Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius

Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius

Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius

Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius

Excerpt

Colette herself wrote many autobiographical studies, of which the happiest are those which recall her childhood at Saint Sauveur, and the most tragic, such as Mes Apprentissages and L'envers du Music-Hall, those which describe the eight years of married life with Willy or the six years when she earned her living by capering like a faun upon the variety stage. It was not till 1910, with the immense success of L'ingénue Libertine and La Vagabonde, that she achieved eminence as a writer of unusual originality and strength. From then onwards her fame spread throughout the Old World and the New, culminating in an apotheosis, when her poor old body lay in state encircled by flags and guards of honour and the people of Paris in their thousands followed her coffin to the grave.

It was in 1925, when staying with friends in the South of France, that she first met Maurice Goudeket, her third husband. She was fifty-two years old at the time and he was thirty-five. They remained inseparable until the day of her death, thirty years later. "It was hand in hand," he writes . . .

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