The curtain rises to 10.45 am. On the stage of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, perched Colette as an Egyptian mummy, wearing a jewel-encrusted bra. An archaeologist in the suit is coming, the transsexual “Missy”, Colette is a beloved. Nothing the two women from the rest, neither the whistles nor the “Down with the lesbians”-Call.

Stoically play more at the 3. January, 1907. Already the audience with orange peel and garlic raises, toes, coins, candy cans and seat cushions. The Tumult reaches its climax when the archaeologist brought his mummy to life and with a long, real kiss. A stool flies on the stage, the police must restrain the mob hordes.

Colette’s reaction? “I’m a little disappointed in the cowardice of all these people,” she says to a journalist after the Premiere and promises: “I will play again.” Welcome to the world of Sidonie-Gabrielle Claudine Colette, fight funniest Enfant Terrible of the Belle Époque. Where she was, ruled the spectacle, crackled the air, and fell people in Gasping.


“Colette’s life. Scandal on scandal. And then everything takes a new turn, and you will be the Idol”: the artist Jean Cocteau for an outline of the noise-like the Vita of a woman, the France at the beginning of the 20th century. Century, electrified like no other. Because, you, missed, in word and deed, hardly ever a taboo.

Rotzfreche round

Never before had whistled a member of the fine Parisian society so consistently at conventions. And never before had an author dared to be as clear and stylish at the same time – to write about female sexuality. “It’s given her, the Uncharted reveal the violence of the female thought in the work of art,” says fellow author Marcel Proust.

set During the Catholic Church, Colette’s books on the Index, devoured young French women with red ears and a growing appetite from 1900 published “Claudine”novels. Finally, someone who took their desires into words!

That Colette had invented the figure of the cocky, sensual teenager Claudine, knew the first one. To be published in the beginning of their career, the writer, under the Pseudonym of her first husband, Henry Gauthier’s-Villars, known as “Willy”.

“Quickly, my child, quickly,”

The socialite and philanderer suffered from blockages among notorious of Writing, which is why he stopped in Paris, a kind of literary workshop. Belonged to his Ghostwriter squad also Colette, a young beauty from the country, with blue cat eyes and rolling “r”.

at times, the same beloved divided: Willy and Colette (1902)

Born in 1873 in a village in Burgundy, would be Colette became by his own admission prefers a sailor. With writing the wild girl had fell with the knee-length braids never on the hat until it is in the vortex of the Parisian Bohème.

“Quickly, my child, hurry up, it’s not a shiny penny more in the house”: With these words, husband Willy have driven you to Write, Colette. “Any juicy memories of the school” should get you on the paper.

Imprisoned, and exploited

every Day, the publisher’s son to a castle his wife for four hours in the work room. Willy from pressed her book to book, beat you, humiliated you, sexually, exploited them financially, so far from Colette fired legend, impressively implemented in the Hollywood Biopic with a terrific Keira Knightley in the main role.

Even if it is in the form of a #MeToo-Drama from the year 2018, the magnificent: That Colette was actually locked up, doubt your biographer indoor unanimously – even the writer denied this at the end of her life in an Interview.

The historical Colette was soon thoroughly tired of the man subjugated and to be deceived, with you occasionally shared even the same mistress. 1907 rebelled, the writer in the weekly newspaper “La Vie parisienne”:

“I’m sick of it. I want to do what I want. (……) For me dance naked (……) I want to write sad and chaste books, where there are only landscapes, flowers, grief, Pride, and the impartiality of the animals.”

Faun, kittens, Gigolo

Determined to Colette threw off their shackles, to search now regardless of your personal happiness. After the separation of Willy the writer has operated under its own name, took MIME lessons, and resulted in, scantily clad, as a Faun, kittens, Gigolo sensation.

“just a woman” Colette, 1906 in Paris

held for many Years, Colette has a relationship with the TRANS-sexual Marquise de Belboeuf, slept with women as well as men, and even the stepson. “So many women want to be spoiled, but only few are chosen!”, Colette wrote in her novel “These pleasures”.

Even from the maternity wanted to make the most of this freedom, you will not narrow: Bel-Gazou came in 1913 to the world – and was deported eight years in a boarding school. “My manhood,” wrote Colette 100 years before the discovery of the “Regretting Motherhood”phenomenon, “saved me from the danger which threatens the happy and tender parent to become a writer: to be a mediocre author.”

whip and the Harem for the suffragettes

The mediocrity was Colette’s thing, never, but also the big picture vision you not didn’t give. General ideas, used to say Colette, like dangling earrings: you would not be her. Although Colette against sexism in the art world protested and encouraged the female to Write. But a women’s rights activist, was you indicated never, unlike in the US Film.

“you Know, what earn the suffragettes?”, hurled Colette in 1910, a journalist: “The whip and the Harem!” Women are not suitable to hold political office, she said, in 1927, her interview partner, Walter Benjamin. Because they’re overstimulated every month, two to three days”, short-tempered, unpredictable.”

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The woman, who so openly about fake orgasm, anorexia and a lot of sex wrote, represented politically (if at all) conservative views. Your daughter committed during the Second world war in the resistance – Colette had no Problem to publish anti-Semitic Hetzblättern. And at the same time, her third husband, to hide the Jewish pearl merchant Maurice Goudeket, in front of the Nazis.

in Vain: In the dawn of the 12th. December of 1941 brought the Gestapo Goudeket. Emaciated, he came after seven weeks of imprisonment in a camp. Colette, meanwhile, is almost 69 years old, had met with collaborators such as German, to have her husband back alive. “The heart has no wrinkles, only scars,” wrote the woman who is chasing after a life long of happiness and but photos never smiled.


her last books had to compose Colette lying – a osteoarthritis in both hips, she tied to the end of the war more and more to the bed. The ageing writer, already a highly decorated icon of the literary establishment, wrote more, always more, to bring their own Motto: “With furious zeal of his innermost paper”.

myth with bed-hair: Colette and Audrey Hepburn in 1951, during rehearsals for the Broadway Comedy, “Gigi”

On the evening of the 3. August 1954, ceased to be the “most human heart of the modern French literature” (Marcel Proust) forever to beat. The Catholic Church refused to allow the scandal is the author of a funeral. For Colette, who was of the opinion received, “death should never be something Public,” a pompous state funeral – the first French woman ever.

More than 6,000 people, mostly women, over ravelled to your coffin in the courtyard of the Palais Royal. Silent, like the “Figaro” amazed quoted: “What is expressed here, is the sire of more than the sympathy of a factory – it was the love of a woman.”

read More:
Judith Thurman’s Colette. The novel of your life, Berlin, 2001

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.