A.K. 47 - Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai

A.K. 47 - The Loves of Three Generations Discussion I

February 14, 2020 Season 2 Episode 20
A.K. 47 - Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai
A.K. 47 - The Loves of Three Generations Discussion I
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A.K. 47 - Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai
A.K. 47 - The Loves of Three Generations Discussion I
Feb 14, 2020 Season 2 Episode 20
Kristen R. Ghodsee

In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee discusses Alexandra Kollontai's 1923 short story, "The Loves of Three Generations," her most controversial piece of fiction and one that caused her terrible amounts of trouble with her Bolshevik colleagues. This story is written as a letter to Kollontai from a revolutionary comrade who is having personal problems and seeks Kollontai's advice. This colleague wants to know if her own feelings of betrayal and jealousy are remnants of the bourgeois past or whether she is justified in her indignation. This story reflects Kollonta's proposal that romantic love will come second to love for work and for the collective in the new socialist society to come. Most Russian readers were horrified by this story in 1923.

The key characters are:

  • Maria Stepanovna - The grandmother (Olga's mother and a populist)
  • Olga Sergeevna - The mother (the letter writer and a Marxist)
  • Comrade Ryabkov (Andrei) - Olga's husband (who is 7 years younger than she) and Zhenya's stepfather
  • Zhenya - Olga's 20-year-old daughter (who is sleeping with her stepfather)
  • Narrator - Presumably Alexandra Kollontai

This episode is a freestyle rant discussing Kollontai's possible intentions with this story.

Show Notes

In this episode, Kristen R. Ghodsee discusses Alexandra Kollontai's 1923 short story, "The Loves of Three Generations," her most controversial piece of fiction and one that caused her terrible amounts of trouble with her Bolshevik colleagues. This story is written as a letter to Kollontai from a revolutionary comrade who is having personal problems and seeks Kollontai's advice. This colleague wants to know if her own feelings of betrayal and jealousy are remnants of the bourgeois past or whether she is justified in her indignation. This story reflects Kollonta's proposal that romantic love will come second to love for work and for the collective in the new socialist society to come. Most Russian readers were horrified by this story in 1923.

The key characters are:

  • Maria Stepanovna - The grandmother (Olga's mother and a populist)
  • Olga Sergeevna - The mother (the letter writer and a Marxist)
  • Comrade Ryabkov (Andrei) - Olga's husband (who is 7 years younger than she) and Zhenya's stepfather
  • Zhenya - Olga's 20-year-old daughter (who is sleeping with her stepfather)
  • Narrator - Presumably Alexandra Kollontai

This episode is a freestyle rant discussing Kollontai's possible intentions with this story.

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