Saturday, September 01, 2007

Colette: Goddess of La Belle Époque

From: Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born in 1873 in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in Burgundy.

A contemporary of Proust, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Piaf, her life was her art, her lifestyle was left-bank, and no matter what else was going on (war, husbands, lovers, near-death illnesses, day jobs), she was writing.

Deep Inside the Paris Boudoirs

But when I read her novels - any of more than 50 of them! - I follow her characters like Alice following the white rabbit - into Colette approximately 1890their fringe, backstage worlds. I am seduced by the depth and color of these vibrant, foreign rooms, roads, boudoirs, dressing rooms, and after-hours dining establishments.

Relationships were her "thing." Men and women. Mothers and daughters. Women and women. Young girls dreaming of love. The layers of these relationships are deep, complex, and profound.

She started writing for Monsieur Willy, her older first husband, who (so the story goes) would lock her in a room until she finished writing the day’s required number of pages. Willy also had a nasty habit of putting his name on her books. Needless to say, the marriage didn’t work out.

Scandal and Liberation

Colette filled every moment of her life fulfilling her desire to experience, and then record. She worked as a dancer, singer, and mime in Parisian music halls and stages, and the Moulin Rouge. In 1906, she flashed a bare breast on stage - Parisshaking up even the most liberal of Paris society. ...

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