“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” –New York World-Telegram and Sun (1961)
I completely agree with Colette- if we’re going to do something foolish, relish the opportunity. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born on January 28, 1873 in the Burgundy area of France. Her life was an adventure of writing more than fifty novels, marrying three men, having numerous love affairs with men and women, enjoying the company of her cats, working as a chorusgirl, and enjoying life. She was the first woman to be given a state funeral in France. I became a fan of hers recently when I read Chéri and its sequel, The End of Chéri. The dialog is colorful and down-to-earth, and explores social conventions by turning them upside down. A woman of a certain takes a lover half her age. The story has the male character, Chéri, in the role we usually think of a female character with feminine needs and desires. She examines gender roles with humor and irony and her writing is wonderful.
To celebrate Colette’s birthday, I started The Tender Shoot, one of her novels, and a biography, Secrets of the Flesh, by Judith Thurman. For a short biography, see the European Graduate School’s entry.