Foreign News: Arthritic Immortal

Berlin fell. Hitler was reported dead. Paris was deeply stirred—for Gabrielle Colette, author of The Gentle Libertine and 20 other novels about love, had been elected to the Académie Goncourt. Now she would sit with "The Ten," the living literary immortals who each year award the Prix Goncourt to the best French novel. One newspaper killed Hitler's obituary to make way for Colette's biography.

Colette, 72, and heavily mascaraed, accepted the honor as an inevitable tribute to France's foremost woman writer. She breezed to the Goncourt election luncheon in a big black car. She hobbled with arthritic grace across the sidewalk through...

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