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The Complete Claudine (Claudine #1-4)

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  943 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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
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Paperback, 660 pages
Published September 5th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 1st 1976)
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Sarah
That French bitch is crazy. In, like, the best possible way.
Wayne
One reviewer described the Claudine books as "feathery pornography". Today when Noddy has been banned from libraries for its suspect gay relationship between Noddy and Big Ears, where fear of sex is seeing a neo-Victorian revival, all I can say is get in there and experience that refreshing candour about sex and love a le francais!!!
Vive la France!!!!
Ingrid Lola
Woah this was delightful. Claudine at School was by far the best. Claudine is sassy and completely defies the moralistic/didactic image I have of early 1900s schoolgirls à la The Little Princess ... Claudine is basically the naughty version of The Little Princess. She openly cheats, steals her friends' love letters, listens in on private conversations through walls, tries to seduce the assistant headmistress, and on and on. There is one moment when the handsome superintendent comes in the classr ...more
Madeline
If you like Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night, but particularly the parts where Anne Egerman and her maid Petra get into a pillowfight (look, this is a masterpiece of cinema, I promise) (also, it inspired A Little Night Music), and the pervading air of giddy lust masking the underlying sense of existential despair, then, well, I have a series of books for you.

Admittedly, the charm of the Claudine novels depreciates as they go on. There's something impressive about the artful, shameless,
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Venessa
This book claims to be complete, with four Claudine stories; I am now reading an excellent biography of the great Colette which states there are five. Nevertheless.... I have an old copy, with cover art consisting of drawings by Colette, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux at the same time as my copy of Earthly Paradise (some day if I ever have free time again I will add my specific edition to this database).

So the Claudine stories were Colette's first works, at least the first one was, which
...more
Miki
It sounds like a pitch for the trashiest reality TV show ever: bisexual schoolgirls in rural France!

But actually CLAUDINE is a classic... the great Colette's first published work and a non-guilty guilty pleasure to read. Claudine herself is a role model for aspiring bad girls everywhere: charmingly feline, frighteningly lucid, unapologetically sensual, and wise beyond her years. In short, she's a French schoolgirl version of the biblical Eve.

P.S. She also has a beautiful white cat named Fanche
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Andrea
One of my favorite books of all time
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
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. Speakin ...more
Nathaniel
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 admir ...more
Christy
I'd give a 5-star rating to Claudine at School. I started Claudine in Paris, and it was still well-written but the story was not as interesting so I stopped reading it. So that's why the 4-stars overall. I did not look at the last two books.

Claudine is a vain, willful brat that I would hope never to meet in person, but she is absolutely delightful as a character and narrator. She is full of life and observes her fellows and elders with sharpness and humor. She likes to come off as worldly-wise t
...more
Joey
I have The Complete Claudine collection of 4 novellas, but I will only finish the first for now, Claudine at School. I enjoyed the outspoken, rebelliously playful Claudine. As a teenage student, Claudine feuds and flirts with her fully-grown teachers as well as delights the reader with charmingly critical observations about her surroundings. The part of the book I found to be lacking was a lack of plot or action. Perhaps this is the symptom of a first novel, which would make sense as Claudine at ...more
Ninon Baccara
I've only read "Claudine at School" so far, but I definitely want to read the other three books. I absolutely LOVE this character. She's like a mischievous Lisa Simpson.

Claudine is a pretty, intelligent and very naughty French school girl around the turn of the 1900s. She lives in Montigny and the book is almost like a diary. The reader shares Claudine's point-of-view in her final year at school. She is fifteen at the start of the story and turns sixteen by the end. This book raised a bit of a s
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Janette
What one should realize with this series is that it is a record of Colette's writing maturing into its own. The first book is quite silly in spots, but those fairly naughty bits were added or enhanced by Colette's husband of the time, Henri Gauthier-Villiers, known as Willy. As the books go on, and Claudine moves to Paris, marries, and ages, you watch Colette not only shed Willy from her life, but also his influence on her writing. She becomes a brave and independent woman. Interesting to note t ...more
Melissa Rochelle
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 C
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Eileen
This cover actually made me do a lot of reading on Evelyn Nesbit/"the girl in the red velvet swing" and the whole turn of the century murder scandal. All these editions make me want to do visual research.

