Eugène Pottier

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Pottier, Eugène

 

Born Oct. 4, 1816, in Paris; died there Nov. 6, 1887. French poet and songwriter. Member of the First International and the Paris Commune of 1871.

Pottier began working early in life. His first poems were written during the July Revolution of 1830. In that year he published the collection of songs The Young Muse, which was favorably reviewed by P. J. de Béranger. The Revolution of 1848 also inspired Pottier.

The most important period in Pottier’s life and work began during the period of the Paris Commune of 1871. He took part in defending Paris against German troops and was a member of the central committee of the national guard. At this time he abandoned the ideas of Utopian socialism for a revolutionary and materialist world view, and from a champion of the oppressed poor became a poet of the revolutionary proletariat. As one of the organizers of the commune, Pottier fought on the barricades; after its rout he fled to Great Britain and then to the USA.

In June 1871, while in the Paris underground, Pottier had written the “Internationale,” which became the international anthem of the revolutionary working class. In America he wrote three narrative poems: The Workingmen of America to the Workingmen of France (1876, in English), The Paris Commune (1877), and The Workers’ Party (written 1878, published 1898).

In 1880, Pottier returned to France, joined the Workers’ Party, and in 1884 published the collections Socioeconomic Poems and Socialist Revolutionary Songs and Which Is the Madman?; the collection Revolutionary Songs appeared in 1887. These publications included his best songs and poems. In V. I. Lenin’s words, Pottier was “one of the greatest propagandists by song” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, p. 274).

WORKS

Oeuvres complètes. Paris, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
In Russian translation:
Pesni, stikhi, poemy, 2nd. ed. Moscow, 1971.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Evgenii Pot’e.” Poln. sobr. soch. 5th ed., vol. 22.
Danilin, lu. I. “Ezhen Pot’e.” In his book Poety Parizhskoi Kommuny. Moscow, 1966.
Dmitriev, V. Poet-kommunar: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo E Pot’e. Moscow, 1966.
Museux, E. Les défenseurs du proletariat: Eugène Pettier et son oeuvre. Paris, 1898.
Gel, F. Hlas vzdoru [2nd ed.]. Prague [1971].

L. M. STEPACHEV