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Minor Canon

Simone Weil hat

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Simone Adolphine Weil (1909–1943) was a French philosopher, mystic, and political activist.

After her graduation from formal education, Weil became a teacher. She taught intermittently throughout the 1930s, taking several breaks because of poor health and in order to devote herself to political activism. Such work saw her assisting in the trade union movement, taking the side of the anarchists known as the Durutti Column in the Spanish Civil War, and spending more than a year working as a labourer, mostly in car factories, so that she could better understand the working class.

Weil became increasingly religious and inclined towards mysticism as her life progressed. She wrote throughout her life, although most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death. In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous in continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Her thought has continued to be the subject of extensive scholarship across a wide range of fields.

Weil's oeuvre features deliberate contradiction yet demonstrates remarkable clarity. It is value-centred and integrated but not systematic. It encompasses scattered notes of her translations of and commentaries on several ancient Greek texts, Pythagorean geometry formulae, and detailed accounts of her daily tasks within a factory; but her oeuvre is also composed of addresses to political, industrial, and religious leaders, as well as pieces intended for university students, radical militants, industrial workers, and farm laborers. In both her life and her thought—itself an unstable distinction with respect to Weil—she is a philosopher of margins and paradoxes.

In part because Weil’s thought defies categorization, the ways in which her ideas are taken up often say as much about her commentator as they do about her. She was taken as a prototype for Albert Camus’s révoltés and praised by André Gide as “the patron saint of all outsiders.” Giorgio Agamben described her conscience as “the most lucid of our times,” and Hannah Arendt claimed that perhaps only Weil treated the subject of labor “without prejudice and sentimentality.” Maurice Blanchot described Weil as an “exceptional figure” who offers “an example of certitude” in the modern world, and Iris Murdoch wrote of “a profoundly disciplined life behind her writings” that gave “an authority which cannot be imitated.” But Weil was also criticized by Leon Trotsky as a “melancholy revolutionary” and disparaged as “crazy” by Charles de Gaulle. These remarks, however, betray an irony of which Weil was well aware and about which she was deeply concerned near the end of her life, namely, that her person would be considered more than her thought.

Originally written between the early 1930s and her death in 1943 (at age 34), her significant writings translated into English include: Gravity and Grace; The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind; On Science, Necessity, & The Love of God; On the Abolition of All Political Parties; Waiting for God; A Fellowship in Love; and others. 

The design of this hat is inspired by Weil's signature, as reproduced on the cover of Harvill's 1964 hardcover English edition of A Fellowship in Love.

• 100% chino cotton twill
• Green Camo color is 35% chino cotton twill, 65% polyester
• Unstructured, 6-panel, low-profile
• 6 embroidered eyelets
• 3 ⅛” (7.6 cm) crown
• Adjustable strap with antique buckle
• Blank product sourced from Vietnam or Bangladesh