Elsa Triolet was born into a Russian Jewish family and graduated from the Moscow Institute of Architecture. In 1915, she befriended poet and graphic artist Vladimir Mayakovsky (who became her brother-in-law) and was the first to translate his work into French. After the start of the Russian Revolution, Elsa married a French cavalry officer, André Triolet, and went to France with him. She became a student of Maxim Gorky. About 10 years later, she met and married French writer Louis Aragon -- she helped influence Aragon to join the French Communist Party. The couple were members of the French Resistance in World War II.