Praskovia Kovalyova, 1768-1803 : Power of Love

Sentimental Americans like to point to Harriet Beecher Stowe as the conscience of the abolitionist movement.  The little lady who started the Civil War, as Lincoln put it.

What about the Russians?  The serf system, effectively slavery, was something a parallel.  Of course the  gentry were fine with it, the church was okay with it (they had a whole lot of land and the souls that went with it  – yet the whole thing was outlawed in 1861,  two years before the Emancipation Proclamation, four years before the Thirteenth Amendment.

Another case of cherchez la femme, it is said, in this case, not a novelist, but a singer, a diva even, Praskovia Kovalyova. Continue reading