Colette (Sidonie Gabrielle Colette) (sēdōnē´ gäbrēĕl´ kōlĕt´), 1873–1954, French novelist. Colette achieved popularity with numerous novels, characterized by sensitive observations—particularly of women—and an intimate, semiautobiographical style. Her early series of novels, published in collaboration with her first husband, Willy (pseud. of Henry Gauthier-Villars), include Claudine at School (1900, tr. 1930) and The Innocent Wife (1903, tr. 1934). Among many later novels written on her own are The Vagrant (1910, tr. 1912), Chéri (1920, tr. 1929), The Cat (1933, tr. 1936), and Gigi (1945). Divorced in 1906, Colette worked on the music-hall stage until 1914. Her marriage to Henri de Jouvenel also ended in divorce, but her last years were enriched by the companionship of her third husband, Maurice Goudeket. Colette was the first woman to head the Goncourt Academy and the second to become a grand officer of the French Legion of Honor.

See Earthly Paradise, a collection of autobiographical writings, ed. by R. Phelps (1966); M. Sarde, Colette: Free and Fettered (1980); E. M. Eisinger and M. McCarty, ed., Colette: The Woman, the Writer (1981); G. Dormann, Colette: A Passion for Life (1985); N. W. Jouve, Colette (1987); C. Francis and F. Gontier, Creating Colette (2 vol., 1999–2000); J. Thurman, Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Colette: Selected full-text books and articles

Short Novels of Colette By Colette Dial Press, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Cheri," "The Cat," and more
Creating Colette By Claude Francis; Fernande Gontier Steerforth Press, vol.1, 1999
Creating Colette By Claude Francis; Fernande Gontier Steerforth Press, vol.2, 1998
Colette, a Provincial in Paris By Margaret Crosland British Book Centre, 1954
Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius By Maurice Goudeket Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1957
Mothering the Mind: Twelve Studies of Writers and Their Silent Partners By Ruth Perry; Martine Watson Brownley Holmes & Meier, 1984
Refiguring the Father: New Feminist Readings of Patriarchy By Patricia Yaeger; Beth Kowaleski-Wallace Southern Illinois University Press, 1989
Women's Writing on the First World War By Agnès Cardinal; Dorothy Goldman; Judith Hattaway Oxford University Press, 1999
The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature By Eva Martin Sartori; Colette H. Winn; Perry Gethner; Samia I. Spencer; Juliette Parnell-Smith; Mary Rice-DeFosse; Susan Ireland; Patrice J. Proulx Greenwood Press, 1999
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