Simone Weil

Simone Weil

Simone Weil, the daughter of a doctor, was born in Paris, France, in 1909. A member of a prosperous Jewish family Weil studied at the Lycée Fénelon (1920-24), Lycée Victor Duruy (1924-25) and Lycée Hebri IV (1925-28) before entering the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1928.

At university Weil developed radical political views and was known as the 'Red Virgin'. After graduating she taught at schools in Le Puy, Auxeterre, Roanne, Bourges and Saint-Quentin. Weil also worked as a factory worker for Renault in order to discover what it was like to be a member of the working class. She also served as a volunteer with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.

During the Second World War the Weil family left Paris and went to live in Marseilles before moving to the United States.

Weil moved to London in November 1942, where he joined General D and his government in exile. She wanted to return to the front-line but because of her poor health she worked for the minister of the interior preparing for the postwar social reconstruction of France.

Simone Weil died of a combination of tuberculosis and anorexia on 24th August 1943. Her writings published after her death included Gravity and Grace (1952) and The Need for Roots (1952).