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Feminist views on getting married young in sidonie gabrielle colettes the hand

Women in World History: Colette 1873—1954 French novelist, short-story writer, journalist, essayist, memoirist, actress and music-hall performer who created some of the most memorable female characters in literature. Began writing first of Claudine novels 1894 ; made debut as a mime 1906 ; had affair with "Missy" 1906—11 ; began career in journalism 1911 ; was first awarded the Legion of Honor 1920 ; opened Institute of Beauty in Paris June 1932 ; made voyage to New York June 1935 ; elected to Belgian Royal Academy of Language and Literature 1936 ; husband Maurice Goudeket arrested by Gestapo, in Paris December 12, 1941 ; elected to Academy Goncourt May 1945voted president 1948 ; given a state funeral August 7, 1954.

Without doubt, she was famous, and infamous too. An innocent provincial village girl, Colette had three husbands, a daughter, and several women lovers; she was vulnerable and resilient, audacious and disciplined, maligned and admired. And she created some of the most unforgettable female characters in French literature. The family was financially comfortable for many years, but Captain Colette made poor investments and was forced to sell much of his wife's property and to borrow money.

Colette's secure and stable childhood ended abruptly when she was 12; her strange, morose half-sister Juliette married a young doctor, and the family, unable to provide the dowry as stated in the marriage contract, was forced to sell their house and furniture at public auction. Colette's idyllic childhood was shattered by the humiliation of poverty. Captain Colette, a man with literary pretensions, frequently corresponded with an acquaintance from his military days, Albert Gauthier-Villars, a science publisher in Paris whose son Henry visited the Colettes, fell in love with Sidonie-Gabrielle, and eventually asked for her hand.

Known as Willy, he "wrote" reviews of literature and music for various Paris papers. Actually, he retained numerous "assistants" who wrote articles that Willy edited and signed as his own.

Colette later toiled in "the factory," as she called it, writing best-selling books the Claudine series that Willy also claimed as his own. Willy's charm was matched by his physical repulsiveness: Willy was not huge, he was bulbous," Colette recalled.

To do justice to a less flattering but no less august truth, I would say that, in fact, the likeness was to Queen Victoria. In her memoirs My Apprenticeships, 1936a mature Colette remembered: Before that—except for my parents' ruin, the money gone, the furniture sold by public auction—it had been roses all the way.

But what would I have done with everlasting roses? Her response to the bottle-green and chocolate walls, to the "ugly dream" of marital sex, and the alien atmosphere of Paris, was to become ill for two months. Colette was desperately unhappy, but she resolved "that whatever happened I must hide the truth from Sido.

I kept my word. Without uttering a word, Colette left. Curiously, she came to like the woman and learned from her "my first notions of tolerance and concealment and the possibility of coming to terms with an enemy. Her "insecure, useless life," as she described it, was changed forever when Willy insisted that she write down recollections of her school days.

Claudine at School appeared in 1900 under Willy's name alone and sold 40,000 copies in two months. Though considered by some to be "wickedly licentious," it feminist views on getting married young in sidonie gabrielle colettes the hand not pornographic.

Colette (1873–1954)

Claudine became a sensation as clothing, soaps, lotions, and other products capitalized on the schoolgirl image. Three more Claudine novels were followed by two works based on the female character, Minne, all attributed to "Willy. Adapted for the stage, Claudine was personified by the young actress Polaire. To generate publicity, Willy coerced Polaire and Colette into appearing with him in public dressed identically as Claudines, intimating a lesbian bond between the two young women. In fact, Colette's name was already associated with some of the most noted lesbians in Paris, relations encouraged by Willy to promote public scandal and attention.

  • If Colette's life as wife and lover, and as writer and performer, was unconventional, her role as mother verged on the unacceptable;
  • Her mother was a free-thinker and atheist influenced by the doctrine of voluptuousness advanced by the philosopher Charles Fourier;
  • But Colette, having already appeared half-naked on stage in several mimes, caused outrage and a near riot at the Moulin Rouge theater;
  • At age 65, Colette finally relinquished her nomadic ways, moved into an apartment overlooking the charming courtyard of the Palais Royal in Paris, and sold her house near Saint-Tropez;
  • Not one of Colette's appalling moral flaws is minimised, but none freezes Thurman's sympathy for her subject;
  • In her life, and in her novels, she "eagerly picked the fruits of the earth, without discriminating those which were forbidden," as Bertrand de Jouvenel saw it.

