Lansbury Violet (Dutt)

Violet Lansbury (Dutt)

Violet was born in the Seven Kings area of London on 4th December 1900, the last of twelve children fathered by George Lansbury, the Labour politician, who was leader of the Labour Party from 1931-1935 and Elizabeth Jane (Brine) Lansbury (1861 – 1933).

For her part, Violet joined the Communist Party, which she remained committed to all her life, the moment it was formed. She moved to Soviet Russia around 1923 to marry Igor Reussner (Reisnner), a professor of agriculture, with whom she was to have two children.

During the 1920s, she began to work as a translator and interpreter and can be discerned by 1934 to be translating publications for the `Society of Foreign Workers in the USSR’, a body that brought together the volunteer workers that had begun to bring specialist skills and sometimes sheer enthusiasm to major construction projects and what was then considered high technology performance tasks.

In 1932, she visited Bombay and, in 1934, Karachi, it is believed as a Comintern courier.

As her marriage began to fail, she met Clemens Palme Dutt (see separate entry) in Moscow in 1933, at English émigré social events. The two hit it off and, by 1935, they had begun a firm relationship and, within a year had begun to live together. Their subsequent marriage in 1938, after Violet’s divorce, would last until their deaths. Violet soon gave birth to their daughter, Anna Elizabeth, and mother and daughter followed Clem Dutt to Paris where he now began to work.

In 1940 she had her memoir, "An Englishwoman in the U.S.S.R." published; it was so popular that it was reprinted in 1941 and then in 1942 in considerable numbers. It is still readily available on the second-hand book circuit. In the early 1940s, she was a journalist for the Daily Worker with her own column, "Violet Lansbury’s weekly chat".

For a period, Violet was also responsible for the Daily Worker fighting fund. 

After the Second World War, as Violet Lansbury Dutt, she became a noted translator from the Russian of a wide range of books. She translated “Nikita's childhood” by Alexei Nikolayevich Tolstoy and the novel, “The Young Guardby Alexander Fadeev (pictured).  Other translations and editorial work Violet engaged in were:

1954 Pavlo Beilin

1955 S Mstislavsky, “Rook-Herald of Spring” (as editor)

1961 “A Visitor from Outer Space”
1962? “Soviet science fiction – with a new introduction by Issac Asimov”
1963 translator and editor (with Murad Saifulin) Pyrtor Nikitin, “Fundamentals of political economy”
1966 A Arzumanyan, “Crisis of World Capitalism

 She died in 1972


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