Online Encyclopedia

LOUISE COLET (1810–1876)

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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 682 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LOUISE COLET (1810–1876), French poet and novelist, was born at Aix of a Provencal family named Revoil, on the 15th of September 181o. In 1835 she came to Paris with her husband Hippolyte Colet (1808–1851), a composer of music and professor of harmony and counterpoint at the conservatoire. In 1836 appeared her Fleurs du Midi, a volume of verse, of liberal tendency, followed by Penserosa (1839), a second volume of verse; by La Jeunesse de Goethe (1839), a one-act comedy; by Les Cceurs brises (1843), a novel; Les Funerailles de Napoleon (1840), a poem, and La Jeunesse de Mirabeau (1841), a novel. Her works were crowned five or six times by the Institute, a distinction which she owed, however, to the influence of Victor Cousin rather than to the quality of her work. The criticisms on her books and on the prizes conferred on her by the Academy exasperated her; and in 1841 Paris was diverted by her attempted reprisals on Alphonse Karr for certain notices in Les Guepes. In 1849 she had to defend an action brought against her by the heirs of Madame Recamier, whose correspondence with Benjamin Constant she had published in the columns of the Presse. She produced a host of writings in prose and verse, but she is perhaps best known for her intimate connexion with some of her famous contemporaries, Abel Villemain, Gustave Flaubert and Victor Cousin. Only one of her books is now of interest—Lui: roman contemporain (1859), the novel in which she told the story of her life. She died on the 8th of March 1876.
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