HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Colette, born 28 January 1873
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
Very few authors come to be known only by their surname, and it is especially rare for women to be so known, but Gabrielle Sidonie Colette, has always been just ‘Colette’. She created teenage fiction with her Claudine series of novels, and she turned stereotypes upside down in both her life and writings. Today she is regarded as one of France’s greatest female novelists. There were three husbands, an affair with her step-son, stage roles that caused riots (she bared a breast on stage!), and a life that was incredibly colourful.
I have taken French literary tour groups to visit the wonderful Colette museum at Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in the Burgundy region of France. It has fabulous photos and information about her life and writings, her stage career, her poor neglected daughter (Colette was a terrible mother!), her pioneering work as a beauty therapist, and it also has a most unusual exhibit of her eyes as they changed and aged throughout her life. You feel Colette as a young woman, middle-aged woman and old woman, is watching you from the top of the stairs.
Colette died at age 81 on 3 August 1954.
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