The Colette Project Sarasota

The Colette Project Sarasota is presented by: New College of Florida, Alliance Française de Sarasota, Selby Public Library, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida Studio Theatre, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and C’est la Vie restaurant (University Park). Provocative and prolific, the French writer Colette (1873-1954) was a novelist, journalist, and actress, a liberated woman in a changing France. On the centennial of her 1920 novel Chéri, join us for a community-wide celebration of Colette’s love of literature and music, cats and dogs, food and flowers. This series spans February–March 2020.

schedule of events

The Colette Project Sarasota is presented by: New College of Florida, Alliance Française de Sarasota, Selby Public Library, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida Studio Theatre, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and C’est la Vie restaurant (University Park). Provocative and prolific, the French writer Colette (1873-1954) was a novelist, journalist, and actress, a liberated woman in a changing France. On the centennial of her 1920 novel Chéri, join us for a community-wide celebration of Colette’s love of literature and music, cats and dogs, food and flowers. This series spans February–March 2020.

“COLETTE AND AMERICAN WOMEN OF THE LEFT BANK” (IN ENGLISH) W/ ISABELLE DE COURTIVRON, PROFESSOR EMERITA, MIT

Wednesday, Feb. 12  l  7-8:30 p.m.  l  Sainer Auditorium


At least a dozen expatriate American women, including Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein, moved to Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century. Colette was one of the only French women to be part of the salons established by this group of writers, publishers, and book sellers. In this lecture event, Isabelle de Courtivron explores the expats’ influence on Colette’s creativity and identity.

Isabelle de Courtivron has a Ph.D. from Brown University. She taught at MIT from 1979 until 2010. She was the Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at MIT for 10 years. She was an Ann F. Friedlaender Professor of Humanities. She taught French Studies (literature, culture, film), Comparative Literature, Women’s Studies, Life Writing, and Bilingual Studies. In 2000, she created the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies. She is the author of numerous articles and several books that focus on women writers, including Violette Leduc (in English) and a biography of Clara Malraux (in French).

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION “LA CHATTE” (IN FRENCH)

Led by Émile Langlois, Professor Emeritus, Sweet Briar College
Friday, Feb 14  l  2-3:30 p.m.  l  Selby Public Library, 2nd-floor conference room

In Colette’s novel La Chatte, a bride finds herself in a love triangle… with her husband’s cat! This Alliance Française book club discussion in French is open to the public.

“COLETTE FINDS HER VOICE: FROM PANTOMIME TO WRITING” (IN ENGLISH) W/ FRÉDÉRIC CANOVAS

Wednesday, Feb. 19  l  7-8:30 p.m.  l  Sainer Auditorium

Colette knew about silence from her work as a pantomime performer and from her husband Willy’s efforts to stifle her creative voice. Frédéric Canovas, associate professor of French at Arizona State University, shows how Colette found her own voice as a female writer in The Vagabond, her novel of a woman’s life in the theater.

Frédéric Canovas has been teaching French at Arizona State University since 2000. He has taught a wide range of classes, both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels, on French literature and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries, on 17th-century French theater as well as on French film. He is a past recipient of the Zebulon Pearce Faculty Achievement Award for Distinguished Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU. He is the author of two books (“L’Écriture rêvée” and “Correspondance André Gide-René Crevel) and the editor of eight volumes on Paul Valéry and various aspects of 17th-century French literature and culture. He is an associate member of the Institut d’histoire des représentations et des idées dans les modernités at the Université de Lyon 2 (CNRS-UMR 5317) and an associate member of the Centre de recherche sur le texte et l’imaginaire at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). His research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Carnegie Institute for the Arts.

FILM SCREENING OF “COLETTE” (2018)

In English  l  Run Time: 1h 51min
Saturday, Feb. 22  l  1:30-3 p.m.  l  Jack Geldbart Auditorium, Selby Public Library

This recent biopic – directed by Wash Westmoreland – stars Keira Knightly as the young Colette struggling for recognition as a writer when her husband takes credit for her wildly popular Claudine books.

“COLETTE’S ONE THOUSAND AND ONE GARDENS” (IN ENGLISH) – LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING W/ ÉVELYNE BLOCH-DANO

Wednesday, Feb. 26  l  7-8:30 p.m.  l  Sainer Auditorium

From her childhood home in Burgundy to the manicured lawns of the Palais-Royal in Paris, gardens inspired Colette throughout her life and writings. Évelyne Bloch-Dano shows how Colette expresses her earthly sensuality and constantly reinvents herself as a free, creative woman in her many writings about gardens. This lecture will be followed by a book signing.

Évelyne Bloch-Dano is a biographer, novelist, and critic. Associated with modern letters, Bloch-Dano taught before devoting herself entirely to writing. She has been contributing to literary magazines since 1994. She is the author of women’s biographies, Madame Zola, Flora Tristan, Madame Proust, The last love of George Sand, stories,  The biographer, Porte de Champerret  and essays,  La fabuleuse vegetable history, paper gardens. She likes to cross history and literature, narrative and romance, living things and plants, houses and travels, the deep and the superficial.

PERFORMANCE OF “BARKS & PURRS” (IN ENGLISH) BY FST ARTISTS

Friday, Feb. 28  l  8 p.m.  l  Black Box Theater

Reserve free tickets at: https://barks-and-purrs.eventbrite.com

Florida Studio Theatre Artists perform the 1905 play Barks & Purrs by Colette, who has been described as “the original cat lady.” While the two-legged family members remain in the background, Toby the French bulldog and Kiki the Angora cat talk, play, and bicker. How’s the marriage going? Ask the dog and cat!