By 1905, their marriage was over. Locked in her room each day and forced to write, Colette developed a career, and living in Paris she acquired a number of illustrious friends. Her interest in the theater and music hall prompted her to take lessons in mime from Georges Wague. Willy encouraged her to go on tour with Wague's company, a not too subtle "notice to quit" the house, as Colette realized.

Such affairs conducted with some discretion were tolerated, even fashionable, among the Parisian beau monde. But Colette, having already appeared half-naked on stage in several mimes, caused outrage and a near riot at the Moulin Rouge theater. In "Dream of Egypt," a pantomime about an Egyptian mummy come to life, Colette slowly emerged from her wrappings to receive a passionate kiss from an Egyptian scholar, played by Missy.

A police order forbade a second performance. She continued to live with Missy and to write novels based on her experiences.

Tendrils of the Vine 1908 describes her affair with Missy, and The Vagabond 1910an autobiographical account of her music-hall years, was nominated for the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Scandal and recognition as an accomplished writer defined Colette as a notable public figure.

Perhaps the most praiseworthy thing about me is that I have known how to write like a woman. Her reputation did not prevent the editor-in-chief of Le Matin from becoming involved with his talented contributor. Baron Henry de Jouvenel called "Sidi" was "handsome … elegant, charming, and highly intelligent," father of two sons, one Bertrand from his ex-wife, the second Renaud from his current mistress, the Countess de Commingeswho threatened to kill Colette.

The shuffle among lovers never interfered with Colette's pursuit of her careers.

  • War and separation strained their marriage as did de Jouvenel's attraction to other women;
  • Filled with nouveau riche and celebrities, the resort town had impinged on her privacy;
  • Her sister Juliette's suicide in 1908, the death of her brothers and her first two husbands likewise elicited no reaction, no sense of loss or mortality;
  • Married to a "man I never understood," she admitted that "to have worked for him and beside him taught me to dread, not to know him better;
  • A police order forbade a second performance.

In September 1912, Colette's mother Sido died of cancer. Colette's reaction was peculiar and evoked charges of a lack of feeling. She refused to wear mourning or to attend the funeral.

Sido had been the bedrock of her daughter's life, but Colette seldom dwelt on the past, or those who inhabited it. Her sister Juliette's suicide in 1908, the death of her brothers and her first two husbands likewise elicited no reaction, no sense of loss or mortality. To Colette, death was no more than a "banal defeat.

In December 1912, she married Henry de Jouvenel, and six months later gave birth to a daughter, Colette de Jouvenelknown as Bel-Gazou beautiful gazelle. Marriage and motherhood limited Colette's freedom; in The Shackle 1913she describes love as the shackle for "one is no longer 'free'. Colette's stepson, Renaud de Jouvenel, accused her of calumniating men in her novels, portraying them as "stupid, irresponsible and incomprehensible.

Indeed, in a stinging reproof, he characterized Colette as "intellectually lesbian," as "fascinated by homosexuality," and having "almost exclusively feminine friendships. Sidi enlisted in the army, while Colette remained in Paris working as a night nurse in a military hospital and writing newspaper articles.

In December, she joined her husband at Verdun for three months; she also served as war correspondent in Italy at various times in 1915—16. War and separation strained their marriage as did de Jouvenel's attraction to other women. However, Colette and Sidi continued to work at Le Matin, and, in 1919, he made her literary editor of the paper. Acclaimed as one of France's most distinguished writers, Colette was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government. Her account of the affair provided the plot for The Ripening Seed 1923.

Meanwhile, Sidi pursued a political career and was elected to the French Senate. He also served as French representative to the League of Nations in Geneva. A succession of mistresses and his demanding career widened the rift in their marriage. Colette was upset, but she was not an innocent victim, for she too was unfaithful. Eventually, Sidi became aware that his son and wife were lovers, and in the autumn of 1923, while Colette was on a lecture tour, Sidi "left without a word.

