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The fast and the spurious

Women and saints have long been praised for maintaining bodily control, even when it reaches extremes. And it doesn’t get much more extreme than starvation. People have claimed to go without food for improbable lengths of time, sometimes with tragic results. From the Middle Ages to the modern era, long-term fasting has carried a dangerous cachet.

Words by Christine Ro

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About the author

Portrait of writer Christine Ro.

Christine Ro

Christine Ro is a writer and editor whose work is collected at