Larisa Reisner. A Biography

Speaker is Cathy Porter, author of a new biography of Larisa Reisner

‘She burst across the revolutionary sky like a blazing meteor, dazzling all in her path,’ Trotsky wrote. For the poet Boris Pasternak, she was Lara, the heroine of his novel Doctor Zhivago. Commissar, revolutionary fighter, espionage agent, journalist, Larisa Reisner (1895–1926) was a model for the ‘new woman’ of the Russian Revolution, and one of its most popular and brilliant writers, whose works were published in mass editions and read by millions. Her life is set against the world-shaking events of 1917, and draws on material recently released from the Soviet archives to tell her story through the memories of those close to her, her own voluminous writings, and her six books, published for the first time together by Brill with this biography.

Cathy Porter was born in Oxford in 1947, and grew up there. She spent a year in Poland before studying Russian and Czech at London University. Since then she has become deeply involved in the political life and intellectual ideas of the nineteenth – and twentieth-century Russia. She is the author of Fathers and Daughters: Russian Women in Revolution, and translator of Kollontai’s fiction Love of Worker Bees. Porter lives in London and divides her time between translating, teaching literacy and researching Russian history.