Neal Adolph says:

      Can I do that thing where I give this book three stars but now tell you that I would much rather give it 3.5 I suspect my judgement will settle down towards a comfortable 3 as times passes, though In this short collection of three essays, two of which mostly focus on The Iliad and one of which attempts to explain one of the essays, there are about two great essays One is spectacular Simone Weil s is wonderful, and adds substantially to my appreciation and understanding of the great epic Indeed, [...]

    8. Tom says:

      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 translation g [...]

    9. Lucy Barnhouse says:

      This is a stunning work lucid, passionate, and provocative One can hold aloof from Weil s concluding generalizations about culture and literary greatness though I do agree that the Iliad is a miracle and still be deeply engaged by her insightful and impassioned interpretation of the poem I read it first in English, and then in French, and discovered that it loses a great deal in translation at least in the old Pendle Hill translation I read perhaps the new NYRB edition is better Still it makes a [...]

    10. Jim says:

      This book consists of two essays Simone Weill s The Iliad, or the Poem of Force and Rachel Bespaloff s On the Iliad, together with a shorter essay by the Austrian novelist Hermann Broch entitled The Style of the Mythical Age On Rachel Bespaloff While I found the Broch essay misfiring at times, the Weil and Bespaloff essays written around the same time complement each other beautifully.In Homer s The Iliad, Weil sees an image of the violence that Europe was falling into before and during World Wa [...]

    11. Ryan says:

      Two essays Simone Weil s The Ilaid, or the Poem of Force, and Rachel Bespaloff s On the Iliad There s also a small third essay that s a discussion of the Bespaloff piece The Weil essay is a hard edged consideration of the psychological and emotional effects of war, not just on warriors, but on everyone it touches It argues that the Iliad, unlike any work of Western literature since, truly lays bare the brutal consequence of exposure to indiscriminate, violent death This essay has a place in any [...]

    12. Melody says:

      By bringing together Weil s impassioned exploration of violence and Bespaloff s celebration of the domestic heroism of the Hospitality code, Christopher Benfey creates one of the most satisfying and beautiful works of criticism I ve ever read Both of these essays are a joy to read Though Weil s essay may not be convincing criticism, it is a powerful example of the way in which a critic s personal experience and cultural location influence the way we read a text This book offers me a model of fai [...]

    13. Karl Hallbjörnsson says:

      Reading these essays at the same time as I ve begun reading the Iliad Extremely well written Weil is a brilliant writer, Bespaloff as well It s a shame they both died so young.

    14. Mrs. Bunny says:

      Weil s essay 3.5Bespaloff s essay 2.5

    15. Seward Park Branch Library, NYPL says:

      An incredible collection of essays on the Iliad Written in 1939, Simone Weil s approach to The Iliad is a powerful statement ruminating on the circularity of force violence begets violence rather than a sharp analysis of The Iliad Force is ruthless in that it leaves neither the victim nor its victor unmolested The humanity of both players is destroyed as they are transformed into pure passivity, inert matter, as blind force as its way Weil s essay is Europe s last cry for help, appealing to the [...]

    16. Andrew Fairweather says:

      An incredible collection of essays on the Iliad Written in 1939, Simone Weil s approach to The Iliad is a powerful statement ruminating on the circularity of force violence begets violence rather than a sharp analysis of The Iliad Force is ruthless in that it leaves neither the victim nor its victor unmolested The humanity of both players is destroyed as they are transformed into pure passivity, inert matter, as blind force as its way Weil s essay is Europe s last cry for help, appealing to the [...]

    17. David says:

      Weil s essay is utterly brilliant, and it also caused me to appreciate the Iliad much so than I did as a child Bespaloff s essay is good, but it really can t compare to Weil s strong philosophical take on mankind and force I thought about buttering up this review with flowery language, but there is no need It s simply brilliant I wish Weil s work was not so difficult to get a hold of financially speaking.

    18. John Jr. says:

      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.

