Reading Flora Tristan

  • Máire Fedelma Cross


Flora Tristan always boasted of her unusual parentage and took pride in her exotic Andalusian appearance, attributing it to her Spanish-Peruvian ancestry; she also came from a mixed ethnicity in political and cultural terms. Her father’s family enjoyed the privileges of upper-class politics in Aréquipa where her uncle was a senior statesman. Her Parisian mother Thérèse Laisney had met Don Mariano de Tristan in Bilbao where she was in exile from revolutionary Paris. It was in Paris that Flora Tristan was born in 1803 and where she married, published and gained an entry into political circles. She started her writing career there after returning from Peru where she had witnessed the political instability of a country newly emancipated from Spain. Tristan’s husband, André Chazal, came from an artistic background. From their mismatched liaison had come two sons who left no trace and a daughter Aline Chazal who married the republican journalist Clovis Gauguin. Their son, the artist Paul Gauguin, never knew his maternal grandmother; his own mother had been 18 years of age when she lost her mother in 1844 and she in turn died in July 1867 at the age of 42 when Paul was a young man of 19 years. The memory of his grandfather artist André Chazal was blanked out as a persona non grata since he had served a long jail sentence for the attempted assassination of his estranged wife.


Life Story Socialist Politics Woman Writer Authorial Revelation Feminist Writer 
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© Máire Fedelma Cross 2004

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  • Máire Fedelma Cross

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