Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette -- Aquarian

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was a woman with quite a long and varied life.

Who would have guessed that a little middle-class girl from the provinces would have quite so many adventures?

She was an actress, cabaret performer, and of course, writer. She was married to a much older man, who stole her first writings... or rather published them under his name. This included the entire Claudine series.

After leaving Willy, she had love affairs with several influential women, including Natalie Barney, a saloniste and writer, and Missy de Morny, daughter of the notorious Duc de Morny. With Missy, she performed a cabaret act at the Moulin Rouge that scandalized because the women kissed onstage (take that, Madonna and Brittney!). She continued to have affairs with men, both older and younger than herself.

Her second and third marriages were equally interesting.

Her writing continued to focus on the mores of love and sex among the French, including the Cheri series, the novel Gigi (most famous to American's because of Lerner and Loew's movie musical), and her ongoing friendship and artistic collaboration with Jean Cocteau.

During WWI she turned her home outside Paris into a hospital and earned the role of Chevalier in the Legion of Honor. During WWII, she hid her husband in their attic throughout the war and aided Jewish friends to hide or escape the Nazis. She published poetry, short stories, plays, opera libretti, and about 50 novels.

Just a little girl with a provincial upbringing.


  1. I have been reading CoCo Chanel biographies the past couple of months and was so surprised to see that THEY were acquaintances, if not friends. She was another little girl with an unusual upbringing.

  2. I had no idea she had an affair with Natalie Clifford Barney! Rock on. One of my favorite Cincinnati lesbians!

  3. Thanks for this...I have adored Colette since I was a teenager. Check out my dvd An Australian in Paris- a fair bit in it about Colette and Natalie Barney. Youtubelinks for an Australian in Paris

    An Australian in Paris 5 minute excerpts:
    Faure Berceuse:
    I love Paris excerpt:
    It Aint Necessarily So excerpt:


    DVD -


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