Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette

⋶ Many Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette ʰ Ebook Author Judith Thurman ᠁ ⋶ Many Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette ʰ Ebook Author Judith Thurman ᠁ Biographers generally believe that it is easy to be a monster It iseven harder than being a saint COLETTE, Lettres ses pairsIn March of 1900, a forty one year old Parisian man of letters published a novel that purported to be the journal of a sixteen year old provincial schoolgirl named Claudine Henry Gauthier Villars was best known as an amusingly opinionated music critic who had championed Wagner and insulted Satie His paunch and top hat had endeared him to the cartoonists of the penny press and his duels, his puns, and his seductions of women managed to generate almost as much copy as he wrote himself Gauthier Villars used his own name for scholarly nonfiction and one of many pseudonyms when a work was light He and his alter egos Willy, Jim Smiley, Boris Zichine, Henry Maugis, and the Usherette had a bibliography which already included a collection of sonnets, another of essays on photog raphy, several comic almanacs, a monograph on Mark Twain, and a number of salacious popular novels It was not a very well kept secret that most of these works had been improved by other hands, if not entirely ghostwritten In an ironic bow to this reputation, Willy claimed that the new manuscript had arrived in the mail tied with a pink ribbon the literary equivalent of a baby girl delivered by the stork.Claudine at School was not the first authorial travesty of its kind, and certainly not the last, although Claudine herself was something new She was the century s first teenage girl rebellious, tough talking, secretive, erotically reckless and disturbed, by turns beguiled and disgusted at her discovery of what it means to become a woman In his preface to the book, Willy calls her a child of nature, a Tahitian before the advent of the missionaries, and he pays homage to her innocent perversity even while regretting this word perversity, which subverts the idea that I wish to give of Claudine s special case for the very reason that I insist one cannot find any conscious vice in this young girl, who is, one might say, less immoral than she is amoral The novel languished for a few months until Willy rallied his influential friends, who duly produced reviews hailing Claudine at School as a masterpiece By autumn, it had sold some forty thousand copies, becoming including its four sequels one of the greatest French bestsellers of all time There were five Claudines in all, two successful plays, and a range of product spin offs in the modern sense, including Claudine cigarettes, perfume, chocolates, cosmetics, and clothing The author, notorious to begin with, became something of a brand name himself I think that only God and maybe Alfred Dreyfus are as famous as Willy , said Sacha Guitry.The man who signed Claudine at School is now best remembered as the deplorable first husband of the woman who wrote it Madame Henry Gauthier Villars, ne Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, was then an athletic beauty of twenty seven who could pass easily for seventeen She concealed her feelings and her talent, but she flaunted her rustic accent and a plait of auburn hair as long as she was tall Her family in Burgundy still called her Gabri, but in Paris she went by the waifish moniker of Colette Willy She had rejected her own first name long before she married, insisting that her school friends rowdy village girls like herself and like Claudine call one another by their patronyms, comme des garons When she married for the second time, Colette Willy became Colette de Jouvenel, and finally, triumphantly, syncretically, just Colette.Colette began writing in her early twenties, living turbulently and working tirelessly, her powers waxing as she aged In the course of half a century, she produced nearly eighty volumes of fiction, memoirs, journalism, and drama of the highest quality Her published correspondence fills seven volumes, and at least three important collections of letters remain unedited Her critics and biographers have been prolific than she was.Digesting this colossal banquet was not the greatest of my challenges as her biographer Colette s friend Jean Cocteau liked to say Je suis un mensonge qui dit toujours la vrit I am a lie that always speaks the truth To which Colette s American anthologist, Robert Phelps, would add she is a truth who always speaks a lie A French critic would note expansively Colette s art is that of the lie But the great game she plays with us is, precisely, to stuff her best lies with great flashes of truth To read her with pleasure thus consists of disentangling, with a deft pair of tweezers, the true from the false The autobiographical candor of Colette s best writing is an illusion, just as her celebrated physical immodesty is misleading She has, as Dominique Aury puts it, a fierce modesty of sentiment She actively dis dains all forms of empathy and resists being known.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 WorldIT WILL STAND AS LITERATURE IN ITS OWN RIGHT RICHARD BERNSTEIN The New York Times Secrets International exclusive worldwide Secrets provides Dutch high class escort models in Amsterdam and all of Holland Our playfull VIP escorts offer you true GFE excitement Bed Breakfast Chambre d htes Les de la Vie bed breakfast Celles bij Vlaamse Ardennen Sfeervolle en idyllisch gelegen Bed op een boogscheut van Mont Saint Aubert OpenSecrets Data on Campaign 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    • Format Kindle
    • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
    • Judith Thurman
    • Anglais
    • 20 June 2016
    • 636 pages

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