Happy 144th Birthday, Colette

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” 

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, 1906

In the early 1900s, she described herself as anti-feminist (specifically anti-suffrage) but her admirers claim Colette was simply ahead of her time:

She was worried about sexual satisfaction, about how to balance autonomy and intimacy, about The Social Construction of Gender. She was also worried, not coincidentally, about making bank. Because, in Colette’s view, it wasn’t a revolution if you couldn’t afford foie gras. And, optimally, some very impressive jewelry to wear at the restaurant where they served it to you. She was selfish, apolitical, a hedonist, defiantly individual: One doubts whether, even now, she would find it in her to identify with any given cause, to subsume herself into the social good. But just because she didn’t care for feminism doesn’t mean feminists shouldn’t care for her.

Born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, France on Jan. 28, 1873, Sidonie Gabrielle Colette was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Her novella Gigi (1944) was later made in to a film by the same name directed by Vincente Minnelli. 

“I went to collect the few personal belongings which...I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.” - Colette

She died Aug. 3, 1954 in Paris. From her New York Times obituary:

Her stature was recognized when she was elected the first woman president of the distinguished Goncourt Academy. But her fifty-odd novels and scores of short stories were as popular with housewives, shop girls and laborers as they were with intellectuals.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” - Colette