By Diana Holmes (auth.)
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Extra resources for Colette
This structure also recurs in other contemporary novels and notably in Marcelle Tinayre's Helle, published in 1898. Gyp was almost thirty years older than Colette and already a prolific and well-known writer by the time Colette met her in Paris. Marcelle Tinayre was much closer in age - born in 1871- and was beginning a long and illustrious career as a journalist and novelist. She and Colette were to become friends and their names were often linked in later years when reviewers referred to the leading women writers of the day.
With a flannel in her hands, and one eye on the servant dawdling over her windowcleaning and smiling at the man next door, she would utter nervous exclamations like impatient cries for freedom. (Sido, 143) The difference does not lie in the activities undertaken, but in their definition as peripheral, as necessary but minor infringements of a freedom which is much more central to the mother's identity. The negation of the image of selfless mother extends too to spatial definition. Whilst in the texts on childhood Sido is centrally located in the home or garden, her relation to surrounding space is not at all that of the textbooks' devoted mother.
The moment in 1941 when German soldiers came to arrest Maurice and take him to a deportation camp is evoked with a quiet sense of horror and of "the perfect and classical nightmare of absence" (ES, 20). The emphasis, in both wars, is on the civilian's immediate concern with shared suffering and with survival. What is most accentuated throughout these texts is the IN THE CROWD 55 human capacity for adapting, making and mending, what in From My Window (1942) Colette names bricolage or "making something out of nothing" (LB, 146).
Colette by Diana Holmes (auth.)