Manage episode 242556333 series 2492018
In this fourth episode of Season Two, Kristen Ghodsee reads Part IV of Alexandra Kollontai's 1926 memoir: The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. In this portion of the memoir, Kollontai speaks about her time in exile in Western Europe, going to jail in Sweden, lecturing in America, and joining the Bolsheviks in 1915. She also has a short aside on her own love life and the joys and frustrations of being an independent woman.
This memoir was written as Kollontai began her diplomatic career when she was 54-years-old and a veteran of the revolution. Lenin was already dead, Stalin was seizing power, and Kollontai was reflecting on the achievements of her life thus far. The initial publication of the memoir was heavily censored, particularly the passages where Kollontai speaks about her love life and her history of failed relationships with men. At the time, Kollontai was only the third woman to serve as ambassadress in the history of diplomatic service, but she was the first to do so as a divorcée who was widely known to have had multiple partners over the course of her life. The version read for this podcast includes the censored passages, and Ghodsee reflects on the historical context within which the memoir was written.
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