The Pure and the Impure

The Pure and the Impure Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimat

  • Title: The Pure and the Impure
  • Author: Colette Herma Briffault Judith Thurman
  • ISBN: 9780940322486
  • Page: 435
  • Format: Paperback
  • Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose livColette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so intimately acquainted begins in the darkness and languor of a fashionable opium den It continues as a series of unforgettable encounters with men and, especially, women whose lives have been improbably and yet permanently transfigured by the strange power of desire Lucid and lyrical, The Pure and the Impure stands out as one of modern literature s subtlest reckonings not only with the varieties of sexual experience, but with the always unlikely nature of love.

    One thought on “The Pure and the Impure”

    1. The word "pure" has never revealed an intelligible meaning to me. I can only use the word to quench an optical thirst for purity in the transparencies that evoke in it—in bubbles, in a volume of water, and in the imaginary latitudes entrenched, beyond reachIt is a peculiar mood this piece evokes, the kind of "you had to be there, without any knowledge of what the future would bring" sensibility that renders all modern day desire for Victorian Age living both misinformed and masochistic. Said s [...]

    2. I was afraid of dispelling the mystery we attach to people whom we know only casually.Colette's writing is not just sensual. It is sensory. Her descriptions invite recollections from all the senses. She evokes the scent of opium smoke, tinted red by the lights. She brings forth details in conversation, of sneering parted lips, limp cigarettes and folded smock coats. The writing style is lavish and decadent as the jewelry dripping off the dancers' bodies.The back blurb on my edition says this boo [...]

    3. "But what is the heart, madame? It's worth less than people think. It’s quite accommodating, it accepts anything. You give it whatever you have, it's not very particular. But the body Ha! That's something else again! It has a cultivated taste, as they say, it knows what it wants. A heart doesn't choose, and one always ends up by loving."Colette writings were on my wish list as long as I can remember. Her life and ideas of sexual liberation enthralled me with the very thought of it being played [...]

    4. The Pure and the Impure I've just finished re-reading the only book of Colette I have ever read. When I first read it, so many years ago, my French was not up to the challenge - fortunately, that is no longer the case. It is evident from the earlier reviews that this book is many things to many people - indeed, I find when reading some of the earlier comments that I must remind myself that we are all talking about the same book, for it is certainly not evident. To me, it is a collection of relat [...]

    5. There are glib moments here to treasure:"I'm of the opinionat in the ancient Nativities the portrait of the 'donor' occupies too much space in the picture."and"What I lack cannot be found by searching for it."andAll amours tend to create a dead-end atmosphere. "There! It's finished, we've arrived, and beyond us two there is nothing now, not even an opening for escape," murmurs one woman to her protégée, using the language of a lover. And as a proof, she indicates the low ceiling, the dim light [...]

    6. Please note that the above star rating is less indicative of the quality of the novel than of my shortcomings as a reader: I realize in retrospect that what I wanted was an engaging, gossipy yarn dissecting the sexual practices of the affluent and/or artistic circles Colette moved in in the fifty years spanning from the fin de siècle to her death just past the midway point of the 20th century What I got instead was a nuanced, diffuse and delicately textured meditation on love, sexuality and sex [...]

    7. This is a book that I found to be strangely mesmerizing, once I got into it. It has no plot at all - it is more a series of encounters or interviews between 1) either Colette herself or an authorial stand-in named "Colette" and 2) various types of what you might call sexual outlaws - and it is frequently quite hard to follow, despite its lurid subject matter. But really Colette's subject matter is not so much sex itself as the performances that different people put on around sex, and she writes [...]

    8. Colette's The Pure and the Impure is a meditation on sexuality/sexual relationships. It was an interesting read but there were times when I had trouble following the narrative, and that's why I refer to this book as a meditation. Many times I would have to go back and re-read several paragraphs in order to understand what or whom or who Colette was talking to. But I did gather a great quote, one that I can relate to:"'I am neither that nor anything else, alas,' said La Chevaliere, dropping the v [...]

    9. The Following Review Is Not Totally A Review, Rather, A List Of Thoughts On Colette and Queerness:I first heard about Colette not for her writing, but as a member of the long list of people who Natalie Clifford Barney hooked up with. When I did a little googling, I found Colette dated someone even more interesting to me: The Marquis de Morny, who she caused a controversy by kissing on stage--and had a relationship with for six years. The Marquis is person who seems to be perceived as a woman by [...]

    10. Nella mia classifica di Letture della Vita. "Non appena festeggio le uguaglianze, le affinità, scorgo la fine della mia gioia, e mi avvedo che respiro un malessere simile a quello che regna nei musei d'arte, in mezzo alla ressa dei capolavori, di volti dipinti, di ritratti nei quali la vita continua ad affluire con un'abbondanza malefica Toglietemi di torno ciò che è troppo incantevole! "

    11. 1. What an odd kind of a book. It's one of those early twentieth century novels that seems as equally a memoir - the line between fiction and autobiography is, well, not much of a line. I mean, The Pure and the Impure is definitely a novel. But it's not simply a novel. "Colette" recalls conversations with fictionalized (some of the fictionalizing is more robust than others) acquaintances, her friendships and so on, on the topic of love/sex. So far so Collete, I suppose - her work hews rather clo [...]

