For 50 years Colette was at the centre of Parisian social and cultural life, winning great eminence as an author. In her life and work she presented a liberating sensuality that influenced the mores of the 20th century. This autobiography is by the author of "Albert Camus" and "Flaubert".
For 50 years Sidonie Gabrielle Colette was at the centre of Parisian social and cultural life. She won great celebrity and eminence as an author and in her life and work she presented a liberating sensuality that influenced the mores of the 20th century. This book tells her story. Colette led an astonishingly full life. She worked constantly, writing novels, stories, plays, film and radio scripts and a seemingly endless stream of journalism. She performed on the stage, scandalously at times, often acting in thirty cities in a month. At night she was found at a dinner or salon that was invariably at the height of fashion, and her love life was extremely complex. After a provincial childhood Colette began writing under the tutelege of her first husband, the boulevard wit and literary entrepreneur Henry Gauthier-Villars, or "Willy". Her very public liaison with a countess ended this marriage, but not before she and Willy had launched the character Claudine, a saucy schoolgirl whose adventures instantly acquired renown. Colette married again, this time to a powerful publisher and politician, and produced such classics as "Cheri" and "The Ripening Seed". She finally settled down with a gentle, younger man, a Jew whom she fought to protect during World War II. By the end of her life she had, among other things, discovered Saint Tropez, seduced her stepson and earned the unqualified esteem of Proust and Gide. Herbert Lottman has previously written biographies of Albert Camus and Flaubert.