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(en) France, UCL AL #334 - Culture, Read: Séverine, "the Insurgent" (ca, de, it, fr, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 1 Feb 2023 08:32:14 +0200

The editions of L'échappée published this fall a collection of texts by a journalist who has now been unjustly forgotten. Feminist, pacifist and libertarian, with unfailing integrity, she was at the forefront of all the battles of her time, the Belle Époque. ---- A pioneer of journalism, the first woman to take on the management of a newspaper, she was one of the great figures in the history of the revolutionary movements of the Belle Époque : Séverine. Caroline Rémy, her real name, she embodied these years with her bubbling and fiery pen. ---- She was the friend and epigone of Jules Vallès, who taught her, she says, "to think and reflect, to bow to human distress". She published numerous articles (more than 6,000 !) in Le Cri du Peuple, Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, La Fronde, Gil-Blas, L'Humanité, France-Soir, etc.

"To have kept the precious gift of having fun with everything, or, better, of being interested in many things; to laugh in the sun and dream of the stars; to enrich my sight with all that shines, or copper, spangle or spangle; to keep faithfully in my memory the reflection of all that lives, of all that passes, I have constituted for myself, for all of existence, a treasure that the longest days will not be able to exhaust.»

Having fun with everything, but also knowing how to be serious, even scathing, as in this article from 1890 on the right to abortion, the one on the killers of women, or the one on the tragedy of Fourmies in 1891...

We come across Ravachol in this collection, whose value Séverine doubted, preferring to situate herself "with the poor always, despite their mistakes, despite their faults...despite their crimes ! ".

She will support the request for pardon for the anarchist Auguste Vaillant, who launched a bombshell on the deputies, disapproved of the theory of individual recovery by Clément Duval, but detected in it the underlying social problem, which left her doubtful... These opinions do not are reminiscent of those of Charles Malato.

She showed great respect for Jean Grave : "This miscreant is a just man" or even for Jean-Baptiste Clément and Louise Michel.

Irreverent, and above all feminist
She signed articles on the "sugar breakers" on strike, delivered a fierce and uncompromising diatribe against Jules Ferry. It attacked the benefits of civilization through colonization. "Civilize? Colonize ? ..the show is not beautiful !»

She joined the PCF in 1921, while remaining critical and independent in spirit, claiming above all her feminism, which "seems to her not a whole, but a fraction of the immense effort to be provided to free the world". "All my feminism can be summed up in these two words : Justice, first ; and then immediately, very quickly, Tenderness.»

She put her pen to the service of respect for human rights during the trials of the Chicago anarchists, Dreyfus and Francisco Ferrer.

To close this brief presentation of the impetuous and passionate work of the Insurgent Séverine, this little quote: "Me, a rosette on my chest? But... nature has already given me two ! "Journalism of this tone, with this literary brilliance, we would like so much to be able to enjoy it again !

Dominique Sureau (UCL Angers)

Séverine, The insurgent, The escape, October 2022, 272 pages, 20 euros

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