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Séverine (1855–1929)

Erik Buelinckx


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Séverine, pseudonym of Caroline Rémy, was born in 1855 to a bourgeois family in Paris, France. She was a libertarian journalist, feminist, and human rights activist. After a tumultuous youth, she finally married Adrien Guébhard in 1885 when France legalized divorce, although throughout her life she overtly had other relationships. In 1879, she met Jules Vallès in Brussels and became his secretary and close friend for the rest of his life. With her husband's financial support, she funded the reappearance of Vallès's journal Le Cri du Peuple from 1883. Apart from helping Vallès finish his biographical trilogy, she also edited the journal when he was ill and after his death in 1885. A polemic with the Marxist-socialist Jules Guesde over anarchism and reprise individuelle (“individual recovery,” or theft as a revolutionary tactic), and her rather unexpected support for the right-wing populist Boulanger, forced her to leave the journal in 1888; it lasted only one more year. Séverine had a long career as a journalist. However, as the first woman to make a living from her writing, she had to write for all kinds of journals and magazines, often under pseudonyms, including Édouard Drumont's anti-Semitic journal Libre Parole . A meeting with Marguerite Durand resulted in her writing for the first woman-only magazine, La Fronde , in which she defended fellow feminist Madeleine Pelletier ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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