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Gravity and Grace Paperback – November 28, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A book of Pascalian pensees, touching on many phases of the intellectual and spiritual worlds. Written in prose which is as unadorned as a geometry theorem, it bears clear personal traces of the young genius who was half icy intellectual, half mystic.”—New York Times
(New York Times)

“In these private reflections, at once pregnant and precise, and all springing out of painful depths of experience, mental pride is transmuted into spiritual insight.”—Manchester Guardian
(Manchester Guardian)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (November 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803298005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803298002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By tepi on March 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
GRAVITY AND GRACE by Simone Weil. With an Introduction by Gustave Thibon. Translated from the French by Emma Craufurd. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972 (1952) ISBN 071002262X.

'Gravity and Grace' is a slim book of (in my edition) just 160 pages which holds within itself the quintessence of the greatest spiritual genius of the 20th century. The book is a compilation of brief extracts from Simone Weil's Notebooks and was assembled by Gustav Thibon, who has also added a valuable Introduction of 30 pages, the purpose of which is simply to provide readers with some necessary background, for, as he points out, "Simone Weil's writings belong to the category of very great work which can only be weakened and spoilt by a commentary."

M.Thibon has organized these sayings into 38 chapters - Detachment, The Self, Illusions, Idolatry, Love, Evil, Violence, Contradiction, Chance, Beauty, The Great Beast, etc. (The original French edition - LA PESANTEUR ET LA GRACE (Paris: Plon, 1947) - contained an additional chapter on Israel (pp.216-221) which the English publishers, for reasons best known to themselves, have silently omitted from the 1952 English edition. Whether it has since been restored I don't know).

I purchased my own copy of this book (bibliographical details of which are given above) over thirty years ago. Although many hundreds if not thousands of books have passed through my hands since then, it remains one of five or six books I would never ever consider parting with. Simone Weil's thoughts are so truthful and of such power that one never forgets them and her book becomes one that you find yourself returning to again and again.
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94 of 108 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Simone Weil's writings were impenetrable for me in the fifties. Now I have most of her works and I am frequently amazed at how penetrating are her ideas and thoughts, and how contrary to most thinking today. That in itself recommends her. She understands people, life, and suffering, and sees its purpose. She sees through all falseness to the goodness. Simone Weil is the most honest person I know or have heard of. Yet while her classmate, Simone de Beauvoir is famous Simone Weil is relatively unknown. She loves Plato, Buddhism, Geometry, Jesus, working people, her homeland, France, but she rejected the Catholic Church, baptism, and Judaism (her background). She is a saint if there ever was one. I am profoundly grateful for having known something of her, her diamond mind, and her beautiful soul.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Josh Claytor on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I admit that since I am a student of analytic philosophy the axiomatic format made it difficult to follow the author at times. It is just not the kind of writing to which I am accustom. If you like writtings which take a thoroughly explicit and systematic approach to religious questions this book is probably not for you. Still, I think it is impossible to read this book without being moved by the power the author's holiness. I found many of these sayings profoundly beautiful (I am especially enamored with the section on love) and some unsettling but always deeply moving. I believe this is one of those rare books which can change a person's life.
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51 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
This young lady's writings and personal story blow away most other 20th Century thinkers. These are mainly short blasts. Provocative. Accessible. Yet push you further than you've likely been. Lots of ancient Christian desert hermit influence (St. Theresa, St. John of the Cross, Philokalia) on this revolutionary, radical mind. Timeless. Challenging. Simple. Confounds modernism.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sophfronia Scott on June 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simone Weil is mentioned several times in the correspondence of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz (compiled in the book "Striving Towards Being"). The favorable words of these admired authors made me curious to explore Weil's work. I started with "Gravity and Grace." For those also new to Weil's work I should point out this book is not a continuous narrative: it is a compilation of writings from the notebooks she entrusted to her friend Gustave Thibon before her death in 1943. For this reason the book reads like a series of thoughts--in some cases it seems Weil is trying to reason out a complex concept for herself in much the same way an artist might doodle or a scientist might scribble down formulas. I will admit there were parts of this book that were maddeningly confusing. However these were balanced with nuggets that I found to be entirely fresh and hopeful: "God's love for us is not the reason for which we should love him. God's love for us is the reason for us to love ourselves. How could we love ourselves without this motive?"

I read "Gravity and Grace" from beginning to end, but it doesn't have to be consumed this way. In fact I will probably come back to this material repeatedly because there are many deep thoughts here that just need to be chewed over in that way. Since it is organized by topic you can pretty much dive into it wherever you like. I say go into this book with an open mind and a sufficient appetite for spiritual discovery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By no name on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite books.

It is dark and cold, but illuminated by a heavenly wisdom.

Weil was a philosopher of the spirit. Read it over and over again. And then read her books and essays.

"In everything that gives us the pure authentic feeling of beauty there is really the presence of God. There is, as it were, an incarnation of God in the world, and it is indicated by beauty.
The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible.
Hence all art of the highest order is religious in essence. (That is what people have forgotten today.) A Gregorian melody is as powerful a witness as the death of a martyr."

"A case of contradictories which are true. God exists. God does not. Where is the problem? I am quite sure that.there is a God in the sense that I am quite sure that my love is not illusory. I am quite sure that there is not a God in the sense that I am quite sure nothing real can be anything like what I am able to conceive when I pronounce this word. But that which I cannot conceive is not an illusion."

"The errors of our time come from Christianity without the supernatural. Secularization is the cause--and primarily humanism."

"Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right through to the soul."
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