    12. A sensuously written peek into the Parisian erotic underworld of the early 19th century. While it must've been scandalous when first published, much of it seems quaint now. Execept for the lesbian opium den orgies, that's still pretty titillating. "He waved both hands in a complicated gesture which fleetingly indicated his chest, his mouth, his genitals, his thighs. Thanks no doubt to my fatigue, I was reminded of an animal standing on its hind legs and unwinding the invisible. Then he resumed h [...]

    13. No sé qué vi en este libro autobiográfico de Colette que hizo que lo puntuara con cuatro estrellas cuando lo leí hace más de una década. Puede que las lesbianas y los gais maduros se sientan identificados con Colette y su círculo de amistades. Como no es mi caso, me ha resbalado casi todo lo que cuenta esta escritora francesa. Creo que la idea de libertad sexual que plasma en estos retratos de excéntricos bohemios parisinos ha envejecido mal. De todos modos no puedo valorar positivamente [...]

    14. When published, many people found this book shocking. I suspect that many people still would. I am not one of those. I didn't much like it because I simply wasn't interested.

    15. Ho passato metà della lettura a stupirmi che fosse così bello, e l'altra metà a rammaricarmi di non potergli dare 5 stelline. Ed è un peccato, perché la complessità dei giudizi che si possono formulare su un libro, dentro al sistema delle stelline, non ci sta proprio.Questo è il primo libro che leggo di Colette. Non gli do 5 stelline per due motivi molto diversi, che si mescolano da qualche parte, a metà strada:1. quello più obiettivo, relativo a un uso viziato di ottime capacità stili [...]

    16. This was a re-read. I first read 'The Pure and the Impure' at the age of 21, borrowing my mother's copy. By chance, I seem to have re-read it just in time for a film about the life of Colette, which is pretty exciting.The book is a factual book, a philosophical musing on the interactions between males and females, females and females, and males and males. I agree with some of Colette's observations and not others (come on, some gay men are very bitter towards women because people are people, and [...]

    17. In the early 1990s I saw a film called BECOMING COLETTE. Ever since I've always been intrigued by COLETTE. I came across this book and decided to read it after reading the first sentence in the INTRODUCTION page: THE PURE AND THE IMPURE is an investigation into the nature and laws of the erotic life.It was a bit of a yawn 'here and there'; however, after completing the book and doing my review of the sentences that impacted me I realized that I did come away from it with an interesting view from [...]

    18. I believe that Colette is the most underestimated and underemphasized French author I have come across so far. Colette understands language and human nature so deeply that every line of her book is deeply moving and profound. I think I wept at least once in every chapter and had to put it down several times just to ponder over what I was reading. This is not a light or a fun read, this is something that takes time and needs to be digested. But if you are in the mood for a wondrous, underapprecia [...]

    19. Colette is one of the greatest writers for sure, on love especially. This is her last book I think. Kind of weird vignette essays on all types of Parisian lovers, gay, straight, rich, drunk, opium den madams, etc. & her writing is just so good.

    20. Like Anais Nin on steroids. Some insightful and eloquent observations but just so heavy going I found myself having to read passages over and over again to try and get my head around what she was saying.

    21. court roman(?) sur le non conformisme et confidences sur les conversations avec diverses des ses relations. L'intérêt, au début suranné mais ensuite bien réel,s'éveille au fil de la lecture .

    22. “Ci sono esseri che si trasformano per arricchimento, altri che si conquistano una vita reale solo spogliandosi, e soltanto la loro miseria li crea.” (p. 70)“Riempie i vuoti, la tristezza.” (p. 82)

    23. beaucoup de mal à suivre cette lecture, j'ai peiné à finir le livre. peut-être est-ce cette écriture très ornée qui me rends hermétique?

    24. This book of essays was no doubt scandalous and important in its time. Colette writes about sensual and sexual love, specifically that of women in extramarital relationships and in lesbian relationships, and briefly that too of gay men. She writes as an observer and confidante, and at times I wanted more action, more of a sense of her being affected and not only observing and made to feel more or less at home in the company of the people she describes. She does at times share someone of her own [...]

    25. Przygody Klaudyny bardziej do mnie przemawiały. Zabrakło mi tej ironii, która znamionowała wcześniejsze powieści Colette. Trudno mi zresztą traktować Czyste, nieczyste jak powieść. Wydaje się, że to raczej rodzaj seksualnej auto-antropologii, coś jak eseje Pata Califii współcześnie. I w przeciwieństwie do Klaudyny, Czyste, nieczyste chyba się zestarzało. Archaiczny sposób myślenia o płciowości i seksualności nie wnosi wiele do współczesnych doświadczeń z tego zakresu, [...]

    26. This was fascinating. It wasn't so much a novel but Colette's discourse on gender and sexuality. She covered all different types of sexuality and what she thought was there strengths and weaknesses and used people she knew as examples. It was intriguing to read, especially when you consider she was born in the 19th century. I didn't agree with everything that she said but it was interesting to have her opinions. There were some passages that even in translation were striking. One thing that she [...]

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