Elsa Triolet

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Triolet, Elsa


Born Sept. 12 (24), 1896, in Moscow; died June 16,1970, in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines, department of Yve-lines. French writer.

Triolet received an advanced degree in architecture in Moscow. Beginning in the mid–1920’s she lived in France, but often traveled to the USSR. In 1928 she married L. Aragon.

Triolet’s first literary works were written in Russian, among them In Tahiti (1925). Her first book written in French was the novel Good Evening, Teresa! (1938). During World War II (1939–45), Triolet took part in the Resistance and her books were published by underground publishing houses. The short stories in the collection The Fine for a Rip in the Cloth Is Two Hundred Francs (1945) dealt with the selfless struggle of the French partisans. The novel Armed Phantoms (1947) warned against the dangers of a revival of fascism.

The conquest of loneliness was the theme of Triolet’s novels No One Loves Me (1946) and The Inspector of the Ruins (1948; Russian translation, The Stranger, 1956). The semifantastic novel The Chestnut Horse (1953) dealt with the prevention of atomic war. Triolet’s multithematic novel The Meeting of Strangers (1956; Russian translation, Unbidden Guests, 1958) contrasted the concepts of patriotism and internationalism with those of racism and cosmopolitanism. The novels Roses on Credit (1959), Luna Park (1959), and The Soul (1963), which appeared in the cycle The Age of Nylon, were devoted to man’s search for happiness. The novels The Monument (1957), The Great Never (1965; Russian translation, 1966), and Listen and Look (1968) elucidated historical truth, which transforms the role of art in the modern world. Triolet’s lyric novel The Nightingale Becomes Silent at Dawn was published in 1970.

Triolet popularized Russian and Soviet literature in France. She wrote a book about Chekhov and memoirs about Mayakov-sky. She also translated works by Gogol, Chekhov, and Maya-kovsky into French and compiled an anthology of Russian and Soviety poetry (1965). Her works are imbued with love for mankind and apprehensive meditations about human fate. She was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor in 1967.


Elsa Triolet choisiepar Aragon. [Paris, 1961.]
Oeuvres romanesques croisées d’Elsa Triolet et Aragon, vols. 1–42. Paris, 1964–74.
La Mise en mots. Paris [1969].
Proverbes d’Elsa. [Paris, 1971.]
In Russian translation:
Neilonovyi vek. Moscow, 1960.
Dusha. Foreward by K. Simonov. [Moscow, 1967.]


Balashova, T. V. Frantsuzskii roman 60-kh godov. Moscow, 1965.
“Pamiati El’zy Triole.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1970, no. 9.
Madaule, J. Ce que dit Elsa. Paris [1961].
“Elsa Triolet et Aragon.” Europe, February-March 1967, no. 454–55.
“Elsa Triolet.” Ibid., June 1971, no. 506.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The first is Elsa Triolet's 1939 biography, Mayakovsky: Russian Poet, translated by Susan de Muth.
THROUGHOUT HISTORY, women have been recognized only in terms of their relationship to men as daughters, lovers, or wives, and this is particularly so in the case of Elsa Triolet, known primarily as lover, wife, and muse of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Louis Aragon.
Margaret Atack, in Literature and the French Resistance (Manchester U.P., 1989), discusses extensively the stories of Edith Thomas and Elsa Triolet. Triolet has also received the attention of several biographers, chiefly no doubt because of her relationship with Aragon, but her position as a Resistance writer is secure.
In 1928 he met Elsa Triolet (the Russian-born sister-in-law of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky), who became his wife and his inspiration.
Aragon's tremendous sadness at the loss of his cherished life companion, Elsa Triolet, is touchingly transferred into the context of "A Mild Autumn Morning," where other literary and artistic figures also come to life on several planes of memory ranging over almost a generation and extending from Lefkosia to Paris to Trouville to Cape Brown.
His correspondence with Aragon and Aragon's Russian-born companion Elsa Triolet extends from 1920 to 1964 and comprises 139 letters.