Triolet (Blick), Elsa
TRIOLET (Blick), ELSA
TRIOLET (Blick), ELSA (1903–1970), French novelist. Born in Moscow, and a student of Maxim Gorki, Elsa Triolet first wrote in Russian. She settled in France, where she married the French poet Louis Aragon whose poems, Les yeux d'Elsa (1943) and Elsa (1959), she inspired. Her first book in French, Bonsoir Therésè (1938), revealed her narrative and stylistic gifts. Her novels Mille regrets (1942), Le cheval blanc (1943; The White Charger, 1946), and Le premier accroc coûte deux cents francs (1945; A Fine of 200 Francs, 1947, a winner of the Prix Goncourt), combined social and political concern with inventiveness, wit, and charm. Elsa Triolet's chronicle of the Resistance, Les Amants d'Avignon (1943), deals with serious, even somber, subjects with an unusual lightness. Her communist ideology is felt more strongly in L'Inspecteur des Ruines (1948; The Inspector of Ruins, 1953), Le Cheval Roux (1953), and Le Rendezvous des étrangers (1956). However, in Le Monument (1957), the balance between social ideology and aesthetic approach was restored. In the trilogy, L'Age de nylon (Roses à crédit, 1959; Luna-Park, 1959; and L'Ame, 1963), Elsa Triolet revealed new breadth and power. Le Grand Jamais (1965), a meditation on death, displays considerable depth and richness of technique. She never lost touch with Russian literature, translated many of Chekhov's plays, and in 1939 published a study of the poet Vladimir Mayakovski, who was her brother-in-law.
J.P. Madaule, Ce que dit Elsa (1960).
[Denise R. Goitein]