Secrets of the Flesh : A Life of Colette
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was this century's first modern woman. She arrived in Paris around 1900 as the provincial child bride of a notorious rake and brilliant literary impressario, Willy, who signed her first novels, "the Claudines", as his own. They invented the erotically reckless teenage girl as we know her, and became the greatest French bestsellers of all time. When this tumultuous marriage ended, Colette went off with a high-born woman lover, the virile Marquise de Belboeuf, and embarked on a flamboyant stage career. She bared her breast to raucous applause in the French music-hall and became a celebrity of the lesbian demimonde. While building a reputation for hugely popular fiction, drama, memoir, critcism and scandal, Colette became the Baroness de Jouvenal, the wife of Paris' most influential (and sexually charismatic) political journalist. She was one of the first women to report from the front lines of World War I. She edited the literary pages of a major daily. At 47, she seduced her stepson. In 1935, a readers' poll named Colette the greatest living master of French prose. Until her death in 1954, she continues to rewrite the rule for loving, working, and ageing.
- Hardback | 616 pages
- 162 x 242mm | 1,149g
- 11 Oct 1999
- Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- London, United Kingdom
" THE MOST IMPRESSIVE AND FASCINATING BOOK OF THE . . . SEASON. NO NOVEL, NO MEMOIR, NO OTHER BIOGRAPHY DISPLAYS SUCH INSIGHT AND VITALITY. . . . Through deft observation, research, and beautiful writing, Thurman brings alive one of the most astonishing writers and women ever to stride this earth." --USA Today " [Colette] has been the subject of . . . a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top. . . . Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating." --The Washington Post Book World " IT WILL STAND AS LITERATURE IN ITS OWN RIGHT." --RICHARD BERNSTEIN The New York Times