Friday, October 16, 2009

girls girls girls

The women were splendidly represented. Besides Louise, Austria sent little Dworzak, a charming little girl in every respect; I fell quite in love with her and whenever Labriola gave me a chance, eloped with her from the entanglements of his ponderous conversation. These Viennoises sont des Parisiennesnées, mais des Parisiennes d’il y a cinquante ans. Regular grisettes. Then the Russian women, there were four or five with wonderfully beautiful leuchtende Augen, and there were besides Vera Zasulich and Anna Kulischoff. Then Clara Zetkin with her enormous capacity for work and her slightly hysterical enthusiasm, but I like her very much. She has ascended the Glärnisch, a mountain full of glaciers, a very severe effort for a woman of her constitution. Altogether I had the happy lot to fall from the arms of one into those of the next and so on; Bebel got quite jealous—he, the man of the ‘Frau’, thought he alone was entitled to their kisses!

This is from a letter written by Frederick Engels to Laura Lafargue (his daughter), dated 21 August 1893, and is part of a description of the Third International Socialist Working-Men’s Congress, which had taken place earlier that month. Engels was 72 years old at the time of writing. It can be found on pgs 182-3, V. 50 of the Collected Works (2004). It is not immediately clear to me what language this letter was written in--but it must be marked somewhere. See also the review of a biography of Engels in the October 22 New York Review of Books.

1 comment:

Eric Brandom said...

This letter was written in English, as the editors make quite plain. Mea culpa.