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Commentary on Voltairine de Cleyre

Helm, Bob (2016) Ida Celanire Craddock & Voltairine de Cleyre: Two Freethinkers of Philadelphia

Chris Crass, "Voltairine de Cleyre, the Anarchist Tradition and the Political Challenge."

Chris Crass, "Organizing for Radical Social Change: Voltairine de Cleyre and anarcha-feminism."

"Voltairine De Cleyre," Emma Goldman, Oriole Press, 1932. [Text only at Emma Goldman Papers Project.

S.E. Parker's review of An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre

An exerpt from the 1932 Free Society Group edition

Crispin Sartwell, "Voltairine de Cleyre, Priestess of Pity and Vengeance," 2000.

(From "Poets of Revolt", pamphlet 2, by the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company)
Of French-American descent, Voltairine de Cleyre was born on November 17, 1866 in Leslie, Michigan, and named for Voltaire by her freethinking father. "The most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced", said Emma Goldman (with whom she was often at odds) of DeCleyre. Friend and co-thinnker of Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Louise Michel and Alexander Berkman, De Cleyre is best known for her impassioned, insightful, provocative essays. From the mid-1890s till her death in 1912 she was much in the news as one of anarchism's "notorious characters"; within the movement itself she was universally recognized as a major spokesperson. Several of her writings- most notably the essay, Anarchism and American Traditions immediately won the status of classics, and have been many times reprinted as well as translated into other languages. In the heyday of the "Chicago Renaissance," nascent Imagism and other pre-World-War-I literary upheavals, DeCleyre sounded a desperate, somber note that was all her own. Well into the 1930s her black and bitter verses were reprinted in radical, labor and freethought publications; many Wobblies and other activists knew at least a few of them by heart. Like most radicals of her generation, De Cleyre was profoundly affected by the Haymarket Tragedy of 1886-87. Year after year she spoke at Haymarket memorial meetings at Chicago's Waldheim Cemetery, and the "Chicago Martyrs" inspired many of her finest lyrics. Translator of Yiddish poets and publicist of the Mexican Revolution (she was Chicago correspondent for Ricardo Flores Magon's paper, Regeneracion), de Cleyre was also an enthusiastic supporter of the IWW, whose members turned out in large numbers at her funeral. She was buried at Waldheim close to the martyrs who so decisivly influenced the course of her life.


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