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Additional info for Exquisite rebel : the essays of Voltairine de Cleyre : feminist, anarchist, genius

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There is a kind of an American Platonism lurking in her renunciation of the beyond and in her love of nature and its transcendence. Only one who is deep in soul-darkness and selfloathing seeks both immersion in pain and its overcoming through its intensification. And only someone with that power of self-overcoming really understands from inside the expressions of transcendence by which oppressed people transform pain into art. That was the origin of the blues that de Cleyre heard, and, more, celebrated and embodied.

Though I sorrow for the work I wished to do, which time and loss of health prevented, I am glad I lived no useless life (save this one last year) and hope that the work I did will live and grow with my pupils’ lives and by them be passed on to others, even as I passed on what I had received. If my comrades wish to do aught for my memory, let them print my poems, the MSS. of which is in possession of N. , to whom I leave this last task of carrying out my few wishes. Voltairine de Cleyre 37 My dying thoughts are on the vision of a free world, without poverty and its pain, ever ascending to sublimer knowledge.

Her own unfortunate experiences with most of her lovers, who even without the ties of formal marriage, treated her as a sex object and servant, convinced Voltairine that even living with a man was to be avoided. When she learned that William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (her heroine) had lived in separate apartments even though they were lovers, she was delighted. ” Voltairine took her anarchist feminist views beyond the realm of politics and into the realm of individual behavior as well. ” Women must free themselves through individual acts of rebellion against prevailing attitudes and behaviors.

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