    19. August says:

      Simone Weil s slim volume is all Christopher Hedges needed in order to write his book, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

    20. Mia says:

      Force is that which makes a thing of anybody who comes under its sway When exercised to the full, it makes a thing of man in the most literal sense, for it makes him a corpse.

    21. Jacob Rouse says:

      THE ILIAD, OR THE POEM OR FORCESimone WeilThe true hero, the true subject, the center of the Iliad is force Force employed by man, force that enslaves man, force by which man s flesh shrinks away To define force it is that x that turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thingFor those dreamers who considered that force, thanks to progress, would soon be a thing of the past, the Iliad could appear as an historical document for others, whose powers of recognition are acute and who perceive for [...]

    22. Al Maki says:

      For me, Weil s essay is deeply moving and has what I can only call a moral urgency.

    23. Dylan Winchell says:

      I ll start this short review with the disclaimer that I did not read the final essay by Hermann Broch, and I skipped a chapter in Bespaloff s essay entitled Troy and Moscow.I quite enjoyed Weil s essay I found it accessible, the was language intelligent, and the topic focused It was short enough to where I wasn t laboring to read it, but long enough to carry an argument statement with considerable weight Weil s prose is beautiful, and engaging to its reader you feel rewarded for reading it I did [...]

    24. ChickCounterfly says:

      The Weil essay is astoundingly bad There s a lot of verbiage, but it basically comes down to two ideas 1 the Achaeans are Nazis, and 2 Homer is a pacifist She stops just one inch short of calling Homer a Christian.The Gospels are the last marvelous expression of the Greek genius, as the Iliad is the first here the Greek spirit reveals itself not only in the injuction given mankind to seek above all other goods, the kingdom and justice of our Heavenly Father, but also in the fact that human suffe [...]

    25. Jeanne says:

      3.5I m not gonna lie, I didn t fall in love with Simone Weil s essay like everyone else did, but I respected it as an essay It s one I could even see myself reading again despite disagreeing with the thesis Rachel Bespaloff s character studies are what really got me, and are the real reason I ll keep this book on my shelves My only issue with her is that her last essay, comparing Christianity and the Iliad, felt like the odd one out I skimmed that one at best, and at worst skipped the last few p [...]

    26. Zach says:

      In school I read the Iliad as a story of heroes, along the lines of the Greek myths Weil s essay, charged by the devastation of France in the World Wars, reveals another side of that story the cycles of dehumanizing violence She effectively presents this theme in Homer with clear examples.However, despite the strength and style of Weil s essay, some points left me unconvinced While Homer depicted brutal violence, he also presented glory gained in battle in a way not present in Weil s interpretat [...]

    27. B. says:

      I am in the middle of reading The Iliad itself Cowper s translation , but I dived into reading this because I love Simone Weil s writings and wanted some live commentary of a sort on what is kind of a boring book boring, probably, because of the translation I chose to read Weil s little book is essentially a book review of the Iliad, but it is one that deserves its own place in the literary canon, so beautifully is it written She wrote it during WWII, when the use of force was terrifying the wor [...]

    28. Inés Chamarro says:

      Weil and Broch are interesting not so much for their interpretation of the Iliad itself as for how they project into it and reflect about their own times, in a similar way as the rewriting of Antigone by Anouilh in the same era WWII Bespaloff, I am sorry to say, lets herself be influenced by her own background into linking things that have no business being linked Comparing Helen of Troy to Anna Karenina is all well and good if you are studying Tolstoy, but not the other way around.

    29. Margot says:

      La prose de Simone Weil est un tel plaisir dans ce texte et son sujet est tellement int ressant La Force asservie autant les vaincus que les vainqueurs, la claret de son interpr tation nous pousse adapter cet argument, au del de l Iliade, dans nos soci t s actuelles Votre coeur se brise, mais vous vous sentez plus riche la fin.

    30. Rebekah Morgan says:

      I picked this up for Simone Weil and left with a great appreciation for Rachel Bespaloff.

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