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Chéri (1920)

por Colette

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Séries: Cheri (1)

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6711935,252 (3.29)40
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), one of the most popular and best loved of modern French writers, became known simply as Colette when she married in 1893. Her husband, a Parisian man-about-town and the son of a major publisher, made use of her literary talents by publishing her first several novels under his own name - his only changes, evidently, being to make them more prurient. But eventually she broke free of this unhappy marriage and took flight on her own, as a fiction writer, a journalist, and an actress. By the time Cheri was published in 1920, Colette had become well known both as a writer and as a personality and was entering a period of rich personal growth and happiness.Published when the author, like her heroine, was in her late 40s, Cheri is a delicate analysis of a May-December romance. The story of a love affair between Lea, a still-beautiful 49-year-old ex-courtesan, and Cheri, a handsome but selfish young man 30 years her junior, it offers a superb study of age and sexuality, written in a personal style that reveals the author's keen powers of observation. While the theme of a young man who deserts his older mistress is a familiar one, in this novel, Colette makes it her own. As Stanley Appelbaum notes, ""Colette's distinctive style, made up of swift, sure, almost impressionistic touches, and the skillful use of leitmotifs, enables her to create her own atmosphere and her own emotional universe.""Widely considered the author's best work, the novel appears here in the original French with an excellent new English translation by Stanley Appelbaum on the facing pages. The translator also has provided an informative introduction to Colette and her work, and to this novel in particular.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porKarinktm, Crooper, afprovlibrary, PlayerTwo, wzrd517, dragunov334
Bibliotecas LegadasEdward Estlin Cummings
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Mostrando 1-5 de 19 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I think this was the wrong book for me at this time. However, it would never be a favorite as I found the pace too slow. Colette gives beautifully written descriptions so I can understand why some would appreciate her writing more than I did.

As for the plot, I could relate to Léa (as I am also a woman of a certain age) but Chéri struck me as a lout and so I couldn't really understand his appeal. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
At first beautiful language, then boring, repetitive, no story to be honest. ( )
  Michalmc89 | Jun 20, 2023 |
The lengthy final section of this novella decided it for me. I had been asking myself if this were a good book or sentimental kitsch. Of course, sentimental kitsch might be your idea of good book, but tastes differ.
The first third of the narrative had been told largely from the point of view of Léa, an aging courtesan who has permitted herself the luxury of a boy toy, her “Chéri,” who just happens to be the indolent, insolent son of her best frenemy. She oscillates between intoxication at his physical beauty and irritation over his bothersome personality. This ends when he announces he will soon marry. They agree to end their five-year affair.
Léa leaves town and disappears from the narrative. The middle section switches to Fred’s point of view. That is Chéri’s given name, which Léa never uses. He soon feel trapped in his marriage. His bride is rich, young, beautiful, and vapid. After the challenge of jousting with his “Nounoune,” as he calls Léa, he becomes restless and disappears for three months. The narrative follows him in his dissipation. He stays out to all hours, drinks too much, dabbles in drugs — does everything, in fact, except the one thing his wife and mother both assume he has done: have one last romance before settling down to married life.
Toward the end of his binge, he haunts Léa’s home. When a light in the window shows that she has returned to Paris, the stage is set for the dénouement. Léa has become philosophical, accepting that she will now live the life of an old woman (she is just turned 50; a century ago, that was old, especially for one who has lived on her beauty). She has retired for the night, but at midnight Chéri appears at her door. The remainder of the book is one final jousting tournament between these two who are obsessed with the other.
The author animates both characters here, but explores more deeply the ever-shifting feelings and perceptions of Léa. They make love. Here is where I began to fear the worst, since prose about love-making is often embarrassingly bad. Colette pulls it off, though, which saved the book for me. Her handling of the morning after, in particular, impressed me.
I selected this book as a way to brush up my French. It wasn’t too thick, so I thought it wouldn’t take me as long as it does to read Flaubert. I have a good grasp of basic French vocabulary — the most common four-to-five thousand words — but in reading this, there was hardly a page on which I didn’t have to look up at least four words. When this happens, it’s often a sign that the author has gone all pretentious and abstract (I’m looking at you, Sartre), but in this case, it’s because Colette chooses very concrete, specific vocabulary. The names of trees, flowers, articles of clothing, and body parts abound. The result is languid and sensuous, much like the two characters.
My final impression is that this book is all the more an impressive achievement because of what it risked. Instead of being a sentimental tear-jerker, it is a sensitive exploration of what a less-complicated age liked to call the war of the sexes.
( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
En fait ce n'était pas mal. Mais il y a trop des histoires des hommes egoïstes et je pense que les deux femmes, Léa ET Edmée, étaient trop bonnes pour Chéri... ( )
  RankkaApina | Feb 22, 2021 |
This was the first French novel I've read in some time, so my French was pretty rusty, but I managed (through some efforts) to get the general gist of what was going on. It was an intriguing novel, perchance a bit on the easier side, that managed to engage my attention and keep me focused. While it was a little dated, I nonetheless found it interesting and worthwhile.

3 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 13, 2019 |
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«Lea! Gib her, gib mir deine Perlenkette! Hörst du denn nicht, Lea? Gibt mir deine Kette!»
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Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), one of the most popular and best loved of modern French writers, became known simply as Colette when she married in 1893. Her husband, a Parisian man-about-town and the son of a major publisher, made use of her literary talents by publishing her first several novels under his own name - his only changes, evidently, being to make them more prurient. But eventually she broke free of this unhappy marriage and took flight on her own, as a fiction writer, a journalist, and an actress. By the time Cheri was published in 1920, Colette had become well known both as a writer and as a personality and was entering a period of rich personal growth and happiness.Published when the author, like her heroine, was in her late 40s, Cheri is a delicate analysis of a May-December romance. The story of a love affair between Lea, a still-beautiful 49-year-old ex-courtesan, and Cheri, a handsome but selfish young man 30 years her junior, it offers a superb study of age and sexuality, written in a personal style that reveals the author's keen powers of observation. While the theme of a young man who deserts his older mistress is a familiar one, in this novel, Colette makes it her own. As Stanley Appelbaum notes, ""Colette's distinctive style, made up of swift, sure, almost impressionistic touches, and the skillful use of leitmotifs, enables her to create her own atmosphere and her own emotional universe.""Widely considered the author's best work, the novel appears here in the original French with an excellent new English translation by Stanley Appelbaum on the facing pages. The translator also has provided an informative introduction to Colette and her work, and to this novel in particular.

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