Colette Yver ( 1874-1953) was the literary pseudonym of Antoinette de Bergevin, later Mme Auguste Huzard. Her family prided itself on its Breton origins, but her father was from Martinique and her mother from Guadeloupe. De Bergevin grew up in France with a precocious interest in literature and later claimed that she had dictated her first novel at the age of six to her thirteen-year-old brother. Whatever the truth of that claim, she did publish a successful children's novel at the age of seventeen.
Yver's first major novel, Les Cervelines ( The Brainy Ones), appeared in 1903, when she was twenty-nine. The manuscript was read by Auguste Huzard, an editor for the publishing house of Juven, and he later claimed to have married her because of it. While this was probably just a glib compliment, one must wonder about Huzard's motives: the novel examines a brilliant and successful woman and a man who proposes to her, only to try immediately to persuade her to give up all manifestations of intelligence and independence, for love of him. After a trial week of doing housework, she refuses.
In 1907, Colette Yver was awarded the "Vie Heureuse" (Femina) Prize for her novel Princesses de science ( Princesses of Science), and she subsequently became a member of the Femina Jury. In later years she worked for the Catholic church and for the sick, devoting her writing to religious subjects. Her early novels, however, were quite subversive. They challenged accepted attitudes about male-female relationships and especially about marriage. Nonetheless, all of Yver's heroines after Marceline in Les Cervelines accept the societal norm: they give up their own careers to become their
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Publication information: Book title: Feminisms of the Belle Epoque:A Historical and Literary Anthology. Contributors: Jennifer Waelti-Walters - Author, Steven C. Hause - Editor. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1994. Page number: Not available.
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