So, Colette. Claudine is too autobio and fake-sensual-giggly and "oh my petticoat ha ha!" autoerotic/demure for me. This was oddly fascinating to read, considering that. It's hard to believe that people thought like this before WWII ended the whole generational culture. It's also gigantic: four
...more
Kim
My mother bought this four-novel collection for me, strangely. She didn't know anything about Colette or what these novels were about--she just thought the cover looked like something I would like. These four novels probably have more to do with who I am now than anything else I have ever read. And thank God, they introduced me to Colette, who has been so important to me forever. "Est-ce que vous etes pour, ou contre, le second metier de l'ecrivain?"
Adrienne
Yet another book I picked up because I liked the cover. (Interesting sidenote, the photo on the cover, would turn out to be of Evelyn Nesbitt, whose heartbeaking biography I read last year.) This was my introduction to Colette, and I feel hard. Claudine is one of my favorite heroines, possible second only to Anne Shirley. These stories are so much fun.
Jamie
Planned to read just the first book, but read all of them. Colette is such a pleasure to read -- a frank, feminine, uninhibited voice. There were a few sexually ambiguous sections having to do with school children that gave me the creeps, plus a few other outdated tics, but then if that weren't the case, it wouldn't be Colette. Perfect for reading in bed.
Emily
Ok, so I skimmed the last two books. But I still feel like I can say that Claudine at School is the best. By far. Also I have to warn you that this is not the best beach and/or travel reading, even if you've had it on your shelf for like six months and want the sweet satisfaction of finally having read (slash skimmed) it.
♂♀♂ Mary's Menage Reviews ♥♥♥
bien sûr que j'ai lu Colette!

Je pense même que j'avais 15 ans. Une auteure osée à l'époque, complètement en avance sur son temps.

Le début du lesbianisme et de l'érotisme.

Une magnifique oeuvre littéraire où une auteure sait vraiment jouer avec les mots et doubles entendus

magnifique! a lire absolument!!!!
laura gillespie
Aug 25, 2007 laura gillespie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: oversexed victorians. undersexed victorians.
Shelves: fiction
what i'm actually reading is 'claudine and annie'-- the last of the four stories-- a little pocket-sized penguin edition from the early seventies. the back cover says "feathery near-pornography', and that's about right, assuming an older and more quaint sense of the term. it's all very breathless!
Sonia
the first two books get five stars, especially "claudine at school"- absolutely hilarious! claudine married was a bit of a bore, and i didn't see the point of the last book at all as it was hardly about claudine at all, but the first two books were good enough to merit four stars in all.
Bonnie
Claudine Married was by far the best of the books, in my opinion, with its depth of characters and their emotions. The prose throughout was beautiful, and it is wonderful to read the perspective of someone who sees the world and those who inhabit it in such a beautiful light.
Grace K
some people say, "oh, once you reach the end of proust, you'll feel like you've lost a friend." I felt that way when i finished the claudine books. though there's plenty other colette to keep you going, it's all too grown up for me. (intellectually lazy, that's me.)

Denis
One of the greatest writer of the French language. Not sure how it translates in English. All of Colette's novels are fabulous, but this serie of books about a wonderfully adventurous and slightly perverse young girl is an absolute delight. Very French!
Carol
Claudine at School: Claudine gets an education and then some.
Claudine in Paris: Romance etc.
Claudine Married: Trouble in paradise.
Claudine and Annie: Should be titled 'Annie and Claudine'.

Love readiing Colette, maybe I'll try 'Gigi' next.
Ashley Blake
This volume is four novels in one, and I've just read the first book, Claudine at School. Colette's first novel, it's fresh, provocative, very French, and very Colette. Claudine is a fiery heroine, hell-bent on her own way and her own life.
Odonnell Cassandra
De tous les "claudine", c'est sans doute le premier, claudine à l'école, qui m'a le plus marqué, l'écriture est à la fois sensuelle et brillante et le génie de l'auteur ne s'est jamais autant senti qu'à travers ses premières oeuvres...
♥ Unaeve ♥ Olga
I have read them very long time ago, when i was a teenager, the books are so romantic and i enjoyed them very much.
Catherine
I read all of the Claudilne books when I was in my twenties. The character is charming--and I liked these books more than the Gigi book. I don't remember much about the books, but am thinkingIi want to read them again....
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Colette was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novel Gigi, which provided the plot for a Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical.
More about Colette...

Other Books in the Series

Claudine (4 books)
  • Claudine at School
  • Claudine in Paris
  • Claudine Married
  • Claudine And Annie
Cheri & The Last of Cheri The Vagabond The Collected Stories Gigi & The Cat The Pure and the Impure

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