Quotations From COLETTE [SIDONIE GABRIELLE COLETTE]


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  • Humility has its origin in an awareness of unworthiness, and sometimes too in a dazzled awareness of saintliness.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. Speech on being elected to the Belgian Academy. "Lady of Letters," pt. 4, published in Earthly Paradise, ed. Robert Phelps (1966).

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  • There is no need to waste pity on young girls who are having their moments of disillusionment, for in another moment they will recover their illusion.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. "Wedding Day," pt. 2, Earthly Paradise, ed. Robert Phelps (1966).
  • January, month of empty pockets!... Let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer's forehead.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. repr. In Journey for Myself (1971). "Empty Pockets," Quatre Saisons (1928).

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  • My true friends have always given me that supreme proof of devotion, a spontaneous aversion for the man I loved.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. Break of Day (1928). Of her younger friends, Colette wrote, "I instinctively like to acquire and store up what promises to outlast me."
  • The lovesick, the betrayed, and the jealous all smell alike.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. repr. in Earthly Paradise, pt. 4, "The South of France," ed. Robert Phelps (1966). Break of Day (1961).
  • Perhaps the only misplaced curiosity is that which persists in trying to find out here, on this side of death, what lies beyond the grave.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. repr. in Earthly Paradise, pt. 2, "Freedom," ed. Robert Phelps (1966). The Pure and the Impure (1933).

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  • It is wise to apply the oil of refined politeness to the mechanism of friendship.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. The Pure and the Impure, ch. 9 (1933, trans.1966).
  • In the matter of furnishing, I find a certain absence of ugliness far worse than ugliness.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. repr. In The Collected Stories of Colette (1983). "The Photographer's Wife," in Gigi (1945).
  • It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French novelist. "The Priest on the Wall," My Mother's House (1922).

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  • Don't ever wear artistic jewelry; it wrecks a woman's reputation.
    Colette [Sidonie Gabrielle Colette] (1873-1954), French author. Aunt Alicia, in Gigi (1944, trans.1953). When asked (by Gilberte) "What is an artistic jewel?" Aunt Alicia replied, "It all depends. A mermaid in gold, with eyes of chrysoprase. An Egyptian scarab. A large engraved amethyst. A not very heavy bracelet said to have been chased by a master-hand. A lyre or star, mounted as a brooch. A studded tortoise. In a word, all of them frightful. Never wear baroque pearls, not even as hat-pins. Beware above all things, of family jewels!"

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