Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Complete Claudine” as Want to Read:
The Complete Claudine
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Complete Claudine (Claudine #1-4)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,144 Ratings  ·  75 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.

Paperback, 656 pages
Published September 5th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1903)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Complete Claudine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Complete Claudine

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 16, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That French bitch is crazy. In, like, the best possible way.
Sep 22, 2008 Wayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!!!!
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,
Ingrid Lola
Jan 20, 2014 Ingrid Lola rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 13, 2008 Nathaniel rated it really liked it
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
Jul 05, 2010 Venessa rated it really liked it
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
Dec 07, 2007 Miki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jun 03, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
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.
♥ Unaeve ♥
Dec 29, 2013 ♥ Unaeve ♥ rated it really liked it
I have read them very long time ago, when i was a teenager, the books are so romantic and i enjoyed them very much.
Feb 16, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time
Jun 13, 2010 Christy rated it really liked it
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
Lydia Bates
Nov 29, 2015 Lydia Bates rated it it was amazing
Throughout my teenagerhood, I have been conflicted between wanting to be a rebel and wanting to spend all my time sitting alone in my room with a book. The Claudine novels have allowed me to do both. Colette writes courageously and directly; I still can't believe this book was written in the 1900s!

The first book, Claudine at School, paints a picture of the friends and lovers Claudine has at her boarding school in Montigny. I was blown away by Colette's phenomenal writing style from the start. He
Apr 10, 2013 Joey rated it liked it
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
Jul 31, 2009 Ninon Baccara rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 24, 2012 Janette rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 07, 2007 Eileen rated it liked it
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
Melissa Rochelle
Jul 01, 2011 Melissa Rochelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: omnibus
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
Dec 09, 2016 Vigee rated it it was amazing
Claudine was my first Colette as an adolescent and I LOVED her and these stories set me off reading all the Colette I could get my hands on.
May 14, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing
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?"
Aug 20, 2007 laura rated it it was ok  ·  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!
Oct 19, 2007 Emily rated it liked it
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.
Feb 10, 2009 Adrienne rated it it was amazing
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.
♂♀♂ 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!!!!
Dec 07, 2015 Nina rated it it was ok
Shelves: ath-stacks
Various mangy first American edition buckram covers.

Collette, at least in these early books, doesn't stand up over time. I remember reading them when I was in my twenties and thinking they were delicious and risque. Now they seem embarrassingly ignorant of such staples of contemporary fiction as the dangers of child sexual abuse. Ooo-la-la doesn't cut it anymore.
Grace K
Sep 23, 2007 Grace K rated it it was amazing
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.)

Aug 27, 2008 Sonia rated it really liked it
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.
May 07, 2013 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, french
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.
Dec 05, 2008 Meagan rated it it was amazing
I loved this; I read it as an introduction to Colette and I love her! I can't wait to read more of her books. Colette is so melodramatic, but I am a bit of a dramatist myself and can get lost in her mania.
Nov 19, 2008 Denis rated it it was amazing
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!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Book of Promethea
  • The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Short Stories
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • HERmione
  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
  • La Bâtarde
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
  • The Heptameron
  • Waste of Timelessness and Other Early Stories
  • St. Mawr/The Man Who Died
  • Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-Century Japan
  • A Parisian Affair and Other Stories
  • Jeeves, Jeeves, Jeeves
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • Bad Behavior
  • Nightwood
  • Summer Will Show
Colette was the pen name of the French novelist and actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novella Gigi, which provided the plot for a famous Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical. She started her writing career penning the influential Claudine novels of books. The novel Chéri is often cited as her masterpiece.
More about Colette...

Other Books in the Series

Claudine (4 books)
  • Claudine at School
  • Claudine in Paris
  • Claudine Married
  • Claudine And Annie

Share This Book