Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings” as Want to Read:
Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The place of Colette among twentieth-century French writers of fiction is comparable to that of Proust. But Colette's high and certain rank in literature is determined equally by her autobiographical writings as by her novels: the imaginary characters of Cheri, Gigi, Claudine, et al. can only rival, but not excel, Colette's portraits of her family and her extraordinary ...more
Paperback, 505 pages
Published January 1st 1975 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1953)
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 Earthly Paradise, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Moira Taylor Robert Phelps' Foreword to the Penguin edition is short describes this collection as her 'autobiographical prose', comprising portraits, essays,…more Robert Phelps' Foreword to the Penguin edition is short describes this collection as her 'autobiographical prose', comprising portraits, essays, memoirs, chronicles. These are selections from her memoirs, notebooks and letters, describing her life story. I cannot tell you more, having never seen the original in French. It covers Childhood-Family-Early Signs; Marriage, Literary Apprenticeship, Masks; Music Halls, Motherhood, World War I; Work, Appetites, La Grande Colette; The Pure and the Impure; Another War, Old Age, The Blue Lantern. Hope that helps. M(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  205 ratings  ·  21 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings
Jeanette (Again)
This is one of those books that calls for a raid on the stash:



January 6, 2020
I'm still working my way through this, but it's going to take me months, so I'm marking it "read" to get it off my currently reading list.
Erik
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, autobiography
I checked this book out from the school library which still uses those cards attached to the back cover stamped with due dates. I like seeing the history. Above mine, only two: DEC 05 1995. JUN 12 1992. A forgotten author. On Goodreads, barely 100 ratings.

It's a strange, wonderful book. There's a lot in it. I love the World War II entries. The final Blue Lantern section. Sido and childhood. The descriptions of nature, flowers, the seasons, food. And the portraits, she gives a beautiful one of
...more
Arwen
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of human nature
Shelves: comfortbooks
This is one of those books I turn to when I'm out of sorts, to take comfort in Colette's deceptively simple essays about growing up in the countryside in France and the twists and turns her life took after. I'm fondest of the early part, as she writes ode after ode to her mother, a passionate gardener and amateur naturalist, peeling apart the layers of complexity she came to recognize as she grew up. Colette combines an exquisite sense of the natural world with a sometimes cruel, sometimes kind ...more
Rob
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(10/10) Far more than the memoirs of a half-remembered author, Earthly Paradise is a collection of memories and experiences that speak to every part of life with both sensual and intellectual brilliance. There's an erotic undercurrent to the most innocent of memories, supplied by Colette's lush prose and teasing hints as to the scandals of her life. And there's no shortage of witticisms, some of which I actually laughed at.

If you're interested in reading an autobiographical modernist narrative
...more
Jan Morrison
Again, rereading favorites. This collection of journal entries, letters and short pieces is my favorite Colette. Rereading it I notice I'm drawn to different sections than earlier reads. I love her descriptions of the countryside and her reflections on aging.
Andrea
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Arwen and I met a boy named Boris on a train from the coast of Greece into Athens. Boris was a handsome, rakish kind of a lad, and he smoked a cigarette and traveled up and down the train talking to everyone on it. He asked Arwen what she was reading and she was reading Proust. She'd brought Proust on the trip because he was so heavy and chock full that one couldn't possibly finish him even on a six-week trip, so she'd only have to bring the one book. Boris told us that his father had been ...more
Rachel
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit I only read this because it features in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Disappointed there's virtually no lesbianism to be found within this 500+ tome - Amalia X on pg 397 is the only mention of dykery. Colette does write well, though, which makes it an enjoyable read.
Debbie Hoskins
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm going back about 30 years. I'm pretty sure this is the book. I remember the cover. Colette had a fascinating life and I was inspired by it in my early 20's.
Ruth Brumby
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book in parts and at other times was less engaged.
It was an excellent idea of Robert Phelps to collect together extracts of her writing to form a sort of life story. Unfortunately there are some failings in his execution of the idea: he has included too much; he hasn't made it completely chronological or completely thematic, so one is left confused about the sequence of her life; he has been inconsistent in the way he headed the sections.
Colette herself speaks of 'no
...more
Claudia
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent representation of Colettes great writing. I read many of Colettes books prior to reading earthly paradise so a lot was repetitive. I really enjoyed the new sections of the book . I wish again that the book had been available in French it always looses the authors touch when transalated ...more
Krisette Spangler
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This literary gem is the story of Colette's life told through essays she wrote throughout the course of her life. I particularly loved the essays from her childhood and WWII. Collette's writing is so vivid you can see, smell and taste what she is describing. This is an absolute treasure.
Briar Fleming
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful.
Sophie Houston
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect. Utterly perfect.
Venessa
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've only ever read Colette's short fiction before but have always thought she was a terrific writer and I adored this "autobiography." Essays within not only told about parts of her life, but also include observations on humanity and delightful meditations on such things as wine, cheese, gardening, and other activities I thoroughly enjoy. I have "Night without sleep" marked in the book so that I can return to it over and over again on the moments I'm not feeling especially cynical about love, ...more
Laura  Yan
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
Colette's writing is simply exquisite. As are her insights on life, love, sex, theater, flowers, animals, and of course, the incomparable Sido. This is a lesson in the beauty of observation, in poetic prose, in noticing and capturing what's so often overlooked. This is a book to be savored slowly, for the pleasure of language and of reading.
Dan
Interesting, intelligent and courageous woman. I would expect that women readers will enjoy this more than the rest of us. Fourth star is for women readers, surely the majority.
Elan Durham
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most lyrical collection of musings by one of France's most admired prose stylists.
K.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
grape-pips
Cherie
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A Lovely memoir of Colette; this autobio is an examination of Colette's life. Absolutely beautiful; delicious language. I greatly enjoyed this book
Jbondandrews
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written excepts of Colette's life. Her descriptions of her mother are wonderful.
Maura Badji
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2012
Laurel Beth
rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2014
Ellen Martens
rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2013
Debra L
rated it liked it
Jan 28, 2012
Mindy
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2010
Hayley
rated it really liked it
Apr 14, 2015
Laurie
rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2015
Christine
rated it it was amazing
Jun 19, 2012
Deborah Black
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2008
Jan
rated it it was amazing
Sep 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Straight Man
  • Down to Earth (Colonization, #2)
  • Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-De-Siecle Paris
  • Empress
  • To My Daughter In France
  • Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King
  • المثقفون I
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • In Borrowed Light
  • Ce que la vie m'a appris
  • The Music of the Spheres
  • The Millennium Trilogy (Millennium Trilogy, #1-3)
  • Marie Antoinette: The Journey
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
  • The Raven Tower
  • Capitalism for Beginners
  • L'Insouciance
  • The Widow's War (Satucket, #1)
See similar books…
967 followers
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.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
43 likes · 10 comments
“The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.” 18 likes
More quotes…