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Colette - book author

Colette was the pen name of the French novelist and actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novella Gigi, which provided the plot for a famous Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical. She started her writing career penning the influential Claudine novels of books. The novel Chéri is often cited as her masterpiece.

Colette is the author of books: Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Vagabond, Chéri, The Complete Claudine, Gigi and The Cat, The Pure and the Impure, The Collected Stories, Gigi, Claudine at School, My Mother's House & Sido

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Author Books

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01
Chéri, together with The Last of Chéri, is a classic story of a love affair between a very young man and a charming older woman. The amour between Fred Peloux, the beautiful gigolo known as Chéri, and the courtesan Léa de Lonval tenderly depicts the devotion that stems from desire, and is an honest account of the most human preoccupations of youth and middle age. With compassionate insight Colette paints a full-length double portrait using an impressionistic style all her own.

"A wonderful subject [treated with] intelligence, mastery, and understanding of the least-admitted secrets of the flesh." ― André Gide
02
Thirty-three years-old and recently divorced, Renée Néré has begun a new life on her own, supporting herself as a music-hall artist. Maxime, a rich and idle bachelor, intrudes on her independent existence and offers his love and the comforts of marriage. A provincial tour puts distance between them and enables Renée, in a moving series of letters and meditations, to resolve alone the struggle between her need to be loved, and her need to have a life and work of her own.
03
Léa de Lonval is an aging courtesan, a once famous beauty facing the end of her sexual career. She is also facing the end of her most intense love affair, with Fred Peloux--known as Chéri--a playboy half her age. But neither lover understands how deeply they are attached, or how much life they will give up by parting ways.
04
Colette, prodded by her first husband, Willy, began her writing career with Claudine at School, which catapulted the young author into instant, sensational success. Among the most autobiographical of Colette's works, these four novels are dominated by the child-woman Claudine, whose strength, humor, and zest for living make her seem almost a symbol for the life force.

Janet Flanner described these books as "amazing writing on the almost girlish search for the absolute of happiness in physical love . . . recorded by a literary brain always wide awake on the pillow."
05
Gigi is being educated in the skills of the Courtesan: to choose cigars, to eat lobster, to enter a world where a woman's chief weapon is her body. However, when it comes to the question of Gaston Lachaille, very rich, and very bored, Gigi does not want to obey the rules.

In 'The Cat', a story of burgeoning sexuality and blossoming love, an exquisite strong-minded Russian Blue is struggling for mastery of Alain with his seductive fiancée, Camille.
06
Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, "the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography." This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den. It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire. Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature's subtlest reckonings, not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but with the always unlikely nature of love.
07
The Collected Stories of Colette beings together in one volume for the first time in any language the comprehensive collection of short stories by the novelist known worldwide as Colette, and now acknowledged, with Proust, as the most original French narrative writer of the first half of our century. of the one hundred stories gathered here, thirty-one appear for the first time in English and another twenty-nine have been newly translated for this volume.
08
Une histoire de la naissance de la féminité et de l'amour, le chef-d'œuvre de Colette révèle l'emprise de l'auteur de la politique de relations. Avec la musique, le théâtre et le charme du français-fléchie, cette histoire nous montre la formation de la courtisane Gigi.
09
Claudine is a head strong, clever and extremely mischievous schoolgirl. Along with her friends the lanky Anais, the cheerful Marie and the prim Joubert twins Claudine wreaks havoc on her small school. Always clever, witty and charming Claudine is more than a match for her formidable headmistress as they fight for the attention of the pretty assistant Aimee. The horrors of examinations and good-humoured bullying are the backdrops in this immensely funny and delightful novel with which Colette established the captivating character of Claudine. Through the games, the fun and the intricacies of school life Claudine emerges as a true original; lyrical and intelligent she is one of the twentieth century's most beguiling emancipated women.
10
In My Mother's House and Sido, Colette plays fictional variations on the themes of childhood, family, and, above all, her mother. Vividly alive, fond of cities, music, theater, and books, Sido devoted herself to her village, Saint-Saveur; to her garden, with its inhabitants and its animals; and, especially, to her children, particularly her youngest, whom she called Minet-Chéri. Unlike Gigi and Chéri, which focus largely on sexual love and its repercussions, My Mother's House and Sido center on the compelling figure of a powerful, nurturing woman in late-nineteenth-century rural France, conveying the impact she had on her community and on her daughter -- who grew up to be a great writer.