Wallingford, Pennsylvania: Pendle Hill Pamphlets (No. 91), 1956. First edition thus. Pamphlet. Stapled wraps, 5 x 7.5 inches, 39 pp. Minor toning to wrappers, else fine. Item #14
First edition of Simone Weil’s (1909–1943) critical essay, as issued by Pendle Hill Pamphlets, which submits Homer’s epic poem, Iliad, to her concept of force. First written in the summer and autumn of 1940 after the fall of France, Weil’s essay was originally published under the pseudonym “Emile Novis” in the December 1940 and January 1941 issues of the Marseilles literary monthly, Cahiers du Sud. It was later published by Dwight Macdonald in the November 1945 issue of politics and, thereafter, printed in pamphlet form. This 1956 pamphlet was first issued by Pendle Hill, a Quaker study center, in a small run of 5,000 copies, and it was thereafter reprinted in 1959 (3,000 copies) and again in 1962 (3,000 copies). Written as it was upon the fall of France, Weil’s essay may be read as a commentary on the tragedy of war and as a meditation in the tradition of pacifism. In the years following her untimely death in 1943, Weil’s essay would be recognized and celebrated for its novel and passionate interpretation of Homer’s epic. Among Weil’s finest work, The Iliad, or, the Poem of Force offers an enduring reflection on the evil and futility of war and conflict.