Books: Suicidal Hunger Artist

SIMONE WEIL: A LIFE

by SIMONE PÉTREMENT

577 pages. Pantheon. $15.

Simone Weil died Aug. 24, 1943, in a Middlesex, England, hospital. The death certificate satisfied the requirements of science: "myocardial degeneration of the heart muscles due to starvation and pulmonary tuberculosis." The needs of the law were fulfilled at the official inquiry: "The deceased did kill and slay herself by refusing to eat whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed." Neither statement could satisfy those who knew Simone Weil as a philosopher, teacher, factory worker, soldier, writer and friend. Her...

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