Claudine in Paris pdf Summary Review by Colette

Claudine in Paris pdf Summary

Claudine in Paris pdf book is Literature & Fiction by Colette.

As the story goes, at the age of seventeen Claudine is in despair having left her beloved Montigny for a new life in Paris. Comforted by her devoted maid Melie, her slug-obsessed Papa, and the trustworthy cat Fanchette, Claudine’s instinctive curiosity gradually leads to an awakened interest in the city. Ruthless, impetuous and chastely sensual Claudine records her witty observations and adventures amongst the intriguing characters that surround her, evoking the glamour and excitement of Parisian life.


Claudine in Paris Review (Goodreads)

Inderjit Sanghera 

This iteration of the Claudine series lacks the poetry and incandescence of ‘Claudine’s House. This could be due to the fact that whereas the latter was focused on the childhood of Claudine and her sense of wonder at the world around her, this one acts as a coming of age novel, one where the heroine is beginning to enter adulthood and integrate with the world around her, as well as understanding all of the bitterness and disillusion which comes with it. Indeed, the novel is at times over-laden with what her rather asinine husband would define as being ‘spiciness’, or, as they appear in the novella, cheap and trite sexualized scenes masquerading as being ‘risque’; a product as much of her husband’s philistine sensibilities than any of Colette’s artistic style. 

The novella follows Claudine just as she moves to Paris with her eccentric father; Paris is seen as a behemoth which threatens to swallow the naive, yet independent and slightly insouciant, country-girl Claudine whole. The vast labyrinth of the Parisian streets belies a sense of emptiness and coldness which shocks the sensibilities of a girl who was enamoured by the forests and ponderous life of her adolescence. However, in other ways, Paris acts as the catalyst which awakens Claudine out of her slumber; from introducing her to the latest arts and fashions, to the vast array of characters who populate the story. 

From her effeminate great-nephew Marcel, who acts as her first introduction to homosexuality, to the glitz and glamour represented by her aunt as well as her burgeoning sexuality as represented by her eventual elopement with Renaud, the biggest difference between this and her earlier novels it that the focus on this is people and the curiosity they evoke in Claudine, meaning the novel focuses of psychology over nature, losing, perhaps, some of the poetry of the earlier stories, but gaining a sense of humanity. 

Beth Bonini 

In the second of the Claudine novels, 17 year old Claudine is transplanted (rather unwillingly) from her country home in Montigny to a “dark flat” in the “dismal, shabby Rue Jacob” in Paris. Having left school and her country home, the beginning of Claudine’s transformation to a young woman in Paris begins with a long illness which leaves her thin and weak. Her long hair has been chopped off into a rough curly mop, but her initial opinion of this unfortunate event – “transformed into a boy!” – changes when she realised that this more gamine style suits her face and character. Claudine is a rather self-possessed character from the beginning, quite sure of her opinions and tastes, but this book is a sort of turning-point from the schoolgirl world of her crushes to a broader canvas: the city, and men. Much older men.

There is a noticeably sensual tone to this book, and although Claudine is innocent in some ways – still a virgin, and a “good girl” in her own mind – the storyline is all about testing her powers in the world of attraction/seduction. She practises on her cousin Marcel – a very pretty boy her age who is attracted to other boys. She amuses and titillates him with confidences from her own past with Luce – the young country girl she teases and dominates. (Luce makes a rather disturbing appearance in this book – both a victim and an opportunist in the game of sex/love.) Claudine’s white cat Fanchette and her earthy maid Melie are also in the background, both of them encouraging Claudine on in their various ways. Melie, who “dreamily cups her uncorseted breasts” urges Claudine to find a young man. Not only does Fanchette seem like the “spirit animal” of her owner, but her feline exploits are very much a part of the atmosphere of the book. Like Fanchette, Claudine is in heat and testing her claws. Claudine’s academic father – very much the absent-minded scientist – allows his young daughter a lot of latitude, and she takes full advantage of it. Despite all of Claudine’s strength of mind, and her sometimes outrageous sauciness, the story was very much of its time in the sense that no one (not even Claudine herself) could imagine a life beyond beau-conquering and marriage proposals.

The writing is often lovely, and the story does have a certain charm – although it often felt mannered and superficial to me. I can see why it caused quite a sensation for its time, though. Claudine’s emotions seemed truest when describing – not her infatuations with men – but rather, her longing for the countryside of her childhood.

”Alas, my mind kept going back to Montigny. Oh, to clasp armfuls of tall, cool grass, to fall asleep, exhausted, on a low wall hot from the sun, to drink out of nasturtium leaves, where the rain rolls like quicksilver, to ransack the water’s edge for forget-me-nots for the pleasure of letting them fade on a table, and lick the sticky sap from a peeled willow-wand; to make flutes of hollow grass-stalks, to steal tit’s eggs and rub the scented leaves of wild currants; to kiss, to kiss all those things I love!”


In Claudine in Paris I was a little dissapointed that she had lost some of her self assuredness of the first book. Her illness and moving to the big city seemed to take it’s toll on Claudine which made me sad. That and her increased prudishness in this book made me like her a little less. The scenes between her and her young gay nephew were great though. I loved how he was so worried other people would find out, and scolded her for teasing him about it, when everyone already knew. I thought it was funny the way Luce was built up as a past romance, but didn’t like that she’d become such a materialistic young mistress, and that Claudine no longer liked her. I thought Claudine’s romance was very sad but very real. It was sad to see a vivacious young girl take to an ugly older man. It seemed like she was only going with him because he was the only man in Paris and she was deathly bored and just needed something to occupy herself. (I also thought the part with the kittens was sad). While I liked Claudine less I felt this book was a bit more realistic and visual. It was funny that neither her or “the editor” Wily had gone back and re-read Claudine at school before writing this as there were some glaring inconsistencies when reading them one after the other. Still I did enjoy it and am looking forward to the next two.

About Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette Author of Claudine in Paris pdf Book

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Colette was the pen name of the French novelist and actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette the author of Claudine in Paris. 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.

Claudine in Paris pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information

claudine in paris pdf
Claudine in Paris pdf
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 12, 1982)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0345307089
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0345307088
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4 ounces
  • Best Sellers Rank: #7,586,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #2,593,144 in Literature & Fiction (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars    16 ratings

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