(pseudonym of Léonie Champseix, nee Béra). Born 1829 in Lusignan; died 1900 in Paris. French social figure and writer.
During the 1860’s, Léo was active in the struggle for equal rights for women. In the days of the Paris Commune of 1871 she worked on the revolutionary newspapers La Sociale and La Commune and joined women’s organizations. She defended the Paris Commune in the January Insurrection of 1871 and fought in the streets of Paris against the Versailles government in May 1871. From 1871 to 1880, Leo lived in exile in Switzerland; she supported the Bakuninists in their struggle against the First International.
Leo’s novel A Shocking Marriage (1862; Russian translation, A Scandalous Marriage, 1865) describes a woman’s liberation through the adoption of a life of peasant labor. The novels Divorce (1866; Russian translation, 1868) and Alina-Ali (1869; Russian translation, 1870) are concerned with problems of the family and marriage. Human happiness outside a working life seemed impossible to Léo—for example, in such novels as The Two Daughters of Monsieur Plichon. The utopian fantasy The Commune of Malenpits (1874) gave a vague picture of a republic of small property owners.
D. I. Pisarev saw Léo’s novels as “very remarkable and useful to a high degree” (D. I. Pisarev, “Romany Andre Leo,” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 6, St. Petersburg, 1897, p. 347). In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s, Léo worked on the Russian journal Slovo (The Word).
REFERENCESTkachev, P. “Liudi budushchego i geroi meshchanstva.” Delo, 1868, nos. 4–5.
Molok, A. I. “Publitsist Parizhskoi Kommuny (Andre Leo),” Bol’-shevistskaia pechat’, 1940, no. 9.
A. V. MOROZOVA