Unknown Worlds

Paris Fountain

“On this narrow planet, we have only the choice between two unknown worlds. One of them tempts us – ah! what a dream, to live in that! – the other stifles us at the first breath.”

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Colette’s writing career spanned five decades, from her early 20s to her mid-70s. Her themes were joy, love, and being a woman in a male-dominated world.  This theme was present in La Vagabonde, published in 1910, which presents a narrative about an actress who rejects a man she loves for a life of independence.

In 1912, Colette married Henri de Jouvenel des Ursins, the editor of the newspaper Le Matin, and had their daughter Colette de Jouvenel, in 1913.  During WWI, Colette transformed her husband’s St. Malo estate into a hospital for the wounded.  She was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

The 1920’s were kind to Colette.  By 1927, she was often celebrated as France’s greatest woman writer. Much of her success could be attributed to the sympathetic responses from readers to her insights into the behaviour of women in love. One thing is certain; she was on a mission to live gloriously.  And she chose her unknown world.

 “I believe there are more urgent and honourable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.”

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

 

22 Comments

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Interesting post. I know little of her. Love the quote & info. Thank you Rebecca!

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Cindy. I must confess I knew very little about her until I read the quote “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” That was when I decided to do a little research. She is fascinating…

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  2. billgncs says:

    leave it to a French woman to be liberated and write of love.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thanks for joining the dialogue. On August 4, 1954, New York Times reported her passing.This was included in the article: “Speaking of the frankness with which she wrote of love, licit and illicit, one critic observed that an Englishman might feel she had lowered love to the level of sensuality, whereas a true Frenchman would feel she had elevated sensuality to the level of love.”

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      1. billgncs says:

        quintessentially French.

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      2. Clanmother says:

        Vive le français

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      3. billgncs says:

        yes, some things I have never tasted – but I know them to be delightful.

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      4. Clanmother says:

        Well said – as always…

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  3. indiferent says:

    Good morning, my dear friend. Interesting info … I find here something that enriches me ! 🙂 I find about Colette and her unknown worlds. No suffering, Rebecca … that is the way for our future.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Let us chose to fill our “unknown” world with the best of our love and joy. I agree – it is the way for our future…

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  4. Gallivanta says:

    With her war work she would have a deep understanding of suffering so no wonder she can talk about it so sensibly.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      She continues to be a mystery to me. Perhaps, that is why she is so interesting. She was by no means perfect, but she seemed to have a special insight into the human condition.

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  5. LaVagabonde says:

    What an absolute joy her writing is.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! Colette’s writing, although set within a time period, seems ageless. She valued authenticity and rejected hypocrisy. Timeless and universal…

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Paris est magique. J’étais là au printemps. Le jour, je reviendrai à l’automne.

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  6. Ms Frances says:

    We seem to avoid being transparent. Perhaps this lady accomplished that.

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    1. Clanmother says:

      Perhaps she did! She certainly was was able to articulate her thoughts and motivations. In doing so, she spoke for many…

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  7. 67paintings says:

    This post and previous is a wonderful introduction to her life. An agent provocateur for a better life, the one requiring more courage…

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    1. Clanmother says:

      I agree wholeheartedly! I am learning to embrace my fears…

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