Happy Birthday Colette!



“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”

Colette was a performer, poet, and novelist. She was born on this day in rural France in 1873. She shocked her public by marrying three times, by having an affair with her stepson, and by displaying—on and off the stage—her bisexually. Colette was a lover of cats (often playing the part of one in theatre), the trapeze (she had one installed in her home, stating it was her preferred form of exercise), and paperweights.

Colette is often credited with the ‘discovery’ of Audrey Hepburn, who she chose Hepburn to play the part of Gigi, the protagonist of the Broadway show based on her novel.

Truman Capote’s short story “The White Rose” tells the story of his visit to Colette. Drawn to her paperweight collection, he attempted to resist her gift of one: “[W]hen I protested that I couldn’t accept as a present something she so clearly adored, [she replied], ‘My dear, really there is no point in giving a gift unless one also treasures it oneself.” As a result of this visit Capote became a paperweight collector.

To read more about Capote’s story visit: University Bookstore

To read her play “Barks and Purrs” featuring Toby, a French bull-dog, and Kiki-the-Demure, a Maltese cat, visit the Gutenberg Project here: Project Gutenberg


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