Simone Weil was born into a wealthy Parisian Jewish family originally from the Alsace region. She suffered from ill-health but was a brilliant student, excelling in languages, philosophy, literature, and science. After graduation from the École Normale Supérieure in 1931, she taught at several rural academies, and wrote articles for socialist journals. She was a political idealist, and took a leave of absence to work in a Renault factory in order to become more closely connected with the French working class. She went to Spain in 1936 to fight for the Republic against fascism in the Civil War, but was injured in a cooking fire and also contracted tuberculosis. Weil became heavily involved in Catholicism, having a series of mystical experiences. She traveled to the United States with her family and eventually resettled in England. She died aged only 34, apparently having starved herself to death "whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed." Simone Weil’s books were all published posthumously.