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

Acknowledgmentix
Chapter 1Why Colette? she Invented an Alphabet1
Chapter 2Life or Works?17
From Saint-Sauveur to Willy: An Initiation25
Vagabondage and Social Success: Missy, Sidi, Bel-Gazou39
From Mother-Son Incest to the Consecration of the Mother: Bertrand de Jouvenel and Sido48
A Continual Rebirth55
Two Sides: Money and Writing57
The Idol Cornered by History62
Chapter 3Writing: Tendrils of the Vine74
The "Large-Limbed" Need to Write74
Tendrils of the Vine in Seven Movements85
Metaphors? No, Metamorphoses95
Two Narrative Registers100
The Imaginary as the Right to Lie106
The Solitude of Music and of Crime110
Chapter 4Who Is Sido?123
A Slow Apparition123
The Child and the Enchantments: Melanie Klein and Colette127
The Incestual Mother with "One of [Her] Children"133
What a Character!140
Chapter 5Depression, Perversion, Sublimation155
Freud's Way: Pere-version or Mere-version155
Idealization: Latency and the Superego159
Genitality or Neoreality?164
Succeeding Where the Pervert Exhausts Himself168
Psychopathia Sexualis and Melancholy According to Colette172
Pain, or Colette the Father184
Chapter 6The Metamorphic Body: Plants, Beasts, and Monsters194
"... My Old Subtle Senses"194
"O Geraniums, O Foxglove ..."209
The Animal, or an Unused Love213
"... If 'Mme Colette' Is Not a Monster, She Is Nothing" (Jean Cocteau)224
From the Death Drive to Decapitation238
Chapter 7Men and Women, Pure and Impure241
A New Mystic?241
Love Expresses Itself Only in Metaphors246
... Or, How to Wrest Oneself Away from Love248
From the Woman-Object to Objectless Love254
A Queen of Bisexuality260
Precocious Maturity, or Delicacy According to Mitsou and Gigi267
"... Those Men that Other Men Call Great"274
The Femine Ideal Includes Its Negative283
Mother and Child287
The War Between the Sexes294
"Those Pleasures Thoughtlessly Called Physical ..."297
The Infantile Revisited from the Direction of the Impure310
Which Couple? Or, the Triumph of the Imaginary315
Chapter 8A Little Politics all the Same322
An Antifeminist323
The Occupation, or the Politics of the Gourmand Ostrich326
Living the Image: From Illustration ...341
... To Cinema: In Praise of the Imaginary348
Chapter 9Still Writing, Between Balzac and Proust358
"Balzac, Difficult? He? My Cradle, My Forest, My Journey?"358
Proust? "As in Balzac, I'm Awash in It ... It's Delicious ..."368
Memory and Worthiness379
"Because Writing Leads Only to Writing"391
Chapter 10Is There a Feminine Genius?403
Simone de Beauvoir: "Situation" and "Individual Opportunities"404
The Two-Faced Oedipus408
Intersections419
Notes429
Bibliography483
Index487

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