Books: Look!

EARTHLY PARADISE by Colette; edited by Robert Phelps. 505 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $6.95.

Colette was the big cat of 20th century letters. She looked like a cat: eyes long and wild, lips thin and fierce. And she wrote like a cat: sensuality glides through her novels (Chéri, Gigi, Milsou, Claudine, Le Blé en Herbe) as a she-cat glides through a warm spring night. Like a cat, Colette was acutely sensitized to appearance and atmosphere; but she used her characters merely as furniture to rub her sensibilities against. The big cat, most critics have decided since her death in 1954, was...

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