Colette

Colette

by Julia Kristeva
     
 

ISBN-10: 0231128967

ISBN-13: 9780231128964

Pub. Date: 06/09/2004

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Published on the fiftieth anniversary of her death, this intellectual biography of Colette -- the final volume of Julia Kristeva's trilogy Female Genius -- will be considered a major breakthrough in understanding one of the great creative minds of the twentieth century.

Colette (1873-1954) was a prolific novelist who celebrated sexual pleasure and invented a

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Overview

Published on the fiftieth anniversary of her death, this intellectual biography of Colette -- the final volume of Julia Kristeva's trilogy Female Genius -- will be considered a major breakthrough in understanding one of the great creative minds of the twentieth century.

Colette (1873-1954) was a prolific novelist who celebrated sexual pleasure and invented a language for it at a time when women writers were inhibited about dealing with the topic. Female sexuality in a male-dominated world and the joys and pains of love served as her main themes, and her novels -- Cheri, La Chatte, and Gigi, among them -- blurred the boundaries between fact and fiction long before autobiographical novels became commonplace. She married three times, had male and female lovers, and for a time supported herself as a mime, dancing semi-nude in music halls throughout France. When she died, she received the first state funeral the French Republic had ever given a woman. Colette's writing was inspired by entertainers, courtesans, an aristocratic Parisian lesbian subculture, and fin de siede gay aesthetes. She admired those who lived on the sexual edge and was accused of moral corruption in intellectual matters -- she published in pro-Vichy, anti-Semitic journals during the Occupation, even as she fought to keep her Jewish third husband from deportation. Kristeva deftly examines Colette's controversial life and work and considers two of her most important influences, Honore de Balzac and Marcel Proust. In a multifaceted approach, Kristeva considers Colette's use of metaphor, the characters in her novels, and the development of her writing within the context of her life. Paying particular attention to the language the French writer used to "say the unsayable and name the unnameable," Kristeva offers an elegant and sophisticated critique of Colette's psychological conflicts, particularly her sexual relationships and how these conflicts are both recorded in and resolved through the act of writing. Appealing to Freudian and Lacanian concepts such as the Oedipus complex, perversion, the symbolic, and melancholy, Kristeva opens Colette's oeuvre to psychoanalytic interpretation. The impression that remains is of a woman intent on experiencing the world's plea

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231128964
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
06/09/2004
Series:
European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism Series
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.36(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Ch. 1Why Colette? : she invented an alphabet1
Ch. 2Life or works?17
Ch. 3Writing : tendrils of the vine74
Ch. 4Who is Sido?123
Ch. 5Depression, perversion, sublimation155
Ch. 6The metamorphic body : plants, beasts, and monsters194
Ch. 7Men and women, pure and impure241
Ch. 8A little politics all the same322
Ch. 9Still writing, between Balzac and Proust358
Ch. 10Is there a feminine genius?403

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