Louise Michel

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Louise Michel
BirthplaceHaute-Marne, France

Michel, Louise


Born May 29, 1830, in Vroncourt-la-Côte; died Jan. 10, 1905, in Marseille. French revolutionary and writer.

Michel was a village school teacher; in 1856 she went to teach in Paris, where she attended revolutionary meetings and was closely associated with the Blanquists. She took part in the uprisings of Oct. 31, 1870, and Jan. 22, 1871, against the traitorous policies of the Government of National Defense. She was active in the Paris Commune of 1871. When the Versailles troops entered Paris, she fought heroically at the barricades. After the fall of the Commune, Michel was arrested and tried by a military tribunal, at which she boldly defended the ideas of the Commune. In 1873 she was exiled to New Caledonia. She opened a school in Noumea and taught the children of the aborigines (Canacks) to read and write.

After the amnesty of 1880, Michel returned to France and took part in the labor movement. She promoted anarchist ideas and was a supporter of P. A. Kropotkin. In 1883, Michel was arrested for taking part in a demonstration by unemployed Pari-sian workers; in 1886 she was pardoned. From 1890 to 1895, Michel lived in London. During the last years of her life she became interested in the Russian revolutionary movement and welcomed the revolution that was beginning in Russia.

Michel wrote poetry, novels, and plays. Her lyric poetry was greatly influenced by V. Hugo and is imbued with a love of liberty. Her novels, including Poverty (1882–83, written with J. Guêtré Russian translation, 1960), The Despised (1882; with J. Guetre), and The New World (1888), continued the progressive tradition of romanticism begun by E. Sue, G. Sand, and V. Hugo. In her literary works, Michel lashed out at bourgeois morality and the bourgeois family and called for the emancipation of women.


Oeuvres posthumes, vol. 1. Paris, 1905.
Mémoires, vol. 1. Paris, 1886.
A Trovers La Vie: Poesies. Paris, 1894.
In Russian translation:
Kommuna. Moscow-Leningrad, 1926.


Neustroeva, O. Zhizn’L. MisheV. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.
Lur’e, A. la. Portrety deiatelei Parizhskoi Kommuny. Moscow, 1956. Pages 285–318.
Danilin, lu. G. Poety Parizhskoi Kommuny. Moscow, 1966.
Planche, F. La Vie ardente et intrepide de L. Michel. Paris [1946].


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