Anne Jaclard

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Anne Jaclard

Anne Jaclard, born Anna Vasilyevna Korvin-Krukovskaya (1843–1887), was a Russian socialist and feminist revolutionary. She participated in the Paris Commune and the First International and was a friend of Karl Marx. She was once engaged to Fyodor Dostoyevsky but married the Blanquist Victor Jaclard. Her sister was the mathematician and socialist Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850–1891).

Early life[edit]

Anna Vasilevna Korvin-Krukovskaya came from a respectable, wealthy military family of aristocratic status. Her father was General Vasily Korvin-Krukovsky. Anna and her sister, the future mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaya, were raised in an enlightened household. As young women they read the materialist literature then popular—books by Ludwig Büchner, Karl Vogt and others—and the writings of 'nihilist' and Narodnik social critics like N.G. Chernyshevsky and P.L. Lavrov. Both women became associated with radical Narodnik circles.

In the 1860s, Anna was briefly engaged to the famous writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky. She met him in 1864, after publishing two stories in his literary journal, The Epoch, unbeknownst to her family. Dostoyevsky respected her talent and encouraged her writing. However, the two were not politically compatible. Although Dostoyevsky had sympathised with utopian socialist ideas in his youth and had even been banished to Siberia for his involvement in the Petrashevsky circle, by the 1860s he was becoming increasingly religious and conservative. The engagement was eventually called off, but Korvin-Krukovskaya and Dostoyevsky remained on friendly terms. It is thought that Dostoyevsky based the character of Aglaya Epanchina in The Idiot on Anna.[1]

Anna Korvin-Krukovskaya left Russia in 1866 and went to Geneva, Switzerland, where she studied medicine and associated with exiled radicals from Russia and elsewhere. One of them was a young medical student recently exiled from France for his involvement in Blanquist conspiracies, Victor Jaclard. In 1867, Anna and Victor were married. The Jaclards were involved in the revolutionary anarchist groups set up by Mikhail Bakunin, but this did not prevent them from befriending Karl Marx, subsequently Bakunin's greatest opponent. They joined the First International, organised in 1864 under Marx' leadership, Anna as a member of the Russian section, Victor as a member of the French.

The Paris Commune[edit]

The fall of Napoléon III in 1870 enabled Jaclard to return to France, and Anna went with him. Together with her husband she participated actively in the Paris Commune of 1871. She sat on the Committee of Vigilance of Montmartre and on the committee supervising the education of girls; she was active in organising the food supply of the besieged city of Paris; she co-founded and wrote for the journal La Sociale; she acted as one of the representatives of the Russian section of the International and she participated in a committee on women's rights. She was convinced that the struggle for women's rights could only succeed in conjunction with the struggle against capitalism in general. Anne Jaclard, as she was then known, collaborated closely with other leading feminist revolutionaries in the Commune, including Louise Michel, Nathalie Lemel, the writer André Léo, Paule Mink and her fellow Russian, Elisaveta Dimitrieva. Together they founded the Women's Union, which fought for equal wages for women, female suffrage, mesures against domestic violence and the closing of the legal brothels in Paris.

When the Paris Commune was suppressed by the Versailles government of Adolphe Thiers, Anna and her husband were captured. He was sentenced to death, she, to hard labour in perpetuity in a penal colony in New Caledonia. However, in October 1871, with the aid of Anna's brother and father, the Jaclards managed to escape from prison. They fled first to Switzerland and then to London, England, where they stayed at the home of Karl Marx. Apparently Marx did not hold their earlier association with Bakunin against them. Marx, who had taught himself Russian, was at the time very interested in the Russian revolutionary movement. Anna began, but did not complete, a translation of Volume 1 of Marx' Capital. (The whole work was later translated by Nikolai Danielson.) Marx also helped arrange a study trip to Heidelberg, Germany, for Anna.

Later Years[edit]

In 1874, Anna and her husband returned to her native Russia. Victor found a job as a French teacher, and Anna worked primarily as a journalist and translator. She contributed to such oppositional papers as Delo and Slovo. The Jaclards also resumed friendly relations with Dostoyevsky. Neither Anna's previous engagement to Dostoyevsky nor Dostoyevsky's strong political differences with the Jaclards prevented cordial and regular contact between them. She occasionally assisted him with translations into French, in which she was fluent. Anne Jaclard also resumed her contacts with revolutionary circles. She was acquainted with several members of the Narodnik movement 'to the people' in the 1870s and with the revolutionaries who, in 1879, formed the group Narodnaia Volia (The People's Will). In 1881, this group assassinated the tsar, Alexander II. However, the Jaclards had left Russia by then, and were not caught up in the repression which followed. In 1880, a general amnesty enabled Anne and Victor Jaclard to return to France. There, they resumed their journalistic work. Anna Jaclard died in 1887.

Sources and Links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cp. Lantz, K., The Dostoevsky Encyclopedia. Westport, 2004, p. 220.