The empress of the senses

In one lifetime, she managed to be model, entrepreneuse, musician, showgirl, critic, obedient bride, scandalous lesbian - and, above all, an incomparable mistress of modern prose. By Michÿle Roberts
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Colette (1873-1954) is a writer beloved of other writers for the excellence of her style. She is beloved of women, particularly, for her courage in raising two fingers to the moral and literary establishments of her time. A woman writer could be made to feel, if she wanted to commit herself to art as opposed to producing pretty verses, that she was less a real woman than some sort of monster. You could deny these splits, or, as a good modernist let them inspire you, and build them into your work. You could live a male-identified life, making male-defined art, or you could re-define what it meant to be a woman.

Colette (1873-1954) is a writer beloved of other writers for the excellence of her style. She is beloved of women, particularly, for her courage in raising two fingers to the moral and literary establishments of her time. A woman writer could be made to feel, if she wanted to commit herself to art as opposed to producing pretty verses, that she was less a real woman than some sort of monster. You could deny these splits, or, as a good modernist let them inspire you, and build them into your work. You could live a male-identified life, making male-defined art, or you could re-define what it meant to be a woman.

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