Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea is a great event. I Focus on literary works and nonfiction but you are invited to share your thoughts and experience on anything Paris related, from a great recipe, a favourite movie set in Paris, mine is Ninotchka, an account of your stay in Paris. I hope lots of people participate. Just be sure and link you post on The event home page.
If Paris is the city of love, then Colette (Sidione-Gabreelle Colette 1873 to 1954) is the high priestess. For many their image of Paris derives from memories of the movie, Gigi, made from her probably most famous work. Living to almost eighty, she produced eighty volumes of writings of all sorts. When she passed in 1954 she was given the first ever state funeral for a French woman. She is a LBGTQ icon. Plus she loved cats!
I highly recommend for those interested in Colette and her milieu Secrets of the Flash: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman, upon which I posted during July in Paris 2015.
“The Vagabond is one of the first and best feminist novels”. Erica Jong
Vagabond, with a an informative newly written introduction by the translator, tells the story of Renée Néré, thirty three and recently divorced. She has begun working in a traveling Vaudeville Theatrical company. Drawing on her own experiences as an actress and erotic dancer, Colette shows us a lot about the life of Renée and the backstage world of French theatrical companies.
Actresses are often depicted as real or potential mistresses for wealthy roues in French literature, from Sand, to Balzac, Zola and Proust. A woman who danced nude, as did the central character and Colette herself, was considered part of the Demi-Monde of Parisian society (The classic novel on this is Nana by Emile Zola). Renée is being courted by a wealthy playboy who wants her to quit the stage and become his very well kept mistress. The tension of the plot is derived from Renée’s love of her freedom and her craving for comfort and security. Colette is acute in depictions of feelings and motivations.
To those new to Colette I suggest you start with Gigi,then Vagabond. If you read short stories, I have posted about this.
Please share your experience with Colette.