Simone Weil

The Need for Roots

The Need for Roots

Prelude to a Declaration of Obligations towards the Human Being


An icon of twentieth-century French philosophy, Simone Weil was described by André Gide as 'the patron saint of all outsiders' and by Albert Camus as 'the only great spirit of our time'. In this, one of her last and best-known works, she offers a vision of what human life could be - where the needs of our bodies are met and the needs of the soul, too, are better known and nurtured.

Written in 1943, when France was occupied and Weil was working in the offices of the Free France in London, The Need for Roots responds to a plea both timely and timeless: what can satisfy the cry of our hearts for justice? In the same decade that saw the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Weil argues that rights alone are inadequate to the task - and encourages her contemporaries not to repeat the mistakes of the French Revolution and the malaise of modern life. The alternative she offers has intrigued and inspired generations of readers since.

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