Richard Davenporthines

Colette’s France, by Jane Gilmour – review

<em>Richard Davenport-Hines</em> on the charmed, dizzy world of the multi-talented Colette

Portrait of the author Colette’s ‘L’Entrave’ in her flat in Paris, by André Dignimont. Credit: The Bridgeman Art Library

Monstrous innocence’ was the ruling quality that Colette claimed in both her life and books. Protesting her artless authenticity, she was sly in devising her newspaper celebrity and ruthless in imposing her personal myths. She posed as provincial ingénue, wide-eyed young wife of the Paris belle époque, scandalous lesbian, risqué music-hall performer, novelist of prodigious output, theatre reviewer, beautician, seducer, the most feline of cat-lovers and, ultimately, garlanded literary lioness.

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