French novelist, belonging, in time, to the generation of authors that includes Marcel Proust, Paul Valéry, André Gide, and Paul Claudel. Colette's career as a writer spanned from her early 20s to her mid-70s. Her main themes were joys and pains of love and female sexuality in the male-dominated world. All her works are more or less autobiographical - Colette intentionally blurred the boundaries between fiction and fact in her life. She wrote over 50 novels and scores of short stories.
In the 1930s Colette was made a member of the Belgian Royal Academy. She was the first woman to be admitted to the prestigious Goncourt Academy. In 1953 she became a grand officer of the Legion of Honour. She won also many awards for her work, and became a legendary figure in Paris as writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946). During the last 20 years of her life Colette suffered crippling form of arthritis, which had been set off by the fracture of a fibula in 1931. Her marriage 1924 with Henry de Jouvenal ended in 1924. From 1935 she was married to Maurice Goudaket, whose pearl business had been ruined during the Depression. Colette supported him more or less because as a Jew he did not find work and had to hide when the Germans occupied France. Colette died on August 3, 1954 in Paris. She was accorded a state funeral despite the refusal of Catholic rites on the grounds that she had been divorced. Her funeral was attended by thousands of mourners.
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