Simon Blow

Pleasure & Desolation

Letters from Colette

By Robert Phelps (ed)

Virago 214 pp £6.95 order from our bookshop

Colette is one of those rare writers for whom one has not only respect but a deep affection. Affection, because respect and admiration are not enough for a woman who determinedly remained a ‘natural’ and refused to sell herself in the literary market-place. Not for her the claustrophobic world of the salon littéraire, and writer scoring off writer, nor the jealousy and back-biting that all too frequently accompanies it. She made her life among the pleasures and desolations of the day-to-day, and preferred observing nature or watching the fishermen dance at Saint-Tropez to receiving admiring letters. Even to the end she dismissed her own fame, protesting to her daughter, ‘If I were famous, I would know.’

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