Tuesday, 8 December 2009

To Write is the Joy and Torment of the Idle: Colette

To write is the joy and torment of the idle. Oh to write! From time to time I feel a need, sharp as thirst in summer, to note and to describe. And then I take up my pen again and attempt the perilous and elusive task of seizing and pinning down, under its flexible double-pointed nib, the many-hued, fugitive, thrilling adjective...
 Renee, Colette's heroine in La Vagabonde.

Colette by Jacques Humbert, ca. 1896

It is said that the legendary and controversial French author, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954) used Mandarin Yellow Parker Duofold.

Colette's Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow, 
as pictured in Belles Lettres. Manuscripts from the Masters of French Literature, New York 2001.


  1. G'day Lito,

    Thanks for your comment. Gondal-Girl dropped by earlier, and left the book title for you.



  2. Hello,

    I have downloaded two photos of Colette with her pen, and another one of her hand with her legendary Parker, in the presence of her cat. If my memory serves me well, they're from Google. Try it.

    Also went to the library to find the passage you quoted. Read the whole page, in the original French version, about half a dozen paragraphs. It's very moving, specially for people who love writing, even if it's not for publishing, such as writing a diary.

    I remember seeing a few references about Colette's famous Parker Mandarin pen. I'll try to find them. Do you read French?


  3. Thanks Fernan, I do read French, although it has been a long time since I did... The original is always much more beautiful than the translation.

    I've found the photo you're probably referring to, it is from another blog and I'm not sure if I could include it in mine (copyright?).