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The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School;…
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The Complete Claudine: Claudine at School; Claudine in Paris; Claudine…

by Colette

Other authors: Antonia White (Translator)

Series: Claudine novels (1-4)

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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Not My Cup of Tea> ( )
  kayclifton | Oct 22, 2015 |
claudine at school-2015-07-19 225 pages
  mahallett | Jul 1, 2015 |
03/24/13 - So after almost two years, I'm moving this off my currently reading shelf. Eventually, I'll come back to the other Claudine stories.

07/16/11 - Claudine at School - 4 Stars.

Claudine is the perfect naughty French schoolgirl. She hits and kicks...wants everyone to love her, but doesn't give anything back...and the scandals! There's lesbian schoolteachers, creepy school Superintendents, proposals, break-ups, affairs... This book is not at all what I expected and I can't wait to see what Claudine gets up to in Paris. If she can be that bad in a small, country town then she's gonna get crazy in the big city. ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 19, 2013 |
This is the first of four novels tracking the life of winsome, clever Claudine. The story opens with the famously familiar sentence: My name is Claudine, I live in Montigny; I was born there in 1884; I shall probably not die there. Claudine's certitude and confidence propels her through her life, and in Colette's hands, tells her story with vivacious detail. Claudine's school life is full of intrigues, and even the seemingly simple task of passing exams is lush with drama and excitement. Speaking with a voice wiser than her years, Claudine is a critical observer, and she uses her gifts of beauty and wit to further herself as needed.

Although the Claudine novels were originally penned at the invitation of Colette's unscrupulous first husband, who was hoping for something scandalous to publish under his name, they do not lack depth, character development, or lyrical narrative. This is the kind of novel that deserves frequent rereading, and for those who haven't read it yet: do so now! ( )
3 vote unabridgedchick | Mar 31, 2009 |
This is a collection of four short novels of different quality. "Claudine at School" is addictive, disarmingly funny, voyeuristic and memorable. I've read dozens of novels about young Europeans in secondary school and this one immediately joined my two or three favorites. Claudine narrates in a wonderfully vain and devilish fashion: “After a few lively skirmishes, I have to admit that she is an unusually good Headmistress; decisive, often imperious, with a strength of purpose that would be admirably clear-sighted if it were not occasionally blinded by rage.” and “Anais, who had noticed him too, took to kicking up her skirts as she ran so as to exhibit legs which, however, were far from attractive, also to laughing and uttering bird-like cries. She would have acted flirtatiously in the presence of a plough ox.” Throughout the first book, Claudine seems like a much more adventurous, sadistic and sexed-up version of Emma. “Claudine at School” is a confection.

In “Claudine in Paris” the human backdrop is a bit more hastily drawn and less sympathetic than the winning young ladies from school in Montingy. The narrative is still lively; Claudine is still acerbic and amusing; but once this novel starts heading towards a particular marriage, it seems rather inevitable and slow about its business. Some might find Colette’s treatment of homosexuality in early 20th century Paris intriguing and others might enjoy her depiction of Paris’ socialite class in action; I found neither of these elements as interesting the passages more tightly focused on Claudine and the complications that she creates.

“Claudine Married” starts fantastically, “Definitely, there is something wrong with our married life. Renaud knows nothing about it yet; how should he know?” and is a return to the pace and quality of the first novel. The relationship dynamics in this third installment are wonderful fodder: a considerably older and distantly related paternal husband who wishes to be cuckolded by the potential lesbian love affairs of his little wife and who is decidedly aroused by a field trip to her alma mater. Colette carefully matures the tone of her heroine as her ability to read and understand the people around her improves. Throughout this novel Claudine continues to be gemstone perfect in her reflections and utterances: “My dear giant, whom I was distracting (without his grumbling) from virtuous industry, does not always understand the causes of what he calls ‘my shipwrecks.’” Or “Is your husband going to rise up out of the shadows again like an Anglo-Indian Satan?”

“Claudine and Anne” was a total disappointment. Despite devouring the first three books, I gave up on this one after about forty pages, skimmed the rest of it and decided it should have been excluded from the collection altogether. The narrative reigns have been handed to a considerably dimmer and more subservient young wife named Anne, whose thoughts are not unique or spicy enough to sustain a novel. The fact that we get to glimpse Claudine from this easily-scandalized dimwit’s point of view is a very small consolation and in fact, it is actually depressing to see Clauding reduced to a two dimensional, wise-cracking temptress. A reader would need to have been enjoying these books in a way totally removed from my own fashion to still take pleasure in the fourth book.

But who cares? Books one and three are excellent. The all-pervading style and tone of them is too well-crafted to avoid. It is a treat to situate Colette’s work amongst other literature from the continent at that period; she adds breadth to her own moment in history. ( )
6 vote fieldnotes | Nov 11, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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Coletteprimary authorall editionscalculated
White, AntoniaTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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My name is Claudine, I live in Montigny; I was born there in 1884; I shall probably not die there.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374528039, Paperback)

Colette, prodded by her first husband, Willy, began her writing career with Claudine at School, which catapulted the young author into instant, sensational success. Among the most autobiographical of Colette's works, these four novels are dominated by the child-woman Claudine, whose strength, humor, and zest for living make her seem almost a symbol for the life force.

Janet Flanner described these books as "amazing writing on the almost girlish search for the absolute of happiness in physical love . . . recorded by a literary brain always wide awake on the pillow."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:38 -0400)

Colette, prodded by her first husband, Willy, began her writing career with Claudine at School, which catapulted the young author into instant, sensational success. Among the most autobiographical of Colette's works, these four novels are dominated by the child-woman Claudine, whose strength, humor, and zest for living make her seem almost a symbol for the life force. Janet Flanner described these books as "amazing writing on the almost girlish search for the absolute of happiness in physical love . . . recorded by a literary brain always wide awake on the pillow."… (more)

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