  1. Her mother was a free-thinker and atheist influenced by the doctrine of voluptuousness advanced by the philosopher Charles Fourier. She ate sushi at the turn of the century, had a facelift in the Twenties, hired an acupuncturist, kept her wild hair permed her whole life, rejected religion, broke most of society's rules and ate with such relish and so little guilt that she ended up weighing 180lbs.
  2. He can be called a writer only in an honorary sense, given that he had lifelong writer's block, recruited composers of the day to pen his columns as a music critic and hired ghost writers to churn out his many novels. In early 1936, Colette published her memoirs of Willy, her first marriage, and on becoming a writer My Apprenticeships.
  3. The Difficulty of Loving.
  4. Scandal and recognition as an accomplished writer defined Colette as a notable public figure.
  5. She was one of the first serious writers to turn to the silent movies and devise cinematic scenarios. She was generally considered to be the leading French woman novelist from the mid-Twenties, when her talent emerged in all its glory, until her death aged 81 in 1954.

Further, she resumed acting and continued working for Le Matin until 1923. Despite her unconventional lifestyle, Colette's literary reputation grew. Aren't there other things in life?

  • Edited by Robert Phelps;
  • Filled with nouveau riche and celebrities, the resort town had impinged on her privacy.

But love, in all its manifestations, was what interested Colette. In her life, and in her novels, she "eagerly picked the fruits of the earth, without discriminating those which were forbidden," as Bertrand de Jouvenel saw it.

Colette's preoccupation with love in her writing was reflected in her personal life: One of her biographers states that Colette's affair with Bertrand "taught her that she needed a man who was younger than herself, a man whose career was manifestly second to her own, a man who would devote himself entirely to her service. They met through mutual friends, were lovers for ten years, married for 19 more, forever "best friends. After selling her house in Brittany, she bought another near Saint-Tropez, and frequently changed apartments in Paris.

If Colette's life as wife and lover, and as writer and performer, was unconventional, her role as mother verged on the unacceptable.

To Colette and de Jouvenel, the pursuit of satisfying careers and love affairs left their daughter largely out of their lives. Bel-Gazou, who bore a strong resemblance to her father, resented her mother's lack of attention and overtly disliked Goudeket. Colette was only secondarily a mother, wife, or lover; she was Colette, "both legally and familiarly…. I now have only one name, which is my own.

But she persisted because, she said, "I do feel the honour of my profession … [though] I never work easily. Henry de Jouvenel and his various mistresses in The Other One, 1929 and Colette's gay friends in The Pure and the Impure, 1932 were thus made immortal. The latter, "a study of sexual inversion," produced a public furor and was withdrawn from serialization after only four installments.

Colette considered it her best book—an opinion not universally shared by critics. Eager to supplement her income during the worldwide depression of the 1930s, Colette opened an Institute of Beauty in June 1932, in a fashionable section of Paris. Though Colette had "a horror of writing," she never contemplated giving up the profession that made her famous. While running her business, she had written one of her most original works, The Cat 1933.

Colette's twist again

A love triangle involving a man, his cat, and his young bride serves as the vehicle for Colette to express her love for animals; the young woman competes with the cat for the love of her husband, and she loses. Voted "the greatest living writer of French prose" by French writers in 1935, Colette's place in literature was secured when she was elected to the Royal Academy of Belgium. Membership in the prestigious French Academy would elude her due to her gender; founded in 1635, no woman would be elected until Marguerite Yourcenar in 1981.

Colette and Goudeket maintained separate residences and avoided the subject of marriage. But when invited to write an account of the maiden voyage of the Normandie to New Yorkthey decided to marry rather than create a scandal in the more prudish United States. A ten-minute civil ceremony in Paris united Colette and her "best friend.

Bel-Gazou's "unsettled life" had caused her mother some concern. Moreover, Bel-Gazou's marriage to the dull Dr. Denis Dausse in August 1935 Colette did not attendended in disaster. Two months later, they divorced.