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Elsa Iur’evna Triolet

screenwriter , writer

Elsa Triolet , born Ella Yurevna Kagan , was a Russian-French writer.

Background

Ella Kagan was born into a Jewish family of a lawyer and a music teacher in Moscow.

Education

Ella graduated from the Moscow Institute of Architecture.

Career

Ella enjoyed poetry and in 1915 befriended and fell in love with the aspiring futurist poet and graphic artist Vladimir Mayakovsky. Ella was the first to translate Mayakovsky's poetry (as well as volumes of other Russian-language poetry) to French. In 1918, at the outset of the Russian Civil War, Ella married the French cavalry officer André Triolet and emigrated to France, where she changed her name to Elsa, but for years admitted in her letters to Lilya to being heartbroken.

In the early 1920s, Elsa described her visit to Tahiti in her letters to Victor Shklovsky, who subsequently showed them to Maxim Gorky. Gorky suggested that the author should consider a literary career. The 1925 book In Tahiti, written in Russian and published in Leningrad, was based on these letters.

She published two further novels in Russian, Wild Strawberry (1926) and Camouflage (1928), both published in Moscow. In 1928 Elsa met French writer Louis Aragon. She influenced Aragon to join the French Communist Party.

Triolet and Aragon fought in the French Resistance. She died, aged 73, in Moulin de Villeneuve, Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines, France of a heart attack. In 2010, La Poste, the French post office, issued three stamps honoring Triolet.

Achievements

  • In 1944 Triolet was the first woman to be awarded the Prix Goncourt.