COLETTE by Elaine Marks


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A discerning and disarming study of Colette, who has had such a recent flare of popularity in the United States. Miss Marks covers the by now well knowns in her life: the happy childhood; the unhappy marriage to Willy who destroyed her illusions but disciplined her writing talents (if only by shutting her up in a room and forcing her to produce the Claudine series to which he signed his own name); her divorce, and her tour of duty in the music halls; the second marriage, and finally the last serene years with Goudeket. Miss Marks classifies Colette's novels in three main series, places them biographically, and distinguishes between the elements of reality and fantasy they contained. All this is just and true but not very important. Colette was an outsized character, full of a wonderful zest for life that included men, women, cats, food and flowers. All of her books are in the correct sense autobiographical- they include her realistic self and her imagination. Read them, and perhaps Goudeket's charming Close to Colette, and you know all there is to know... A well intentioned book, but somehow the academic approach is not consonant with the spirit of Colette.

Publisher: Rutgers University Press