“THE ARTISTIC WORLD OF COLETTE: PARIS 1900-1930” EXHIBIT

Feb. 28 – April 10  l  During Library Hours  l  Brizdle-Schoenberg Special Collections Center, Alfred R. Goldstein Library, Ringling College of Art and Design

Discover the literary and artistic world of Colette’s Paris with this exhibit from the Ringling College Library’s special collections (available during library open hours).

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION “CHÉRI” (IN ENGLISH)

Led by Librarian Charlotte Thompson
Monday, March 2  l  10:30 a.m. to noon  l  Selby Public Library

Published in 1920, Colette’s Chéri is the tale of a May-December romance. Celebrate the novel’s centennial with fellow bibliophiles at this book club discussion.

PERFORMANCE OF “BARKS & PURRS” (IN ENGLISH) BY FST ARTISTS

Monday, March 2 and Monday, March 9  l  7 p.m.  l  Florida Studio Theatre
Reservations Required

For tickets, contact the Box Office at (941) 366-9000.

Florida Studio Theatre Artists perform the 1905 play Barks & Purrs by Colette, who has been described as “the original cat lady.” While the two-legged family members remain in the background, Toby the French bulldog and Kiki the Angora cat talk, play, and bicker. How’s the marriage going? Ask the dog and cat!

“ENCHANTING COLETTE: RAVEL’S MUSICO-MAGICAL SETTING OF ‘THE CHILD AND THE SPELLS’” (IN ENGLISH) W/ PROFESSOR MARIBETH CLARK

Wednesday, March 4  l  7-8:30 p.m.  l  Sainer Auditorium

When a child throws a tantrum, his room becomes a dreamscape: the furniture, wallpaper, and surrounding animals all begin to sing. Maribeth Clark’s (Associate Professor of Music at New College of Florida) discussion of L’enfant et les sortilège—a one-act opera with libretto by Colette and music by Maurice Ravel—features musical excerpts and scenes from filmed productions.

In both her research and teaching, Professor Clark moves among the disciplines of musicology (music history), ethnomusicology (anthropology of music), and dance history, striving to demonstrate the ways that experiences of music are culturally constructed and historically situated. Most of Professor Clark’s research has focused on French opera and ballet of the nineteenth century. She recently began a project on women whistlers in the United States, 1880-1930. She teaches on a wide range of topics in music history, including courses on the history of opera and music and the environment.

“THE ARTISTIC WORLD OF COLETTE: PARIS 1900-1930” EXHIBIT OPENING AND RECEPTION

Thursday, March 5  l  4-7 p.m.  l  Brizdle-Schoenberg Special Collections Center, Alfred R. Goldstein Library, Ringling College of Art and Design
Opening Remarks @ 6 p.m.

Remarks by Janelle Rebel, Digital Curation and Special Collections Librarian, and Élyane Dezon-Jones, Professor Emerita at Washington University in St. Louis, open the exhibit on Colette’s literary and artistic milieu—the exceptionally creative early decades of twentieth-century Paris. Opening remarks start at 6:00 p.m.

FILM SCREENING OF “GIGI” (1958)

In English  l  Run Time: 1hr 55min
Friday March 6  l  10:30 a.m. to noon  l  Jack Geldbart Auditorium, Selby Public Library

The classic movie musical – directed by Vincente Minelli – is about a Parisian playboy and a young woman who rebels against the future her mother has planned for her—as a courtesan. Starring Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, and Maurice Chevalier.

CHÉRI, CENT ANS APRÈS” (IN FRENCH) – LECTURE EVENT W/ MARIE-FRANÇOISE BERTHU-COURTIVRON

Wednesday, March 11  l  7-8:30 p.m.  l  Sainer Auditorium

In 2020, Chéri turns 100: Colette’s story of a romance between Léa and a lover half her age was first published in 1920. Marie-Françoise Berthu-Courtivron discusses Chéri in the context of Colette’s body of works, its real-life inspirations, and what the novel means for readers today.


Marie-Françoise Berthu-Courtivron is a Professor of French Literature at Université de Rennes 2, France and a lecturer at CELLAM (Center for Studies of Ancient and Modern Languages ​​and Literatures). Her research themes include writings of women (Colette, Duras, Sarraute, Cardinal, Delaume, and contemporary women’s writings), studies on gender, and figures from abroad in literature. She holds a doctorate of Letters (honorable mention) from the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). His thesis was “The Native Space in Colette’s Work” and its research director Louis Forestier. She also holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

“COLETTE DINNER: DELIGHTS FROM BURGUNDY”

Thursday, March 12  l  6:30 p.m.  l  C’est la Vie Restaurant in University Parkway Shoppes
Reservations Required: $39.99+ tax and gratuity; wine available for purchase

Reserve by calling the restaurant at 941-355-2323 or on Opentable.com (select the special Colette event or use the comment box to specify the Colette dinner).

C’est la Vie’s French chef prepares a three-course dinner featuring delights from Colette’s native Burgundy: kir cocktail and gougère cheese puffs; Burgundian salad; beef bourguignon or vegetarian option; blackcurrant profiteroles.

FILM SCREENING OF “CHÉRI” (2009)

In English  l  Run Time: 1hr 26min
Saturday, March 14  l  1:30-3 p.m.  l  Jack Geldbart Auditorium, Selby Public Library

A famous beauty and Chéri—the lover half her age—face the end of their affair. Directed by Stephen Frears and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, and Kathy Bates.

“WRITE LIKE AN ARTIST: COLETTE” – A WRITING RETREAT

Thursday, March 26  l  10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  l  Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Reservations Required: $65 ($55 for members of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Alliance Française de Sarasota)

Register here

Join writer Gail Condrick for a five-hour writing retreat at Selby Gardens. You will explore the way gardens, art, and writing intersected for Colette, and develop your own creative writing in the style of Colette while experiencing the beauty of the Gardens.