More about the author(s):
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Yonne, in the Burgundy Region of France. In 1893 she married Henri Gauthier-Villars, a famous wit known as Willy, who was 15 years her senior. Her first books, the Claudine series, were published under the pen name of her husband, Willy. In 1906 she left her husband and lived for a time with the American writer and salonist Natalie Barney. The two had a short affair, and remained friends until Colette's death. She then started working in the music halls of Paris with Mathilde de Morny, the Marquise de Belbeuf, with whom she became romantically involved. In 1907, they performed together in a pantomime entitled Rêve d'Égypte at the Moulin Rouge. Their onstage kiss nearly caused a riot, which the police were called in to suppress. As a result of this scandal, further performances of Rêve d'Égypte were banned and Colette and de Morny were no longer able to openly live together, though their relationship continued a total of five years. She was also involved with the Italian writer Gabriele D'Annunzio during this time. In 1912 she married Henri de Jouvenel, the editor of the newspaper Le Matin. She had one daughter. In 1914, she was asked to write a ballet for the Opéra de Paris, but the composer Maurice Ravel convinced her to rework it into an opera, L'Enfant et les sortilèges, which opened after the war in 1925. During World War I she converted her husband's estate into a hospital for the wounded. After the war, her writing career became more successful after the publication of her novel Chéri (1920). She divorced her husband after having an affair with her stepson. She married Maurice Goudeket in 1935 and changed her name to Sidonie Goudeket. Maurice Goudeket published a book about her called Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius. She published around 50 novels in total, many with autobiographical elements.