Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Dr. Càlin-Andrei Mihailescu


The work of Simone Weil has helped shape a new understanding of theology and social philosophy for contemporary thought. This thesis unpacks Weil’s metaphysics in order to bring it into dialogue with theory, theology, and modern literature. Specifically, it considers a search for transcendence in the context of Samuel Beckett’s Molloy and James Joyce’s Ulysses. The first objective is to provide an analysis of Weil’s mystic philosophy, to which end special attention is paid to her treatment of metaxu, kenosis, and décréation. A second concern is how these concepts function in texts which present God as an absence, and the relationship between this absence and the (de)construction of subjectivity. Finally, the focus shifts to the various roles that linguistics, epiphenomenology, and metaphysics play in an aesthetics which reconciles the transcendental with matter. Framing such a discussion around Simone Weil allows for the avoidance of God’s existence as predicated upon presence, while offering a mystical hermeneutic for literature in which God has been displaced by the transcendental mystery of the human interior.



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