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The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School; Claudine in Paris; Claudine Married; Claudine and Annie Paperback – September 5, 2001


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The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School; Claudine in Paris; Claudine Married; Claudine and Annie + Gigi, Julie de Carneilha, and Chance Acquaintances: Three Short Novels + The Collected Stories of Colette
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The paradoxes of great literature are those of human nature, and Colette is nothing if not human . . . Accessible and elusive; greedy and austere; courageous and timid; subversive and complacent; scorchingly honest and sublimely mendacious; an inspired consoler and an existential pessimist—these are the qualities of the artist and the woman. Its is time to rediscover them." --From the Introduction

"Delighted and quivering with life . . . Imbued with the most characteristic elements of the personality we have come to call simply Colette." --Robert Phelps, The New York Times

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528034
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on July 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Voluptuaries, consumed by their senses, always begin by flinging themselves with a great display of frenzy into an abyss. But they survive, they come to the surface again. And they develop a routine of the abyss: 'It's four o clock. At five I have my abyss... '"

This quote comes from one of those unclassifiable writers who flout all convention and blaze their own trail through life. I am referring to Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), better known simply as Colette. After completing the last of four of the Claudine novels, I'm trying to put words to an experience I have some difficulty describing.

Colette is one of those writers who is so feminine and even feline that, as both a man and a person allergic to cats, I almost have to disqualify myself from the effort. But, being game, I'll give it a try.

The first four novels Colette wrote were a fictionalization of her life in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye in the Burgundy region of France and in Paris. In COLETTE IN SCHOOL (1900), we see our heroine Claudine as a 15 year old in a provincial girls' school which is a hotbed of mischief and lesbianism. The headmistress is openly carrying on a relationship with one of her teachers at the school where they share a bedroom. Claudine is a rebellious teen who is a natural born leader and troublemaker. When her father decides to move to Paris, Claudine must go with him. In CLAUDINE IN PARIS (1901), we see Claudine getting used to the metropolis and finding love in her friend Marcel's father, Renaud. CLAUDINE MARRIED (1902) sees Claudine marrying Renaud. She falls under the sway of an Austrian woman named Rézi with whom she carries on a lesbian relationship with Renaud's amused approval.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Diane Schirf on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Complete Claudine by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. Highly recommended.

* Claudine at School

* Claudine in Paris

* Claudine Married

* Claudine and Annie

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette wrote the Claudine novels when she was in her late twenties, when she was young enough to remember the single-mindedness and bitterness of adolescent fixations and old enough to have acquired the tempered wisdom and understanding of experience. Through Claudine's eyes, the reader sees how the unreserved passion of the young must, of necessity, burn itself out or be transformed into a more lasting love that expresses itself more deeply and less dramatically to ensure its own survival.

Not surprisingly, Claudine at School is the most delightful of the series. Our narrator is full of life and mischief, and never fails to indulge in scathing commentary on anything within her limited countryside range-the licentious superintendent of schools, the weak and pretentious assistant masters, and the assistant mistress and head mistress who are literally joined at the lip and hip. Claudine's barbs find targets in everyone, including her father, her former wet nurse and servant, and her best friends.

Like her creator, Claudine is a sensualist. She loves that which appeals to her senses, not necessarily her heart or her mind. Claudine craves her first "love," the assistant schoolmistress Aimée Lathenay, for her "slim waist," "lovely eyes," "golden eyes with their curled-up lashes," "complexion," and "supple body" that "seeks and demands an unknown satisfaction." Mademoiselle Lathenay proves her faithlessness quickly, and Claudine makes an abrupt transition from gushing would-be lover to "a chill that froze me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Osburn VINE VOICE on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'd heard of Colette for a long time, but had read nothing of hers (I tend to overdose on English Lit). Then I saw the film *Cheri* with Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend (there are other versions) and developed the desire to read more by the creator of that tale (also watched the film *Gigi*, which is surprisingly spicy/worldly for its era).
I read the novelette *Cheri* and enjoyed it, but found that the Claudine stories are more appealing to me. It is often said that Colette's Claudine series is autobiographical. If so, that could explain the truth and believability of the emotions in her writing, which transcend time (they were written around the turn of the 20th century) and translation from French.
Claudine, as portrayed in *Claudine at School* and throughout the series, is a girl/young woman whose intelligence and sensitivity are matched by a strength of personality which was not (and still may not be!) considered feminine. She observes and comments on many aspects of the world around her - the French countryside with its plants, birds, animals, towns; her school with girls of differing looks and temperaments; and her teachers and the headmistress, plus more. Details are abundant, and I was able to picture the clothing and hair, as well as the complexions and eyes (Colette carefully describes the eyes)of all the characters, all interacting in French surroundings which, though they are over 100 years old and far away, I could visualize.
These books make a tome of thousands of pages, so I will try to generalize.
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The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School; Claudine in Paris; Claudine Married; Claudine and Annie
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