The Redemption of Tragedy

The Literary Vision of Simone Weil

By Katherine T. Brueck

Subjects: Spirituality
Series: SUNY series, Simone Weil Studies
Paperback : 9780791422823, 185 pages, December 1994
Hardcover : 9780791422816, 185 pages, January 1995

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Table of contents

Introduction: Tragedy and the Supernatural

1. The Sacramental Poetics of Simone Weil

2. Simone Weil and Christian Tragedy

3. Tragedy of Calamity and the Sacred: Antigone and King Lear

4. Tragedy of Crime and the Sacred: Oedipus Rex and Phèdre

Conclusion: Toward a Transcultural Poetics

Works Cited



Simone Weil's supernaturalist interpretations of tragedy challenge not only the philosophical skepticism but also the religious rationalism characteristic of the modern age.

This book boldly points out a supernaturalist alternative to contemporary, post-structuralist literary theory. This study of classical tragic drama offers a sacralizing impetus to secular discussions of literature. The book's Platonic premises and its grounding in the transcendental outlook of the religious traditions furnish a sacred illumination. Religious mystery and the cross of Christ both overshadow and deepen philosophical approaches to literary criticism, including theories of tragedy.

Simone Weil's conception of tragic art, rooted in a mystical Christian metaphysics, offers original insight into the nature of tragedy. In contradiction of the prevailing secular outlook, Weil regards classical tragedy as a sacred art form. Tragic masterpieces evoke not the chaotic or irrational, as modernist interpreters hold, but rather a good which is absolute

Katherine T. Brueck is Associate Professor of English, Mount St. Mary's College. She has published articles in a variety of humanistic disciplines.


"Brueck argues that Weil allows us to see in tragedies a 'heartrending but purposeful world order' at work; mystery, not absurdity, suprarational good rather than chaos or irrationality. This book contributed to my understanding and reading of tragedy." — Christine Ann Evans, Lesley College