Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the outstanding French writers of the twentieth century. The novels of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873 - 1954) always had women at their centre, from youth to mid-life to old age, and they were phenomenally popular, at first for their freshness and frankness about women’s lives, as in the Claudine stories, and soon for their sheer quality as she developed as a writer. Throughout her career she intrigued readers by inserting herself, or a character with her name, into her works, fictionalising her life as a way to share her insight into the human experience.

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  • Diana Holmes No other episodes
    Professor of French at the University of Leeds
  • Michele Roberts No other episodes
    Writer, novelist, poet and Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia
  • Belinda Jack 2 episodes
    Fellow and Tutor in French Literature and Language at Christ Church, University of Oxford

Reading list

  • The Collected Stories of Colette
    Colette (ed. Robert Phelps) (Vintage Classics, 2003) Google Books →
  • Cheri
    Colette (Vintage Classics, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Last of Cheri
    Colette (Vintage Classics, 2009) Google Books →
  • Gigi and The Cat
    Colette (Vintage Classics, 2001) Google Books →
  • Break of Day
    Colette (Secker and Warburg, 1961) Google Books →
  • My Mother's House and Sido
    Colette (Random House, 1995) Google Books →
  • Colette
    Diana Holmes (Palgrave Macmillan, 1991) Google Books →
  • Colette and the Fantom Subject of Autobiography
    Jerry Aline Flieger (Cornell University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • Colette's France: Her Life and Loves
    Jane Gilmour (Hardie Grant Books, 2013)
  • Colette
    Julia Kristeva (trans. Jane Marie Todd) (Columbia University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Colette: A Biography
    Michele Sarde (William Morrow & Co, 1980) Google Books →
  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
    Judith Thurman (Bloomsbury, 2000) Google Books →
  • Colette's Republic: Work, Gender, and Popular Culture in France, 1870-1914
    Patricia A. Tilburg (Berghahn Books, 2009) Google Books →
  • Colette
    Nicole Ward Jouve (Indiana University Press, 1987) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 843 (French fiction)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Colette, 1873 to 1954, was one of the outstanding French writers of the 20th century and uniquely her novels always had women at their centre, from youth to midlife to old age.