“What a beautiful life I’ve had”.


These were reported to be Sidonie Gabrielle Colette’s last words.

Colette (French novelist and playwright 1873-1954) was a glorious strumpet. She was raised in a little village before being swept off her feet and taken to Paris by Henri Gauthier-Villiers, a man about town known as “Willy”, a famous writer of potboilers. Her husband discovered she could write so he got her to write her stories and published them under his own name. He became very wealthy from the ‘Claudine’ series of novels Colette penned. Willy was in the habit of keeping Colette locked in her room to produce new works. This went on for 13 years before Colette packed her bags and left.

Without Willy’s publishing connections Colette struggled to make a living, becoming a drama critic, political writer, fashion critic and cooking columnist. This was not enough to pay the bills so she also became a music hall dancer, which gave her a rich new source for her stories. One night she appeared on stage and brazenly exposed her breast (see pic. above) with shameless strumpet pride. She was announcing to the world that femininity was no longer something that could be confined, she had let an alternative version of femininity free. It created an international scandal. She liked to cross-dress in men’s clothing when it suited her too, which caused a stir. She cared not a fig for what people thought.

She married a news editor and had a daughter, but kept on writing her stories, which were thinly disguised autobiographies such as ‘Renee’, a story about a divorcee turned actress. One of her first stories after the end of her first marriage was ‘Dialogue des Betes’ a conversation between a cat and a dog. Her books centred on the themes of nature, passion, sexuality, sensuality and human relations. After that came more books, the ‘Caroline’ series, Gigi, Cheri, L’Ingenue Libertine’, The Ripening and ‘La Vagabonde’. La Vagabonde was declared by critics to be one of the dozen best French novels of the times. She divorced her second husband in 1924, had a scandalous affair with her step-son and kept writing. She also flaunted her numerous lesbian affairs which did nothing to quell views that she was most definitely a strumpet. In 1927 Paul Claudel called her “the greatest living writer in France”. She lived next door to Jean Cocteau and they shared ideas about poetry, art and life. Colette married the 16 years younger Maurice Goudeket in 1935, a Jewish man she supported and hid during the German occupation of France. In 1935 Colette became an Officer of The Grand Legion of Honour. Colette was a strumpet of the highest order.

“I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer”~ Colette.


About Mari McNifique

Astrologer, counsellor, kinesiologist and social worker View all posts by Mari McNifique

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